Pancreatic Insufficiency

Also known as: exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, EPI

What is pancreatic insufficiency?

During the digestive process, the body relies on chemicals known as enzymes to break down food into nutrients that the body can use. Some of these enzymes are secreted by an organ called the pancreas. When the pancreas doesn’t produce enough enzymes to digest food properly, the result is pancreatic insufficiency.

What causes pancreatic insufficiency?

A number of other medical conditions can cause pancreatic insufficiency as a complication. These include pancreatitis, diabetes, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, Zollinger Ellison and many more. Surgery on the digestive tract can also cause pancreatic insufficiency.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency?

Symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency include flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, malnutrition, anemia, edema and weight loss.

What are pancreatic insufficiency care options?

Dietary modifications can help people obtain proper nutrition even with pancreatic insufficiency, including taking fat soluble vitamins. There are also medications available that can replace the enzymes produced by the pancreas.

Reviewed by: Shifra A Koyfman, MD

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 04:07 PM