Your doctor will take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab to check it for anemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. The lab will also test your blood for vitamin B12, iron, and folate. If the levels are too low, that can mean EPI is keeping your body from absorbing these nutrients. via
Is there a blood test for EPI?
Serum iron, vitamin B-12, and folate concentrations may help establish the diagnosis of EPI. Prothrombin time (PT) may be prolonged because of malabsorption of vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin. via
How does a doctor diagnose EPI?
The three main EPI diagnosis tests measure the amount of pancreatic enzymes in stool (fecal elastase), the amount of fat in the stool, or the exocrine function of the pancreas (via a direct stimulation test). Diagnostic scans may be used to look for inflammation and scarring of the pancreas. via
How do I know if I have EPI?
The symptoms of EPI can mimic those of other digestive-related conditions. Symptoms of EPI can vary, but common symptoms include diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, steatorrhea (foul-smelling, greasy stools), gas, bloating, and stomach pain. via
What is the test for pancreatic insufficiency?
Laboratory tests that may be used to detect pancreatic insufficiency include: Stool elastase—this test measures the level of elastase (an enzyme made by the pancreas) in a sample of your stool. The amount of this enzyme is reduced in pancreatic insufficiency. via
What does EPI poop look like?
Foul-smelling, greasy stools (steatorrhea)
The undigested fat that passes through the digestive system may cause oily or greasy-looking stools. These stools may also smell really bad, float, and be difficult to flush. Not all people experience steatorrhea, but it is the most common sign of EPI. via
What does pancreatic insufficiency feel like?
Pancreatic insufficiency is suspected in a patient who develops diabetes, upper abdominal pain and features of malabsorption. Bowel movements classically are bulky, loose and foul smelling; because of their oily nature, they may float in the toilet bowl, and are difficult to flush. via
What happens if EPI goes untreated?
Without treatment, EPI can make you malnourished -- you won't get enough important vitamins and nutrients from your diet -- and it can lead to other serious conditions, such as thinning bones (osteoporosis) or the blood condition anemia. via
Can EPI go away on its own?
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) may be managed, but it cannot be cured. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) may be managed, but it cannot be cured. EPI is treated by a combination of lifestyle changes and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). Do not drink alcohol. via
Can EPI symptoms come and go?
Compared to chronic pancreatitis, EPI is far less common in pancreatitis that comes and goes for short periods of time. via
Can you gain weight with EPI?
Few people with EPI are likely to gain too much weight, even after they find a combination of foods they can tolerate. Should you gain more weight than you need to, though, focus on portion control, Lupu says. Portion sizes are good to keep in mind if you're trying to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight. via
What is the difference between EPI and IBS?
People with IBS will see mucus in their stool, says Dr. Anderson, rather than fat. (Fatty stools, or steatorrhea, are a telltale sign of EPI.) Like those of EPI, IBS symptoms tend to occur after eating, but IBS may also be triggered by stress, infection, and other factors. via
Do you get pain with EPI?
People with EPI cannot properly digest the food they eat, which can result in uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating. Fat maldigestion due to EPI can lead to gas, bloating, and stomach pain. via
Is Pancreatic Insufficiency serious?
EPI is a rare but serious digestive problem. Learn more about what causes it, how to spot the symptoms, and ways you can treat it. EPI is characterized by an inability of the pancreas to produce key digestive enzymes. via
Where is the pancreas pain felt?
People with acute pancreatitis usually look and feel seriously ill and need to see a doctor right away. The main symptom of pancreatitis is pain in your upper abdomen that may spread to your back. via
What type of doctor treats EPI?
Primary care doctors may be able to diagnose EPI and provide treatment options. However, in some cases, they refer people to a specialist—usually a gastroenterologist. If you think you might have EPI, you can help your doctor by providing as much information as possible about what you're experiencing. via
What foods should you avoid with EPI?
Off the EPI Menu: Foods to Avoid
In general, try to limit the amount of fat you eat — especially the saturated fats in animal-based foods, such as butter, cream, fatty cuts of red meat, organ meat, and poultry skin. via
Can you have constipation with EPI?
