Pancreas enlargement

The pancreas is one of the most important organs involved in digestion, metabolic processes and hormone production. It has a complex structure and consists of different fabrics. The pancreas is located deep in the abdominal cavity behind the stomach. Therefore, the pathological processes occurring in it are amenable to diagnosis only through instrumental methods. And it is not always the doctor immediately finds that the patient has an enlarged pancreas. After all, the symptoms of this condition may be dimly expressed, and with palpation this pathology cannot be determined. But the prognosis of recovery and the absence of complications depend on timely diagnosis and proper treatment.

Development mechanism

The pancreas is a slightly elongated organ. In the abdominal cavity in size, it is in second place after the liver. This gland performs important functions in regulating the processes of digestion and metabolism. In addition, it is here that insulin and other hormones are produced that support blood glucose levels.

In an adult, on average, this organ has a length of 15–20 cm, and its weight is about 80 g. Iron consists of the head, body and tail. Sometimes the entire pancreas or its part increases. This can occur as a result of tissue edema due to inflammatory processes or in the case when the body increases its volume in order to compensate. Resizing affects its functioning and often disrupts the work of other organs. For example, the head, which in the normal state is larger than the rest of the pancreas, can enlarge the duodenum with an increase. In addition, compression of other organs or tissues may occur.

To make a diagnosis of an increase in the pancreas, you need a comprehensive examination. It is also necessary to take into account the general condition of the patient, because the change in the size of this organ or its individual parts may be an individual feature of the organism.

When making a diagnosis and choosing the tactics of treatment, it is necessary to take into account what exactly has changed in this body. There are a total increase in the pancreas and local. In the first case, there is a uniform change in the size of the entire body. At the same time its functioning is completely disturbed. In the second, the head of the pancreas, its body or tail is enlarged.

Quite often, malnutrition becomes the cause of an increase in the pancreas.

The reasons

Similar pathology develops for various reasons. Their identification is very important for choosing the right treatment. Sometimes it is not required at all, since an increase in the pancreas can be caused by congenital developmental anomalies that are not dangerous. But often the change in the size of the gland is associated with various diseases or inflammatory processes. Therefore, without their elimination, it is impossible to return to this body its normal form and function.

The reasons for an increase in the pancreas can be:

  • acute or chronic pancreatitis;
  • alcohol poisoning;
  • frequent consumption of fatty, spicy or smoked food;
  • long-term use of certain medications;
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • common infectious diseases;
  • impaired blood supply to the gland;
  • blockage of the excretory duct of the gland;
  • duodenal pathology;
  • peptic ulcer disease;
  • autoimmune diseases;
  • a strong blow to the stomach.

In addition to pathological changes in the size of the gland due to edema, its reactive enlargement is possible. This is the name of a condition that develops as a result of diseases of other organs of the abdominal cavity. Increasing the size of the pancreas is a reaction to a violation of the functions of digestion.

Local increase

Quite often the process of increasing the size affects only part of the gland. This occurs when various formations or tumors appear. For example, an enlarged tail of the pancreas may be with pseudocyst, abscess, cystic adenoma, or with malignant tumors accompanied by local edema. This condition can also be caused by blockage of the duct by a stone.

If such formations are localized in the region of the pancreatic head, an increase in this part of the organ occurs. But this can also be caused by blockage of the duct with a stone by the gland, as well as swelling or inflammation of the duodenum.

An enlarged part of the gland may be caused by the development of a cyst or tumor.

The child has

An enlarged pancreas in a child can be for the same reasons as in an adult. First of all, it is in childhood that congenital malformations are most often diagnosed. In addition, the growth of this organ in a child may be uneven, but this is not always a pathology.

But often this pathology develops as a result of pancreatitis, infectious diseases, malnutrition or injuries. In this case, urgent treatment is necessary. Sometimes there is enough conservative therapy, but surgery may be required.


