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  • Writer's pictureCat Calhoun


Updated: Jul 15, 2019

Red flag! If you see a pancreatitis patient and they haven't seen an MD first, send them to the ER! This is an inflammation of the pancreas. It usually occurs when digestive enzymes scheduled for release in the intestines are activated too early, causing damage in the pancreas. Pancreatitis could be acute or chronic. This gets ugly, people. You should also know that some medications can cause this!

The suggested protocol for pancreatitis (both acute and chronic) is at the bottom of this page.

Signs and Symptoms

Look for these signs and symptoms. If you suspect pancreatitis and your patient hasn't seen their MD, send them to the ER!

Acute pancreatitis s/sx:

  • Upper abdominal pain radiating to the back. Can be aggravated by eating high fat foods especially.

  • Swollen, tender abdomen

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Fever

  • Increased heart rate

Chronic pancreatitis s/sx: Very similar to acute pancreatitis

  • Frequent and constant pain in the upper abdomen radiating to the back. Could be a disabling pain.

  • Diarrhea

  • Weight loss (due to malabsorption of food)

  • Possible development of diabetes.

Medications Associated with Pancreatitis

This is not an exhaustive list, but if you see any of these in their list of meds, raise and eyebrow!

  • Azathioprine

  • Thiazide

  • Valproic acid

  • Dideoxyinosine

  • Sulfasalazine

  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

  • Pentamidine

  • Tetracycline

Suggested Acupuncture Protocol

Can you switch up the sides below? Yes, you can. Liver does, however, express itself on the right side most of the time, hence the suggestion of the Liver and Gallbladder points on the right. Bear in mind that Dan Nang Xue is only on the right side of the body.

Left Side

Right Side

  • Huo Ying, Huo Zhu, Lv 6* *Master Tung's Lv 6 is needled next to the tibia on the Spleen channel rather than on the bone itself. Use your fingernail to palpate and slide the needle right next to the bone.

  • Dan Nang Xue This is a TCM extra point located 1-2 cun below Gb 34 on the right side only. Palpate for the tender point in this zone and needle that one.

  • Gb 41, Gb 43 Gb 41 is the shu stream on the channel and Gb 43 is the ying spring (good for Gb inflammation). You can also incorporate Gb 36, the xi cleft, for pain control.

You could definitely prescribe Bao He Wan for this patient. This formula contains herbs that helps food digest properly and covers digestion of grains, meats, fats, and alcohol. Be aware that patent formulas often contain gluten (Shen Qu), so if your patient is gluten sensitive, make a customized batch leaving it out.

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