Pancreatitis | Treatment


What is the treatment for pancreatitis?

If you have acute pancreatitis, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days to get intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics and medicine to relieve pain. At first, you’ll need to rest your pancreas by not eating or drinking.

If you have chronic pancreatitis, your treatment plan may include a low-fat diet, medicine to relieve pain, insulin to help with high blood sugar levels and enzyme tablets (pills that help you digest food). People who have pancreatitis should not drink alcohol or smoke.

You may need more tests or even surgery if your pain is chronic or severe. Some people develop diabetes or cancer of the pancreas because of the damage caused by chronic pancreatitis. These conditions need separate treatment.

What else can I expect?

Pancreatitis can be an ongoing disease. Your symptoms may get worse or go away for a while, then come back. You may feel depressed, angry or frustrated. Chronic pain may make it hard for you to do your daily activities. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage these challenges.

What can I do?

To help manage your pancreatitis, you should do the following:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
  • Work with your doctor to plan a healthy, low-fat diet.
  • Quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Pancreatitis can cause dehydration.
  • If chronic pancreatitis is causing depression, talk to your doctor. It may help to take medicine for depression and/or to talk with a counselor about how you feel.
  • Develop a list of goals to improve your quality of life, such as sleeping better or exercising. To reduce stress, learn relaxation exercises.


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