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Why did I get an attack of acute pancreatitis, in spite of low alcohol consumption?

Q: I am 32 years old. I had acute pancreatitis six years back. I had lost a lot of weight. After that I had one more attack of it four years back. From then on, I did not get any such problems. I was made to understand that my first attack happened due to excessive consumption of alcohol but I was not consuming alcohol very frequently (once in 2 months or so). Then why did this attack happen? Now after first acute attack I quit drinking but still I had chronic attack after two years of the first one. I do smoke 4-5 cigarettes/day but no alcohol. I do not have butter, oil, spicy and deep fried food, etc. If I do take it though very occasionally, I take in very limited amounts. Now please let me know, if I am expected to get attacks anymore? If so then how I can avoid it? As additional information, I developed diabetes last year but is under control.

A:Although alcohol is the most common cause of chronic pancreatitis, a large number of people get pancreatitis without any reason, termed idiopathic pancreatitis. It is not possible to predict whether or not you will experience another attack of pancreatitis and there is no treatment to prevent such attacks. Lead a normal life and eat normal food. No special precaution, except abstinence from alcohol, is required. If you do get another attack, you should be seen by a gastroenterologist, who will rule out any local problem in the pancreas (stones, narrowing of the duct, tumour), which may be responsible for this problem.


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