EPI may be associated with other conditions
EPI can occur in people with certain diseases and conditions that affect the pancreas. These diseases may be present when you’re born or develop over time.2,3
Conditions that may be associated with EPI include2-8:
Cystic fibrosis (CF)
CF is an inherited genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs, digestive, and reproductive systems. People with CF produce thick, sticky mucus. When the pancreas is clogged with mucus, it can’t properly release the digestive enzymes needed to properly break down food.
Chronic pancreatitis (CP)
CP is a disease in which there is swelling of the pancreas that lasts a long time. This is the most common cause of EPI in adults. CP may cause irreversible damage to the pancreas, including the cells that make digestive enzymes.
Surgical removal of the pancreas (pancreatectomy)
Surgery involving the pancreas may affect its production of digestive enzymes. This, in turn, may lead to EPI. Removing part or all of the pancreas may be done as part of a treatment for pancreatic cancer, pre-cancerous pancreatic tumors, or chronic pancreatitis. It might also be done in cases where the pancreas has been severely damaged due to an injury.
In patients with inoperable (unresectable) pancreatic cancer, blockage of the pancreatic duct is common. Treatment may involve surgically removing part or all of the pancreas, resulting in EPI.
The digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas may be affected by certain types of abdominal surgeries, especially surgeries that involve the stomach and intestines.
The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and also produces insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes have trouble producing or using insulin. The impact of diabetes on the pancreas may cause some people with diabetes to also have EPI.
If you have one of these medical conditions, as well as any of the symptoms of EPI, make sure you let your doctor know.Get Information About
How EPI Is Diagnosed