An enlarged pancreas in an adult and in a child can cause severe discomfort or not manifest any signs. It depends on the cause of the pathology. For example, in an injury or inflammatory process, symptoms appear dramatically. And in the presence of tumors or other neoplasms, the process is hidden, almost without any manifestation.

Therefore, pathology is not always possible to detect immediately. But in severe cases, these symptoms increase pancreas:

Symptoms of pancreatic inflammation
  • abdominal pain, localized on the left, but often extending into the arm or back;
  • pain can be of different intensity, from aching to sharp, burning, sometimes patients feel a burning sensation;
  • nausea, severe vomiting;
  • loss of appetite, belching, bitter taste in the mouth;
  • signs of intoxication - headache, weakness, sweating;
  • violation of the chair;
  • temperature rise.

In addition, the expansion of the organ itself or its parts can lead to compression of neighboring organs. Most often, this disrupts the duodenum, stomach, spleen and liver.

Often an increase in the pancreas causes severe pain.


Most often, with abdominal pain and indigestion, patients turn to the therapist. His task is to find out why such symptoms appeared. Only according to external manifestations and examination of the patient, an exact diagnosis cannot be made, therefore an examination is scheduled.

If you suspect a violation of the functions of the pancreas most often prescribed ultrasound. It is through this survey that an increase in the size of the organ or its parts can be detected. Additionally, an MRI may be prescribed. Sometimes as a result of this examination revealed a diffuse increase in the gland. This means that the organ is enlarged evenly over the entire surface, and there are no tumors or cysts.

Blood tests are also important for making an accurate diagnosis. They help determine the content of the necessary enzymes and hormones. Such a comprehensive examination allows time to detect the presence of serious pathologies and prevent complications.


Only a doctor can determine what to do if such a pathology is found. After all, the choice of treatment methods depends on what caused the change in the size of the gland. Depending on the cause of the pathology, the following methods are used:

  • applying cold;
  • adherence to a special diet, and sometimes - a complete rejection of food for several days;
  • the use of drugs;
  • surgical intervention.

In case of chronic pathology, outpatient treatment is possible, but in case of acute pancreatitis or in case of abscess formation it is necessary to urgently place the patient in the hospital.


Dieting is the main treatment method for any pathologies of the pancreas. After all, her job is to develop enzymes for food digestion. Therefore, sparing food reduces the load on this organ and prevents complications. In some cases, only one diet without the use of other methods allows the body to return its normal size.

The most important thing is to completely eliminate alcoholic beverages and fatty dairy products. It is forbidden to consume meat or fish broth, spicy and fried foods, raw vegetables and fruits, fresh juices.

Basically, for all diseases of the pancreas, Pevsner's diet is prescribed. It suggests an increase in the proportion of protein in food and an almost complete restriction of fat. In the diet you need to include low-fat meat and fish, low-fat dairy products, crackers or biscuits, cereals, vegetable dishes. All products must be boiled, stewed or baked. It is desirable to eat food 5-6 times a day in small portions.

With an increase in the pancreas, diet should be the main method of treatment.


If the pancreas is enlarged, special medications will help bring it back to normal. Most often, proton pump inhibitors are assigned for this, for example, omeprazole and histamine receptor blockers. They help reduce the secretion of pancreatic juice.

In addition, the necessary enzyme preparations that help digest food, removing the load from the pancreas. Most often it is Pancreatin, Mezim-Forte, Festal. And to relieve pain and inflammation, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed: No-Shpa, Ketorol, Ibuprofen or Paracetamol. Against nausea and vomiting are effective Zeercal, Domperidone, Itoprid.

Surgical treatment

Conservative treatment is not always effective in this pathology. If an increase in the pancreas is associated with an abscess, acute pancreatitis, or a blocked duct, urgent surgical intervention is necessary. Therefore, the patient is taken to the hospital where the doctor after the examination makes a decision about the need for surgery.

An enlarged pancreas is a common and rather serious pathology. Only timely treatment with the elimination of the causes of this condition will help to avoid complications and normalize digestion.

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