Located between the stomach and other organs, consisting of the liver, spleen, and small intestine, the pancreas is an abdominal organ of about 6 inches in length that helps control blood glucose and improve digestion. Diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and pancreatitis are three diseases connected with the pancreas that may need its surgical elimination. How will your life change when you have your pancreas removed? Let’s find out more.
Can You Live Without Your Pancreas?
Yes, you can live without a pancreas. You will need to pay attention to numerous things however. The pancreas secretes insulin to manage blood sugar level levels and releases gastrointestinal enzymes also. In the absence of your pancreas, you will need to take medications to change these functions. You may need to take oral pancreatic enzymes and insulin injections for this.
Side Effects of Living Without a Pancreas
It is also vital to understand that the total pancreas is hardly ever removed through surgery, but it is more common to have a pancreas that does not function appropriately. If you have Type 1 diabetes, it implies your pancreas still produces digestive enzymes but is incapable of making insulin. Nevertheless, even when part of the pancreas is gotten rid of, the continuing to be pancreas generally does not work efficiently to produce adequate enzymes or insulin. Some people go for synthetic replacement, but this normally is not as efficient as a healthy pancreas. You can still attempt ways and make lifestyle changes to live an active life even with pancreatic insufficiency.
Tips for Living Without a Pancreas
Can you live without a pancreas? Yes, but you need to follow particular steps and make modifications to your lifestyle to live an active life.
1. Know How Much Enzymes You Required
It is important to take your enzymes without fail when you are handling pancreatic deficiency. Without enough enzymes, your body will fail to digest food and you will end up handling problems such as bulky drifting stools, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Along with taking your enzymes routinely, you also have to understand how much you require. If you are on a fat-rich diet, you will need more enzymes for appropriate digestion. So, pay attention to your diet when picking how much enzymes to take.
2. Take Notice of Your Blood Glucose
You need to monitor your blood sugar levels closely when your pancreas is gotten rid of. Your doctor will inform you how typically you must inspect your blood glucose, specifically when you remain in stress, are ill, or have actually performed exhausting physical activities. Any change in your blood sugar levels will make you feel unstable and exhausted. Do not neglect these signs.
3. Constantly Stay Prepared
Can you live without a pancreas without monitoring your health? No. Monitoring your blood sugar level is vital when you do not have a completely practical pancreas. Keeping your blood glucose meter with you all the time will assist make things much easier. Also, keep your sugar tablets or gel with you and have additional stashes with you to use them whenever you want. You may likewise think about keeping a snack with protein with you to consume when your blood glucose levels are low.
4. Deal with Your Doctor Closely
You need to deal with your healthcare provider and keep in mind that you will constantly need their support when you are living without a pancreas. There will be times when you will eat something that your body fails to absorb. You might have to change the quantity of enzymes you take for much better absorption. You can make all these changes just after talking with your doctor. Moreover, regular doctor sees are important due to the fact that your healthcare provider will examine your kidneys and other organs to ensure they are functioning fine. You will require blood tests and have to go with extra immunization if you have currently had your spleen eliminated. Routine eye and dental checkups are likewise vital.
5. Use All the Support You Can Find
Speak to somebody who has the very same concern to understand how they are managing things. You might even need therapy to deal with all the stress that comes with the surgery. The surgery will result in hormonal imbalance that will impact your mood as well. You might likewise experience various feelings, such as anger, anxiety, worry, and disappointment prior to and after the surgery. So do not shy away from working with a counselor making you feel much better.
6. Make Lifestyle Changes
Can you live without a pancreas? Yes, it is possible, however you will have to make lifestyle modifications. For beginners, take notice of your diet. Staying with a low-carb diet with nutritious, unprocessed food will always help. You might consider keeping the Official Pocket Guide to Diabetic Exchanges with you to assist keep an eye on the number of carbs you consume. You may also want to attempt low-carb recipes to keep things under control. Similarly, keep an active lifestyle, but do not push yourself hard.
Real Stories from People Who Are Living Without a Pancreas
- “I lost my pancreas to an acute necrotizing pancreas attack. My CT scans showed a mass of cysts and scar tissue with the duct destroyed totally. My body was not producing any insulin. It was exceptionally tough to deal with all the changes, specifically during the first year after the loss. I then followed an exercise routine with focus on my diet to control the diabetes. I likewise take enzymes to prevent digestion concerns.”
- “My child lives without a pancreas. He lost most of it when he had a partial pancretectomy at 11 days old, and the rest of it was removed when he was 21 days old. He is now 20 years old and is on 4 shots of insulin a day. He also takes 5 Creon Strength with every meal along with 1 Creon Forte with a snack. He is total healthy but has little stature. Diarrhea is a common problem for him, especially when he forgets his Creon.”
- “I had my pancreas eliminated at 21 and am now in scientific research studies since of an auto-islet transplant which helped enhance my diabetes. I was diabetic for 4 months, however then my liver started pitching in and is now producing insulin on its own. I have to take 5-7 pancrelipase pills with every meal. I also have my appendix, spleen and gallbladder removed. I experience abdominal pain, and pain in my upper left quadrant of my stomach. My stools often become fatty and I feel extremely ill after having a bowl motion. I am still trying to find something that works fine for me.”
- “My mother has her spleen got rid of about 9 years earlier due to the fact that of pancreatic cancer. She is now 85 and takes medications with insulin to keep things under control. It is working fine for her however she has actually lost major weight simply recently.”
I am 31 years of ages and have been living without a pancreas for 6 months. Life is better without it, although it still has its difficult days. I had chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic divisum. I had 33 ERCP’s an Eus and the Total Pancreatectomy with Auto Islet Cell Transplantation. I had a million poor doctors that didn’t think me or my pain. I am now Type 1 diabetic and still deal with the back pain. I would like to answer any concerns and talk with anybody interested. Thanks, Erin.