Health & Wellness

7 Symptoms of Pancreas Problems in Adults you must know!

Looking for Symptoms of Pancreas Problems in Adults? The pancreas, the gland organ in the abdomen, is part of the digestive system. It has exocrine and endocrine functions. The two essential functions of the pancreas are digestion and insulin regulation in the blood.

It releases digestive enzymes trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase, and lipase that break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It helps in the conversion of food into fuel and releases energy.

Pancreases are also composed of islets of Langerhans that release two essential hormones, insulin and glucagon. Insulin is important to regulate blood sugar in the body.

A certain diabetic population is advised to take insulin injections to control blood sugar. Glucagon helps in controlling raised blood sugar levels. The two hormones work in conjunction with each other.

high blood sugar level affects the kidney, liver, heart, and brain. Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, and early detection and treatment are difficult. Pancreatic cancer patients can survive for about 5 years.

There will not be any sudden onset of the disease without producing signs and symptoms; an individual should analyze the compromised working of the body to detect diseases and early intervention.

In This Article

  1. Symptoms of Pancreas Problems in Adults
  2. Do’s and Don’ts of Pancreatitis

Symptoms of Pancreas Problems in Adults

Symptoms of Pancreas Problems in Adults

1. Changes in the Stool

In people suffering from pancreatic diseases, there will be an incomplete breakdown of the food (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats). The pancreas is also responsible for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, E and K).

As the oily ingredients are not absorbed, the stool will be sticky and oily in texture and region; the same can also be seen in the tissue paper.

There will be inadequate nutrients for absorption. Due to the lack of nutrients, the stool will be lighter in colour and less dense. Another indication of the pancreatic disease is that the stool will be floating.

The impaired release of the digestive enzymes causes changes in the stool. In pancreatitis, the stools will be oily and smelly (steatorrhea). Do consult your doctor if you see any of these symptoms, as early intervention can help in early diagnosis and treatment. 

2. Abdominal Pain

It can be an indication of pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis. Both diseases need prompt attention and should immediately consult a doctor. The intensity of pain varies depending upon the underlying condition.

The pain in the middle of your abdomen or lower back can indicate pancreatic cancer. The doctor often mistakes the pancreatic pain for acid reflux or GERD and prescribes medicines for it.

The symptoms of abdominal pain won’t show any symptoms of improvement with anti-ulcer or pain medications. The pancreatic pain will be sudden and intense with severity in the middle of your abdomen.

ALSO READ: Best Home Remedies for Abdominal Pain

3. Diabetes

The pancreas has endocrine functions that release the hormone insulin in the body. If there is any damage to the pancreas, there will be decreased or impaired insulin release.

An individual with ideal weight, a healthy diet and exercise who still experience a rise in blood sugar requires a proper examination to identify the exact cause.

If there is a sudden increase in blood sugar levels without specific reasons, your doctor may advise you to check for the functioning of the pancreas.

Such individuals find it hard to control sugar with regular medications. People with diabetes either have low insulin released or the insulin receptors become insensitive.

Sudden onset of diabetes or suddenly increased levels of sugars is an indication that your pancreas needs attention.

RELATED: 10 Early Warning Signs of Diabetes Everyone Should Know!

4. Nausea and Vomiting

The pancreas is associated with the digestive system, and any malfunctioning in the pancreas affects the digestive process. Pancreatic enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of fatty food and the fat-digesting capacity.

Especially when taking fatty foods, people feel nauseated. People with compromised pancreas should avoid all kinds of fatty fruits, nuts, vegetables, and foods. Nausea and vomiting can be due to pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

5. Weight loss

The weight loss is likely associated with pancreatic diseases if there is constant and steady weight loss and pain in the abdomen.

One should also not rule out the possibility of thyroid diseases or other health conditions. If you see persistent weight loss, then make sure you visit a doctor and do a complete examination.

6. Jaundice

In pancreatic cancer, the cancer cells grow and block the bile duct, which impairs the release of bile juice. The bile build’s up in the blood, which turns skin and eyes yellow.

People who have jaundice have itching, dark urine, and light-coloured stools.

7. Bloating

There is frequent bloating and gas build-u in the body. Ascites cause the abdomen to swell and stretch out.

Do’s and Don’ts of Pancreatitis


  • Reduce the intake of fat as fatty foods are difficult to get absorbed in people with pancreatic disease
  • Increase the intake of proteins
  • Stop smoking
  • Stop chewing tobacco
  • Stop alcohol intake
  • Weight control

Do consult a physician for a second opinion about diagnosis and treatment plan. If the diagnosis is pancreatic cancer, look for a specialist who has prior experience in dealing with pancreatic cancer.

Discuss your signs and symptoms of the disease with the doctor and utilize the services of a dietician. A nutritious diet considering the changes in the body is essential.

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  • Avoid meat
  • Fat and fatty foods (nuts and nut butter, fried foods, etc
  • Cheeses, butter, cream, regular milk, and ice cream
  • Don’t take dietary supplements without any medical supervision
Do's and Don'ts of Pancreatitis
pancreas diet

Final Words

Emotional support and medications work in conjunction with each other to control and prevent the progression of the disease. Indigestion, weight loss, bloating, jaundice, nausea, and vomiting may indicate acidity and indigestion or jaundice, but it can also indicate your pancreas is in trouble.

If the above symptoms are accompanied by abdominal pain, it can indicate pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer; such patients should see a doctor immediately.

The disease may worsen with time; diet control and medical supervision are essential. Avoid fatty food intake as the compromised pancreas cannot digest it.


  1. The pain of chronic pancreatitis: a persistent clinical challenge
  2. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer – PubMed
  3. Early phase of acute pancreatitis

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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