Why Do Gallstones Cause Pancreatitis


Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of pancreas that may cause severe abdominal pain. Although there are several reasons for the development of this medical condition, gallstones are a major reason behind somebody having pancreatitis. Gallstones are formed in human gallbladder. These mostly pass out to a person’s duodenum through the bile duct. However, the problem of pancreatitis occurs when these gallstones sometimes are stuck while passing through the bile duct. These can also be stuck at a place where the bile duct opens in the duodenum. When this blockage happens, pancreatic enzymes are unable to travel and cannot reach the small intestine.

Sometimes, enzymes are totally blocked from travelling. When it is difficult for enzymes to travel and these are forced back to reach the pancreas, the medical condition called pancreatitis is caused. Blocked enzymes start causing irritation in the pancreatic cells. Thus, gallstones indirectly cause pancreatitis, as they block the passage of enzymes. Some chemical reactions happening in the pancreas due to enzyme blockage actually trigger this inflammation. In some cases, there is mild inflammation that can settle within a short period of around a week. While it may not happen in many other cases, where there is severe inflammation.

If gallstones cause severe pancreatitis in an individual, then they may experience acute pain in their abdomen. Some people may also face vomiting and fever, as parts of pancreas may start dying. Chemicals and enzymes may also start flowing into a person’s bloodstream, thus causing further inflammation and organ damage. Pancreatitis is a condition that should not be left unattended for long. It can slowly affect various other parts of the body too. In fact, this can also go fatal. Thus, one should not even ignore if they have gallstones and should immediately seek medical attention to get their blood tests done.