Symptoms of acute pancreatitis 

The main symptom of acute pancreatitis is a severe, dull pain around the top of your stomach that develops suddenly.

This aching pain often gets steadily worse and may travel along your back. You may feel worse after you have eaten. Leaning forward or curling into a ball may help relieve the pain.

If you have acute pancreatitis caused by gallstones, the pain often develops after eating a large meal. If the condition is caused by alcohol, the pain often develops 6-12 hours after drinking a significant amount of alcohol.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms of acute pancreatitis can include:

  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of appetite
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
  • tenderness of the abdomen (tummy)

When to seek medical advice

You should contact your GP immediately if you suddenly develop severe abdominal pain. If this is not possible, contact NHS 111 or your local out-of-hours service for advice.

Page last reviewed: 25/03/2013

Next review due: 25/03/2015