Table of contents:
- Some Causes of Pancreatic Pseudocysts
- Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Pseudocyst
- Diagnosis and Treatment of Pancreatic Pseudocysts
Pseudocystic pancreas is a cyst-like lump that grows in the pancreas organ. These lumps are generally harmless, unless they burst. Bumps that burst can cause severe symptoms and dangerous complications, so they need to be treated as soon as possible
The pancreas is a gland in the digestive system that functions to produce digestive enzymes as well as the hormones insulin and glucagon. There are times when the function of the pancreas is impaired and causes a fluid-filled lump to appear. These lumps are known as pancreatic pseudocysts.
Pseudocyst comes from the word "pseudo" which means resembling and cyst which means sac. Although the shape is similar and both contain fluid, but pseudocysts and pancreatic cysts are formed from different tissues. Pseudocysts are benign, whereas pancreatic cysts tend to be cancerous.
Some Causes of Pancreatic Pseudocysts
Pancreatic pseudocysts occur when the duct that carries digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the duodenum is blocked. As a result, the digestive enzymes leak and cause the formation of a fluid-filled sac in the pancreas.
The fluid contained in the sac generally consists of pancreatic enzymes, blood, and dead tissue.
Pancreatic pseudocysts are most often caused by inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis, both acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. This condition is at high risk for people who have gallstones or have a habit of consuming alcoholic beverages.
In addition, there are several other causes of pancreatic pseudocyst, including:
- Injury to the stomach that causes injury to the pancreas
- Infection of the pancreas
- Tumor of pancreas
- Genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis
- High levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the body
- High levels of calcium in the blood, for example due to hyperparathyroidism
- Autoimmune diseases
- Drug side effects
Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Pseudocyst
Small pancreatic pseudocysts often do not cause any symptoms. However, large lumps can sometimes cause the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain that radiates to the back
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach bloating or feeling bloated, especially after eating
- No appetite
- Lump in stomach
- Swollen belly
- Losing weight
If you experience symptoms that suggest a pancreatic pseudocyst or have experienced conditions that pose a risk of causing a pancreatic pseudocyst, you should consult your doctor.
Sometimes, pseudocysts that appear can burst and cause severe symptoms, such as:
- Vomiting blood
- severe stomach ache
- Heart pounding
- Consciousness decreased
When you experience these symptoms, immediately go to the nearest hospital emergency room to get medical help. If not treated immediately, a ruptured pancreatic pseudocyst can cause heavy bleeding and stomach infection which can be fatal.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Pancreatic Pseudocysts
To detect whether you have a pancreatic pseudocyst, it is necessary to undergo a medical examination by a doctor. The examination includes a physical examination and supporting examinations in the form of:
- radiological examination, such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan of the abdomen
- Blood test
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
Small pancreatic pseudocysts usually go away on their own without treatment. However, patients still need to undergo regular checkups to monitor progress and make sure the pseudocyst is gone.
If the pancreatic pseudocyst that appears on the patient's body is large enough, at risk of rupture, or causes disturbing symptoms, the doctor will take the following steps:
Doctors can prescribe medicines to treat pancreatic pseudocysts according to the symptoms and causes. For example, to treat pseudocysts due to pancreatitis, doctors will prescribe medications to treat the condition.
The doctor may also prescribe painkillers and anti-nausea or anti-vomiting medications to treat other symptoms that may occur.
Fasting and infusion therapy
When the pancreas is still inflamed, the doctor may advise the patient to fast for a few days until the condition and function of the pancreas improves. To meet the patient's body fluid needs, the doctor will provide infusion therapy.
In certain cases, the doctor will install a nasogastric tube to deliver food and drinks to the patient. This therapy is given until the condition of the pancreas improves.
The doctor may suggest a medical procedure to remove fluid (drainage) in the pancreatic pseudocyst, if the pseudocyst is large. This drainage procedure can be performed via endoscopy, ERCP, or laparoscopy.
However, in certain cases, doctors may perform surgery to treat pancreatic pseudocysts. After undergoing pancreatic pseudocyst surgery, the patient needs to be hospitalized for several days until his condition recovers.
Considering the many cases of pancreatic pseudocysts caused by pancreatitis, preventive steps that can be taken are to live a he althy lifestyle, such as not smoking, not consuming alcoholic beverages, exercising regularly, and reducing the intake of fatty foods and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Although some cases of pancreatic pseudocyst can heal by itself and are not dangerous, this condition still needs to be checked by a doctor. This is because pancreatic pseudocysts that are not treated immediately have the risk of causing a number of dangerous complications, such as infection, sepsis, shock, and even death.
Therefore, you are advised to immediately go to the doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room if you experience symptoms of pancreatic pseudocyst, such as abdominal pain, fever, or vomiting blood.