General Information on Pancreatic Disorders

Pancreatic disorders are conditions that affect the pancreas, a gland that secretes enzymes to aid digestion and hormones to help regulate blood sugar level. This organ is located between the stomach and spine, has a long, narrow shape, and is usually about six inches long. Because the pancreas is located very deep in the abdomen, it is difficult to examine. This means that pancreatic disorders often go undiagnosed until they are in their late stages. It is important to seek treatment quickly if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Consistent nausea
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Jaundice

Two common types of pancreatic disorders are pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. Pancreatic cancer is the presence of cancer cells in the pancreas, which usually grow without any symptoms. This makes it very difficult to detect and diagnose this disease until it is in its late stages, at which time it is difficult to treat. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, and can be acute or chronic. It may be hereditary or caused by other factors such as smoking or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Some cases of mild pancreatitis resolve on their own without any treatment, but cases of advanced pancreatitis could be lethal without proper treatment.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek treatment promptly. Tampa General Hospital uses the latest and most advanced technology when diagnosing and treating pancreatic disorders, and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. Find a gastroenterologist with Tampa General Hospital’s PhysicianFinder.