Pancreas complaints


Patients with a pancreatic disease can develop a variety of complaints. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (recognizable by a yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Discolored stools or greasy diarrhea
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or radiating to the middle of the back
  • Severe fatigue and loss of condition
  • Bad appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diabetes mellitus

Sometimes the symptoms of a pancreatic disease are vague and not very clear in the beginning. A tumor in the pancreas usually causes no or few symptoms in the beginning. Only when the tumor grows larger or continues to grow into surrounding structures or organs (such as the bile duct, duodenum or a nerve pathway), the complaints become clearer and the chance that a tumor is discovered increases.

The symptoms and complaints of pancreatic disorders can vary depending on where the pancreas is affected (head, body or tail). For example, a tumor in or around the head of the pancreas causes jaundice (accumulation of bile) more often because the bile duct can easily become narrowed in this place.

If you have physical complaints that may indicate a disease of the pancreas, we recommend that you discuss this with your doctor. Your GP can examine you further and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist, an internist or a surgeon.