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Pancreas: where the organ is and how it hurts

Due to the complex structure of the digestive system, a person can eat various foods containing proteins, fats, carbohydrates, microelements, vitamins, etc. The pancreas plays one of the most important roles in the complete digestion of food.

In humans, it provides enzymatic breakdown of products into trace elements for subsequent assimilation, and also participates in the regulation of metabolism by producing hormones.


Where is the pancreas?

Localization of the pancreas fully justifies its name - it is located behind the stomach at the level of the upper vertebrae of the lumbar spine.

Where is the pancreas?

Organ location

If you project the gland on the anterior abdominal wall, then its location will correspond to the area 5-10 cm above the navel. More accurate organ localization can be determined in a patient with an ultrasound or MRI analysis.

The length of the pancreas of an adult person ranges from 15-25 cm. Organ tissue in the section is represented by lobules that are involved in the formation of digestive juice.

Between the lobules are the islets of Langerhans, performing the synthesis of important hormones - insulin and glucagon.

In the structure of the gland there are three sections: the head, body and tail.

The head of the pancreas, like a horseshoe, covers the bend of the duodenum. From the head of the duct departs, through which the pancreatic juice enters the intestinal lumen.

The body of the body, its front surface in contact with the back wall of the stomach, and on the back surface adjacent to the lumbar spine and abdominal aorta.

The tail reaches the spleen gates.

How to understand what exactly hurts the pancreas?

How to understand what exactly hurts the pancreas? Painful sensations in case of gland problems are almost always combined with digestive disorders - bloating and heaviness in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

In cases when the pancreas hurts, it is not always possible to accurately characterize the pain - sometimes it has a diffuse aching character, more to the left, closer to the back; in other situations, the pain can be quite sharp, encircling.

What causes pancreatic pain?

Normally, a person does not feel his pancreas. When discomfort appears in the area of ​​this organ, the question arises of clarifying possible diseases.

Causes of pain can be divided into three main groups:

  • hereditary factors (susceptibility to diseases of the pancreas, irregular anatomy of the duodenum, biliary tract or pancreatic duct);
  • external negative factors (bad habits, hormonal drugs, frequent stress, unbalanced diet);
  • internal negative factors (autoimmune diseases, diseases of the biliary tract, inflammation in the duodenal wall, age-related changes).

Pancreas: right or left?

Despite the location of the gland mainly in the left half of the body, pain in the pancreas may have different localization:

  • in inflammatory processes in the head hurts in the right hypochondrium or in the epigastric region;
  • inflammation in the caudal part of the organ is accompanied by pain below the left costal arch.

Therefore, if you experience any discomfort in both the right and left half of the abdomen, you cannot engage in self-diagnosis - you need to visit doctors to determine the cause of the pain more accurately.

What are the main functions of the pancreas?

pancreatic function

organ location

1. Digestive (exocrine) function

The lobules of the gland constantly produce and release into the intestine pancreatic juice, which consists of salts, water and enzymes - amylase (ensures the breakdown of carbohydrates), trypsin and chymotrypsin (help digest proteins), lipase (breaks down fats).

The daily volume of selected juice is 0.5.-1 l. Pancreatic juice has an alkaline reaction, which helps to neutralize the acidic gastric contents and creates favorable conditions for the absorption of carbohydrates.

2. Regulation of metabolism (endocrine function)

  • alpha cells of the islets of Langerhans produce glucagon, a hormone that increases blood sugar levels;
  • beta cells produce insulin, which reduces blood glucose, regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism;
  • delta cells secrete a hormone (ghrelin) that increases appetite.

What are the symptoms and signs of organ disease?

Symptoms of the disease

Symptoms of the disease

The presence of signs of general intoxication (weakness, rapid heartbeat), poor digestion (abdominal distension, nausea, diarrhea), low absorption of useful substances (weight loss, dry skin, brittle hair and nails) suspect pancreatic pathology.

Sometimes there are signs of compression of the neighboring organs - the liver (itching and jaundice of the skin) and the duodenum (intestinal obstruction).

When the human pancreas hurts, the symptoms of the pain points of this organ are checked:

  • Mayo-Robson point - on the line between the navel and the left costal arch, 1/3 of the distance without reaching the edges;
  • Desjardins point - 4-6 cm from the navel in the direction of the right axillary depression, from this point to the midline of the abdomen is the Chauffard zone (projection of the gland head);
  • Gubergritska-Skulsky zone - in the middle between the navel and left hypochondrium (projection of the tail of the organ).

What are the main pancreatic diseases?

1. Pancreatitis - acute or chronic inflammation of pancreatic tissue, which occurs with pain and indigestion (loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).

2. Enzyme deficiency - hereditary or acquired deficiency of pancreatic enzymes, which leads to intolerance to milk, cereal and other products.

3. Benign tumors - proliferation of glandular (insulinoma, gastrinoma), adipose (lipoma), connective (fibroma) tissue in the pancreas.

Proceed for a long time without expressed complaints, when reaching a large size there is a compression of the surrounding organs with the development of additional symptoms (jaundice, intestinal obstruction).

When insulinoma occurs from time to time a large amount of insulin is released into the blood with the development of heart palpitations, impaired consciousness, the appearance of tremor and paresis.

4. Malignant tumors - the appearance of cancer cells in the pancreas leads to dramatic weight loss, deterioration of health, problems with digestion, compression of the bile ducts or spleen.

5. Diabetes mellitus - a disease associated with insufficient production of insulin (congenital diabetes, or type 1 diabetes) or with the development of the body's immunity to insulin produced (acquired diabetes, type 2 diabetes).

At first, diabetes is manifested by increased thirst, increased appetite, frequent urination. In later stages, vascular disorders develop in the small capillaries of the eyes, kidneys, heart, and extremities.

What to do if the pancreas hurts?

What if the pancreas hurts?

What to do?

Treatment of any pancreatic pathology requires adherence to a strict diet:

  • in the early days of the disease, fasting is helpful, then gradually moving on to diet # 5.

When inflammation of the pancreas is justified the appointment of pain medication (no-spa, papaverine), means to reduce the acidity of the stomach (almagel, omez, famotidine) and reduce the activity of destructive enzymes in the blood (counter), replacement drugs to improve digestion (mezim, panzinorm).

Tumors may require surgery.

If you suspect a pathology on the part of the pancreas, you should contact a therapist or a gastroenterologist.

After the medical examination, standard tests will be assigned - blood for amylase, lipase, urine for diastase, feces for fats, pancreas ultrasound, CT scan or MRI.

Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor will recommend an individualized treatment plan.


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