Pancreas & Biliary Diseases

in Northern Colorado

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The pancreas, as well as the biliary tract–the ducts and organs responsible for transporting bile–are key components in a healthy, functional digestive system. These areas of the body must complete their functions properly to maintain optimal digestive health. There are a range of conditions that can affect the pancreas and the biliary tract, leading to uncomfortable and, in some cases, unsafe conditions for patients.  

Pancreatic Diseases 

The pancreas plays a major role in digestion, producing enzymes that help turn food into nutrition that your body can use for important functions, such as energy production. A number of diseases can affect the pancreas, lowering its ability to function properly, including the following: 

Chronic pancreatitis can lead to the development of scar tissue in the pancreas, as well as calcium deposits. It can also lead to pain in the abdominal region, unexpected weight loss, and diarrhea. Acute pancreatitis can cause severe pain and, in some cases, more serious symptoms that must be treated with urgency. 

Pancreatic cysts are lesions that form within the pancreas. In some instances, cysts can eventually become cancerous, but this is not always the case. Symptoms may be undetectable until the cyst is enlarged, leading to pain in the abdomen, jaundice, nausea, loss of weight, vomiting, and changes in bowel habits. 

Autoimmune pancreatitis is a condition in which the body’s natural immune response malfunctions, targeting the pancreas. Patients may experience jaundice, pain in the abdomen or back, loss of weight, and diarrhea. 

Pancreatic cancer is cancer that develops in or spreads to the pancreas. 

Biliary Diseases 

Biliary diseases affect the bile ducts, gallbladder, and other structures that are involved in the creation and transportation of bile. Common biliary diseases include: 

Bile duct stones can occur in the biliary ducts, leading to pain in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting, as well as more serious issues like blockages and the possibility of infection. 

Choledochal cysts are a relatively uncommon occurrence and typically only appear in patients who were born with this condition. The bile ducts are enlarged and can lead to infection. 

Bile duct strictures are a result of persistent narrowing of the bile ducts. These strictures can be cancerous or noncancerous in nature. This condition may result from trauma and may produce no symptoms or produce serious and potentially life-threatening issues, such as liver abscess. 

What Are the Causes of Pancreas and Biliary Disease?

An exact cause may not be able to be identified, but, depending on the condition, there are several risk factors. The consumption of tobacco and alcohol can increase the chance of several diseases. Genetics may also play a role, as well. People of any age can develop diseases of the pancreas and biliary tract, but for some conditions, increased age can be a risk factor. Poor diet and lack of exercise may also contribute to the development of certain conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of Pancreas and Biliary Disease?  

Symptoms will vary between patients and between conditions. However, there are a range of symptoms common for the majority of pancreas and biliary diseases, including: 

  • Pain in the abdomen 
  • Change in urine color 
  • Change in bowel movements 
  • Jaundice 
  • Weight loss 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Increased gas production 

For some diseases, symptoms can be more severe and lead to more serious complications. If you’re concerned about symptoms you may be experiencing, our expert team is prepared to help support you and develop a treatment plan. 

How Are Pancreas and Biliary Diseases Treated? 

Our team is equipped to deliver cutting-edge treatment, ensuring that our patients have access to the most high-quality care available in Northern Colorado. In some cases, medication may be given to decrease inflammation and address pain. We also offer a wide range of procedures, ranging from minimally invasive to surgical. Surgical options include procedures to remove damaged tissue or address blockages. 


Next Steps

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Contact Us Today to Discuss Pancreas and Biliary Disease

If you’re concerned about symptoms you or a loved one may be experiencing, Centers for Gastroenterology would love to help ease your mind and work with you to develop a plan of treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our experienced physicians.



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