Pancreatitis | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes pancreatitis?

There are a number of factors that can cause pancreatitis. The most common cause of pancreatitis is alcohol abuse. Other causes include the following:

  • Smoking
  • Gallstones (digestive fluids that become solid and form stones in the gallbladder)
  • Certain medicines
  • High levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood)
  • High levels of parathyroid hormone in the blood (called hyperparathyroidism)
  • High levels of calcium in the blood (called hypercalcemia)
  • Cancer of the pancreas
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • A family history of pancreatitis
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Injury to the abdomen


Chronic Pancreatitis by J. Nair, MD, and Lanika Lawler, MD (American Family Physician December 01, 2007,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 10/09