Pancreas is heavily overlooked and I have a habit of confusing people when I talk about the importance of this organ because it is not talked about. Medical doctors diagnose patients with diabetes based on high glucose levels in the blood because they do not know how to interpret results so little do they know, it is simply stagnation in the digestive system. When the person starts taking synthetic diabetes medicine based on misdiagnosis, the patient quickly deteriorates and as the body is addicted to the drugs, they must have these drugs.
Patients will also go in complaining of Stomach pain, little do the doctors realise that it is pancreatitis. When the patient tells me that are having Stomach pain, I always ask to show me exactly where the pain is. Majority of the time, they point to the location of Pancreas or Large Intestines, never the Stomach. Therefore, differential diagnosis is something I cannot emphasise its importance.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the Pancreas and happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the Pancreas itself. This condition is serious whether it is categorised as acute or chronic. According to TICM, the actions that we attribute to our Spleen describe the functions of both the Spleen and the Pancreas. Needless to say, the Pancreas is extremely important in how we function, without its proper function, the body will not absorb food well and the nutrients that the cells and body need will not be available.
From the beginning of pancreatitis to the end stage of chronic pancreatitis, the time frame is about 10 years give or take. It is important to use the clues that the body is manifesting to repair the organ system as soon as imbalances arise. Imbalances relating to the pancreas are indigestion disorders like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), constipation, diarrhoea and all functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
It is important to talk to your TICM practitioner in order to establish the root cause, which is a combination of Liver and Stomach/Spleen imbalances. Pancreatitis can stem from any of the following: Blood stagnation, Liver Qi (energy) stagnation, Liver Yin deficiency, Liver and Gallbladder damp heat, Spleen Qi (energy) deficiency, Spleen and Stomach damp heat. What do all these conditions have in common? The need for good nutrition, good thoughts and healthy lifestyle.
If you look at an anatomical chart, you will see that the Liver and Stomach replicate the Yin Yang (black/white) symbol. The Pancreas forms a complete complement with the Liver system, they are mirror images. This means that they rely on each other for support more specially, if the Liver is weak, it will take it out on the Stomach, Spleen and Pancreas.
What does pancreatitis look like?
Acute pancreatitis: occurs seemingly out of the blue, often caused by gallstones. Symptoms include severe pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, and vomiting. I have known patients where doctors have said Gallbladder must be taken out due to stones, once taken out, problems persist and doctors become clueless. It is because they have overlooked the Pancreas.
Chronic pancreatitis: leads to permanent damage of the pancreas. The culprits can be pancreatic cancer, heavy alcohol use, cystic fibrosis, high levels of calcium or fats in the Blood, some medicines, infection, obesity and autoimmune conditions. Smokers are on average three times more likely to develop chronic pancreatitis, compared with non-smokers. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and oily stools.