Pancreatic Disorders We Treat at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

When your child gets pancreatitis, you may not know it at first. You may think it's something else.

Your child may have nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain. These are also symptoms of other health issues. And not every child gets all these pancreatitis symptoms.

Many families learn their child has it after going to urgent care or the Emergency Department.

The Pancreatic Disorders Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh can help.

We'll find out what's causing your child's illness. Then we'll create a pancreatitis treatment plan to help your child feel better.

To learn more or make an appointment for your child, call

What Does the Pancreas Do?

The pancreas is an organ in your upper stomach.

Its two main functions are to make:

  • An enzyme that helps you break down and digest food.
  • Insulin that helps control your blood sugar.

What Is Pediatric Pancreatitis?

It's when your child's pancreas becomes inflamed.

Inflammation causes scarring of the pancreas. The scarring can cause pain and keep the pancreas from doing its job.

Types of Pancreatitis We Treat

The Pancreatic Disorders Center sees kids for three types of pediatric pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis causes and treatment

Acute pancreatitis is when your child has their first pancreatitis attack. Many kids only have one attack.

Common causes include:

  • Blockage caused by gallstones.
  • Medicines your child takes for other health issues.
  • An injury to their belly.
  • A separate illness.

Acute pancreatitis can cause your child to feel so sick they go to the hospital.

After your child's hospital stay, their doctor may want them to see us for follow-up care. We can make sure nothing else is going on.

Acute recurrent pancreatitis causes and care

Acute recurrent pancreatitis is when your child has more than one episode of pancreatitis.

The most common causes of acute recurrent pancreatitis are a:

  • Genetic factor that raises the risk for acute pancreatitis.
  • Blockage in your child's pancreas, often from gallstones.

Through testing, we can try to find out why your child keeps getting these acute attacks.

If another health issue is causing them, we can treat it to help prevent another acute episode.

Chronic pediatric pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a rare and severe health issue.

Ongoing inflammation keeps your child's pancreas from healing.

Your child's pancreas becomes damaged beyond repair and can't make:

  • Enzymes needed to digest food. Your child may not get the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
  • Insulin to control blood sugar. As a result, many kids with chronic pancreatitis get diabetes as teens or later in life.

With chronic pancreatitis, your child may have frequent or ongoing stomach pain.

Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Diarrhea or oily bowel movements.

Chronic pancreatitis may raise your child's chances of getting pancreatic cancer.

Contact the Pancreatic Disorders Center

The Pancreatic Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is here for your family.

Your child doesn't need a doctor's referral to come to us for care.

Call us at 412-692-5180 to learn more.

Our address:

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
4401 Penn Ave., Floor 3
Pittsburgh, PA 15224