What is pancreatitis?

The pancreas is the organ that is located in the abdominal cavity behind the stomach. Its primary function is to make hormones such as insulin and digestive enzymes. When it becomes inflamed, the condition is called pancreatitis. This disease can be very mild or can be life threatening. The most common causes of pancreatitis are alcohol consumption and gallstones that get trapped in the duct that drains to the gallbladder and liver. Blood work and imaging studies such as a CT scan or ultrasound can help determine the severity and the cause of the pancreatitis.