The pancreas, often referred to as the “hidden organ,” is located in the abdominal cavity behind the stomach. It sits beneath the liver, between the stomach and the spine.

The pancreas consists of a head, body, and tail. The head of the pancreas is surrounded by the duodenum. Inside the pancreas, there are small ducts or tubes that transport fluids produced by the pancreas into the pancreatic duct. This duct carries the fluids from the tail to the head and eventually into the duodenum.

The common bile duct passes through the head of the pancreas, carrying bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. The bile duct and pancreatic duct join together just before entering the duodenum, forming a common opening into the small intestine.

The pancreas produces juices and enzymes that flow through these ducts into the intestine, where they mix with food. These enzymes are responsible for digesting fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, allowing them to be absorbed by the intestine. The pancreatic juices play an essential role in maintaining our health.

The Vital Functions of the Pancreas

The pancreas serves two vital functions for our body: endocrine and digestive. It is the only organ that releases enzymes responsible for breaking down sugar. Additionally, it produces hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. This function is crucial for our well-being, as an imbalance in blood sugar can be life-threatening.

Given the importance of this organ, it is vital to be aware of the signs that indicate an unhealthy pancreas.

Common Pancreatic Diseases

  • Diabetes Mellitus

  • Acute Pancreatitis

  • Chronic Pancreatitis

  • Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency

  • Pancreatic Cancer

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Pancreas

  1. Unexplained Craving for Meat: Feeling an unexplained desire to consume meat.

  2. Unexplained Craving for Sweets and Fatty Foods: Feeling an unexplained need to consume sweet and fatty foods.

  3. Fatigue After Alcohol Consumption: Experiencing excessive tiredness after consuming alcoholic beverages.

  4. Digestive Disorders After Consuming Fatty or Sweet Foods: Experiencing digestive disturbances after eating fatty or sweet foods.

  5. Post-Meal Fatigue, Sweating, and Nausea: Feeling tired, sweating, and experiencing nausea after meals.

  6. Increased Sensitivity to Strong Odors: Having an increased sensitivity to strong odors, such as boiled cabbage or perfume.

  7. Unexplained Toothaches: Experiencing toothaches without any apparent dental issues.

  8. Pain in the Upper Back Area without Trauma to the Area: Experiencing pain in the upper back region near the shoulder blades without any injuries to that area.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention.

Taking Care of Your Pancreas

It is within our power to protect our pancreas from illness. One way to do this is by limiting the consumption of foods that are high in sugar, such as:

  • Sugar itself

  • Chocolate

  • White bread

  • Excessive honey consumption

  • White rice

  • Cornflakes

  • Alcohol

  • Pastries

Additionally, certain foods can help support proper pancreatic function. These foods are rich in fiber and include vegetables and fruits. Here are some foods that are particularly beneficial for the pancreas:

  • Apples

  • Papaya

  • Pineapple

  • Salmon

  • Herring

  • Nuts

  • Eggs

  • Almonds

By avoiding harmful foods and incorporating healthier options, we can have a healthy pancreas. It’s as simple as that!