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University Surgical Cluster

Common Conditions:

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Breast Surgery

Kidney Stones

Colon Cancer


Erectile Dysfunction

Prostate Cancer

Face Lift

Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery


Urinary Incontinence




About the condition

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis has 2 forms: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis last for a short while and usually resolves when the pancreas recovers to its normal state.
Chronic pancreatitis occurs from repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis and the injury to pancreas continues which scars the pancreas. This makes it unable to recover to its normal state.


Causes of the condition

Pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes becomes active in the pancreas and start to “digest” the pancreas. Alcoholism and gallstones are the 2 common causes of pancreatitis.

There are also few others causes:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) when used to treat gallstones
  • Family history of pancreatitis
  • High calcium levels in blood (hypercalcaemia)
  • High levels of parathyroid hormone in the blood (hyperparathyroidism)
  • High triglyceride levels in the bloods (hypertriglyceridaemia)
  • Infection
  • Injury to the abdomen
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ulcer


Signs & symptoms

Acute pancreatitis

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
  • Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
  • Abdominal pain that is somewhat relieved by leaning forward or curling into a ball
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tenderness when touching the abdomen

Chronic pancreatitis

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhoea)


Diagnosis and treatment options

Test and diagnosis

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scan
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


Hospitalisation is usually required for pancreatitis. The patient is advised to stop eating for a few days to allow the pancreas to recover. Pain medications and intravenous (IV) fluids may be prescribed.

Treatment for various underlying causes include: procedures to remove bile duct obstructions, gallbladder surgery, pancreas surgery and treatment for alcohol dependence.


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