5 Pancreatitis Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore


Changes in Bowel Movements

While perhaps not the most exciting habit to get into, checking your bowel movements should be part of your daily routine. Knowing what your stool looks like normally means you know when something doesn’t seem quite right, and an abnormal bowel movement can clue you in when something is off in the digestive tract—like pancreatitis. When the condition starts, the proper enzymes for digestion aren’t being produced. This means there’s more waste than normal leaving the digestive tract, since it's not being properly absorbed by the body. 


In particular, you may have diarrhea, or you may notice that your stool has become extremely pale or taken on a resemblance to clay when dealing with pancreatitis. Pale stools like these are often accompanied by jaundice—a condition that leaves your skin and eyes with an abnormal, yellowish tint. 

Steatorrhea is a bowel condition that's especially indicative of pancreatitis. When dealing with it, stools may appear oily or bulkier than normal, have a tendency to float, and have an extremely offensive odor. All of this is because the body isn’t properly absorbing the foods you’re eating—the fat content in particular. Instead of digesting it, your body sends the fat straight on through the body and out through the large intestine. The higher fat content of the stool gives it the oily appearance and other characteristics. If you’ve noticed your bowel movements seem to be greasier in appearance than they normally are or have developed a rancid odor, it might be time to take a visit to the doctor to check for pancreatitis.

Did you know...

  • 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.
  • There are many factors that contribute to your body odor, but one of the strongest links is our diet. This may be some bad news for meat-lovers because many studies have shown that those who refrained from or ate less red meat were judged as being more pleasant smelling. The meat sweats are real, and they don’t smell great!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Does your job make you stressed? We all know that stress is psychologically bad for you, but it also has an effect on…your allergies? A Harvard Medical School study has shown that stress causes your allergies to become worse because your body's defense response loses efficacy when repeatedly triggered by stress. Then, when you really need to physically fight something off, you're less able to!