Pancreatitis may also lead to the development of a pancreatic pseudocyst. A cyst is generally thought of as a large sac or lump filled with fluids that develop on the skin—they can also form internally as well, as in ovarian cysts. However, pseudocysts lack the characteristic lining or wall that define cysts.
While still referred to as a “sac,” pseudocysts are generally more of a cavity that fill up over time. Although more common following an episode of acute pancreatitis, pancreatic pseudocysts can also occur with chronic pancreatitis. A pocket forms and fills up with a collection of blood, pancreatic tissue, pancreatic enzymes, or other fluids. This is a result of damage to the ducts of the pancreas thanks to the inflammation caused by pancreatitis.
Symptoms of a pseudocyst are roughly identical to that of pancreatitis—a swollen abdomen, combined with abdominal pain that can be felt spreading around to the back. It becomes difficult to eat or drink with a pseudocyst, as this can increase the discomfort.
Pancreatic pseudocysts are especially dangerous because they can rupture. This can lead to internal bleeding and serious infection. Signs of infection are often similar to the signs of pancreatitis, which can make it difficult to tell if something more is going on or if the same issue is simply continuing to be a problem. If the symptoms of pancreatitis get worse, or additional symptoms—such as vomiting blood, fever, dizziness or fainting, or a change in your heartbeat—develop, see your doctor immediately.
Did you know...
- Have you ever told your husband something and he promptly forgets it? It's not his fault, actually. It really is because he's a man. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with memory) begins to shrink with age faster in men than it does in women. That's why you can remember everything, and he can't!
- A hearty laugh is good for the heart. Laughing can increase blood flow by 20%. Additionally, looking on the bright side can help you live longer. Studies have shown that a more optimistic outlook is linked to a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk for coronary artery disease.
- Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!
- Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
- Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.