Conventional Treatment of Pancreatitis
Medical management of Pancreatitis involves fluid replacement by administering IV fluids and about five days of no oral feed. Painkillers, including acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen) as first line treatment, followed by non-opioid analgesics, weak opioids (eg, tramadol, codeine) and then strong opioids (eg, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl) are provided for pain management as per the severity of pain.
Pancreatic enzyme supplements are used to treat enzyme insufficiency. Antibiotics are given if another source of infection is suspected and for treatment of fluid collections and necrosis before drainage. Antioxidant supplements may also be helpful, especially in patients with non-alcoholic Chronic Pancreatitis. Patients with Chronic Pancreatitis may require invasive treatment such as endoscopy or surgery in about 30% cases. In cases where medical therapy fails to provide relief, endoscopy, stent placement, drainage procedures, surgical resection or a combination of these may be used. Surgical procedures include partial resection as in Whipple's procedure and distal pancreatectomy, drainage as in Puestow's procedure and a combination of partial resection and drainage as in Frey's or Beger's procedure. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) may be used to fragment large stones prior to endoscopic removal.
Pancreatitis is a progressive disease. Studies report that even a single acute attack of Pancreatitis could be holding underlying Chronic Pancreatitis. For most people, a diagnosis of Chronic Pancreatitis means a lifetime of pain and gastrointestinal symptoms. Around 50% patients of Chronic Pancreatitis require surgical intervention at some point of time. They are supposed to take pancreatic enzymes with every meal, follow a low-fat diet, refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol and avoid any abdominal trauma. However, worsening of symptoms and the chances of having an acute attack remain unpredictable.
An acute attack of Pancreatitis increases the risk of developing diabetes within three months by six folds. More than 70% patients of Chronic Pancreatitis develop diabetes in their lifetime, with the risk being more in case of Chronic Calcific Pancreatitis. Similarly, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is three folds higher in Chronic Pancreatitis patients-highest in case of Hereditary Pancreatitis.
The overall 10-year and 20-year survival rates are estimated to be about 70% and 45%, respectively. Prognosis of the disease also depends upon various other factors like age of patient, diet, lifestyle, history of alcohol and smoking, presence of liver cirrhosis, control on blood sugar, and individual's response to the treatment.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Pancreatitis
Ayurvedic treatment for Pancreatitis is a one year long regime of regulated diet, lifestyle and a combination of Ayurvedic formulations. This includes initial three weeks inhouse treatment under the supervision of the treating physician. Later, the treatment is continued following the prescribed diet and lifestyle along with medicines.
A daily diet comprising of 1800-2400 calories divided into three meals and three snacks is advised. The diet should be rich in protein and dairy products. Consumption of tea, coffee, aerated drinks, refined flour, onion, garlic, tomato, packaged or reheated food items is refrained.
The patients are advised eight hours of undisturbed sleep at night. Physical and mental exertion should be avoided, especially during the initial four months.
Our Experience with Pancreatitis
1111 patients of different variants of Pancreatitis were enrolled between January 1997 and December 2020 and treated using Ayurvedic Treatment (AyT).
The data collected from these patients was analyzed and is being presented here.
Of these, about 82% were male and 18% were females.
Age wise distribution
3% patients were less than eleven years of age, 11.3% patients were in the age group of 11 to 18 years, 77% patients were in the age group of 19 to 45 years and 8.7% patients were more than 45 of age
Data on geographical location of these patients showed that majority of these patients were from North India