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!
- 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!
- Need a quick cool down? Try drinking some hot liquid. It's true! As counterintuitive as it may seem, the heat from hot liquids will raise your body temperature. This will heat you up and cause you to sweat. The increased perspiration will wind up helping you feel cooler as it evaporates. Try it out!
- 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.
- Do you know what the strongest muscle in your body is? No, it’s not your biceps or your thighs. It’s actually in your head. The masseter is a muscle in the jaw that is used when chewing. When all of the muscles of the jaw work together, they can exert a force as strong as 200 pounds on the molars. That’s some serious pressure.