Abdominal Pains Caused By Pancreatic Cysts

Abdominal pains can also arise when you have got large pancreatic cysts. They may even become visible to you when you notice firm, rounded swelling in the upper abdomen. In the beginning, the cysts may sound resonant, like a drum. The sounds are as such due to loops of gas-filled intestine fronting its location; eventually the mass sounds dull. Cysts may form within your pancreas if you have cystic fibrosis. It is not just adults that can develop cysts. Cystic pancreatic lesions have also been reported in children.

Even though your pancreas may be small, it has many functions. Your pancreas is responsible for producing several hormones needed in your digestion and bodily functions, including insulin that helps control your blood sugar. Though hidden behind your stomach, the pancreas can be affected by pancreatic cysts. These cysts are normally benign but can sometimes be cancerous. For this reason, it is good to know something about them.

Pancreatic cysts are made up of fluids and are located in the pancreas. They are mainly of two types: true cysts (lined with epithelial cells) and false or pseudo-cysts (lined with fibrous tissue). True pancreatic cysts are less common (only 20% of incidence) and include congenital polycystic disease of the pancreas, among others. A pseudocyst (80% of incidence) is a collection of fluid in the lesser sac. It usually develops due to trauma to the pancreas, or following acute or chronic pancreatitis (of which alcoholism is a significant cause), or due to perforation of a posterior gastric ulcer (which is rare).

Small cysts do not cause any problems. However, if the cysts grow, they can make their presence felt through abdominal and/or back pains, as they start pressing on nearby tissues. In fact, cysts that located at the head of the pancreas (where the organ connects to the duodenum) can exert pressure on the common bile duct and cause jaundice. Should this happen, your skin and eyes become yellowish. Sometimes, pseudocysts get inflamed and you’ll feel feverish accompanied with chills.

In most cases, pancreatic pseudo-cysts do not require treatment. However, if they persist for longer than 6 weeks, some intervention may be required. At this stage, they are big enough to cause abdominal pains as they interfere with normal movement of materials through the stomach and duodenum, or they can get infected.

Doctors may advise that you drain them by percutaneous (via special needles under ultrasound guidance), endoscopic or surgical procedures. The type and degree of intervention varies, depending on the expertise of the physicians, but overall, doctors are veering away from surgical intervention and favoring non-surgical drainage. However, true pancreatic cysts may require surgery if the doctor determines them to be cancerous.

To minimise the risks of pancreatic cysts, stick to a healthy diet that promotes digestion and an active lifestyle. Lowering your intake of alcohol can also go a long way in reducing your chance of getting pancreatic cysts and suffering from severe abdominal pains.

Source by Sandra Kim Leong

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