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"The doctor said I don't have pancreatic. What do I have?"

ZocdocAnswersThe doctor said I don't have pancreatic. What do I have?


For the past two years I have been visiting doctors and holistic medicine practitioners. All of whom said they believed I had issues with pancreas (chronic pancreatitis). After multiple blood tests, and an ERCP, I was told that the levels of my pancreas are within range. Yet, I show all the symptoms associated with it. One specialist told me that she believed it had to do with my liver, but no one really seems to know. I'm very concerned, what else could it be if they are saying there are no "issues" with my pancreas???? PLEASE HELP!


This question is very complicated. I suspect the reason that different practitioners are giving you different answers is because we only have imperfect ways of getting at how well different organs are functioning. As you know, the pancreas does several important things: it secretes insulin and other hormones into the blood to help regulate our blood sugar, and it also secretes digestive enzymes into the bowels to help breakdown proteins and carbohydrates. Diseases of the pancreas usually affect one of these two systems: in diabetes the pancreas slowly loses the ability to produce insulin, and in pancreatitis, the pancreatic duct gets blocked or inflamed which prevents the pancreas from secreting the digestive enzymes into the bowel and can also cause a lot of pain. I'm not sure what kinds of symptoms you are having, but my guess is that what your doctors have looked at is the level of several pancreatic enzymes (lipase and amylase) and that the ERCP has looked for an obstruction of the pancreas. If these are normal it tells you that your pancreas is not inflamed and leaking enzymes into the blood, and it tells you that it is not blocked (or obstructed). What you are right about is that this does not tell you what actually is going on, and without knowing your symptoms it is hard to guess what other processes to suspect. It could still be that your pancreas is involved but these specific tests are not detecting it, or it could be that there is something else going on. I can tell that you're frustrated and concerned, and it is difficult to be in a situation where you don't feel well and don't have any answers. What I would recommend you do is find a doctor who you trust; it may be the case that no one can figure out what exactly is going on, but having a doctor who you trust who can explain what they do know and to figure out how you can proceed from here will be the most important thing for you.

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