Experiences of pancreatitis? (Or: why am I so tired?)
March 19, 2022 1:35 PM   Subscribe

I had an episode of acute pancreatitis last week which landed me in hospital. Now I'm back home but crushingly tired. Wondering if this is normal and if I can expect it to resolve.

Me: early 40s, female, gallbladder removed 15 years ago, drinks alcohol but not to excess and barely any this year, had Covid in January, on HRT for early menopause. Two weeks ago started having attacks of acute right-sided abdominal and back pain, which would resolve abruptly, and felt just like gallstone attacks. On day 4 the pain was bad enough that I went to the emergency department, and was admitted to hospital for two days, diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, given IV fluids and pain relief. Once the doctors were satisfied I was stable and my liver function was recovering, I was sent home.

Since then I've been following a low-fat "gallstone" diet, and the severe pain hasn't recurred. I'm waiting for an MRI scan that would reveal whether I have a bile duct stone, which would explain the attacks (if the stone is present, they will do an ERCP to remove it). And I am so tired and brain foggy. If anyone is reading this who has had acute pancreatitis, or who has experience treating it, I'd appreciate some reassurance that this will get better.

Bonus question: could the HRT have caused a bile duct stone to develop? I've had a happy problem-free life without a gallbladder for 15 years, and now a few months after starting HRT I get this...
posted by altolinguistic to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The pancreas is not to be fucked around with. I'm not surprised. However, I would mention the brain fog to your doctor. He may want to recheck your liver function, because sometimes that can contribute to confusion.
posted by praemunire at 3:04 PM on March 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I would definitely mention the lingering fatigue to your healthcare provider but I’ve had pancreatitis a couple of times and holy crap it was exhausting. Being in that kind of pain is exhausting, being in the hospital is exhausting, adapting to a new diet is exhausting. It definitely get better, and rest is totally warranted. I hope you feel better soon.
posted by OsoMeaty at 3:26 PM on March 19, 2022

Best answer: A rule of thumb I've used is that every day you spend in the hospital corresponds to a week of recovering outside of the hospital. It sounds like you were quite sick even before you went to the ED, so it would not be out of the realm of normal to need 4-6 weeks to recover. I hope you feel better soon!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:06 PM on March 19, 2022

Best answer: Can’t speak to the HRT part of the question, but I had pancreatitis a while ago as a knock-on effect of billiary dyskenesia and it took about 12 months to recover fully. I was wan and pale, lost about 5kg, was vague and foggy, and just generally felt awful for at least four months. Things improved in fits and starts after that. I also had severe fat intolerance for a year. Definitely get it checked out to make sure there are no lingering issues, but also be gentle with yourself and allow time for recovery.
posted by t0astie at 7:13 PM on March 19, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I'm starting to feel better now, I think - I'm generally pretty healthy so lack patience for recovery! But overdoing it feels like a very bad idea just now, so I am not doing that.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:17 AM on March 21, 2022

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