What to eat during a pancreatitis flare?

There are certainly some very tough situations for some people.  Recently heard from M who wrote about not being able to afford ER support for a recent flare of pancreatitis.  M wrote:

“I was first diagnosed with Pancreatitis just before my wedding in August of 2010.  The only relief was my week in the ER on fluids in my IV and a serious of pain and sleeping pills. 
Now I have a horrible flair up and can’t afford to go to the ER for another week as I am still paying on the old bills. 
Does it help to eat the yogurt/jello while you have it or do you have to stop all food intake until the pain subsides?  This just doesn’t feel like it would be healthy at all.
I think my sickness must come from a combination of alcohol, food, and stress.
Any suggestions?”

Firstly M, we think you should do whatever you can to seek medical assistance as soon as humanly possible.  Is it possible for you to see your general practitioner prior to going to the ER?  Limiting food intake is the usual initial treatment but as you allude – it can be difficult and you also want to ensure nutrition (and most importantly ensure that you are keeping well hydrated).  You should attempt to keep water intake.  Yoghurt might not be the best thing due to the fat content.  Definitely low fat variety and even then probably only small amounts.  Try a small amount and see how it goes.  Also, some mashed potatoes, pumpkin/other vegetables might be worth a go.  As you’ll see in the interview with dietitian, sometimes some hospital grade sustagen or similar product could be helpful.

Please try to obtain some medical assistance and let us know how you get on!

All the best


28 Responses to “What to eat during a pancreatitis flare?”

  1. katie says:

    my 19 yr old granddaughter has pancreatitis, what could be the cause at her age?

    • sankey says:

      Hi Katie
      Unfortunately pancreatitis doesn’t totally discriminate on the basis of age! (althought it does have a greater incidence amongst over 50’s). Probably the major contributing factor in youth pancreatitis is binge drinking or drug taking (although as we’ve said in the past, we’d not like to put all sufferers – and especially not your granddaughter in that basket). Pancreatitis can be the result of any number of factors including excessive drinking, gall stones, excessive fat in the diet, etc. The basic treatment is the same (see your doctor though!) is no alcohol, low fat diet, smaller and more regular meals (and we’d add healthier food storage and cooking).
      All the best

  2. Bri says:

    I have been diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis since April 2011. I have been told that after attacks, or during them, you should not be eating until the pain subsides. However, you should be as hydrated as possible. If you are unable to keep liquids you MUST go to the hospital. Dehydration and Chronic Pancreatitis do not mix–very serious complications/problems can occur. Back to the questions, if you eat it should be clear liquids at first, followed by non-fat foods once you are able to keep the liquids down. Do not eat yogurt.

  3. colleen says:

    if you are having a flare up i highly recommend spinach just from the can in very small amounts to start. honestly, so far this has been a Godsend. you are getting fluids, vitamins and so much more from this miracle plant. i’ve had pancreatitis for over thirteen years and this seems to work every single time. if you don’t like spinach then you can put a little vinegar on it plug your nose and suck it down anyway. you have nothing to lose. good luck!

  4. Valentin says:

    I had pain in the area of pancreas and I ate 2 bananas, laid down, and the pain went away

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  23. Having dealt with both acute and chronic pancreatitis personally for years and having learned how to become pain free I can assure everyone that the last thing that helps is to eat during a “flair” or an acute attack. Fasting and antibiotics to prevent potential infection are the ONLY things that make sense an ER does. NPO (nothing by mouth) is the ONLY good thing they do to stop or reduce the inflammation. You should do likewise.

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