But some people with EPI can also experience a very different symptom: intermittent constipation. Constipation, typically defined as three or fewer bowel movements a week, with hard or dry stools that may be painful to pass, can happen to anyone. It's often a temporary condition and not very serious. via
Can a CT scan detect EPI?
An X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan may help, and a fecal fat test can be effective, although it requires large stool samples. These tests are commonly used to help diagnose EPI: A fecal fat test involves looking at a stool sample under a microscope. via
What are the symptoms of your pancreas not working properly?
Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis
Constant pain in your upper belly that radiates to your back. This pain may be disabling. Diarrhea and weight loss because your pancreas isn't releasing enough enzymes to break down food. Upset stomach and vomiting. via
Does pancreatitis cause gas and bloating?
Gas is a very common symptom of pancreatitis. A Chinese case study published in April 2019 in the journal Medicine noted that intestinal gas frequently caused pain and bloating in patients with pancreatitis. via
How do you know if you need pancreatic enzymes?
Your doctor may also ask you to take a test called "fecal elastase-1." For this, you also need to collect a sample of your bowel movement in a container. It will be sent to a lab to look for an enzyme that's important in digestion. The test can tell you if your pancreas is making enough of it. via
Does EPI get worse with age?
As you age, it's possible for your pancreas not to work as well as it once did. If that happens, your EPI could worsen and trigger new symptoms, such as soreness, muscle weakness, weak bones, or numbness. via
Is peanut butter bad for EPI?
Many people with EPI who have symptoms when they eat fatty meals often don't have a problem with nut butters, Scheller says. Nuts and nut butters are nutrient-rich, high-calorie foods and can be great additions to a healthy EPI diet, especially if you're trying to gain weight. via
Can you eat peanut butter with EPI?
A healthy diet for EPI can still include fat. One idea for an easy and filling snack is to cut an apple into slices and dip them in a tablespoon of peanut butter. Benefit for EPI: “Peanut butter is a healthy fat, and it provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium,” Lupu says. via
How can I treat my EPI at home?
Is EPI reversible?
Severe EPI (sufficient to cause steatorrhea) is uncommon, ranging in prevalence from 0-18%, and is usually reversible. Major mechanisms of EPI in CD include disruption of enteric mediated hormone secretion, luminal dilution of digestive enzymes and bile acids, malnutrition and immune mediated inflammation. via
How do you fix EPI?
Treatments include enzyme replacement therapy, antibiotics, laxatives, and enemas. You can also eat a high-calorie, high-fat diet or take supplements to get the nutrition you need. If you have cystic fibrosis and EPI, you may also get diabetes. via
Is Epi a disability?
The Social Security Administration does not currently include pancreatitis as a condition in the Listing of Impairments. Therefore, you are going to have to prove that this chronic condition has caused physical limitations that leave you unable to work. via
What are the symptoms of lack of digestive enzymes?
When the pancreas doesn't naturally secrete digestive enzymes, it affects your body's ability to break down the foods you eat and absorb nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition as well symptoms such as bloating, cramping, gassiness, and diarrhea. via
Is it OK to take digestive enzymes every day?
There's no standard dosage for digestive enzymes. Studies often used preparations that contain mixtures of several enzymes and effective dosages vary widely. 2 If you're going to try digestive enzymes, consider a short trial period of two or three weeks. If it works, you may want to continue with it. via
Are eggs bad for EPI?
Go for lean proteins, like chicken or turkey breasts, egg whites, or tuna packed in water. This will provide your body with the fuel it needs while keeping your meals low in fat. Avoid too much fiber. Though it's usually part of a healthy diet, fiber can keep your pancreatic enzymes from digesting fat as well. via
Do you always lose weight with EPI?
Even when you're eating a normal amount of food, EPI can lead to weight loss. This happens because your body isn't breaking down food into the smaller forms your digestive system can use. You may also lose weight because you're eating less to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of EPI. via
Do probiotics help with EPI?
Probiotics may be an especially good idea if you've been taking antibiotics to treat an infection, as they may help replenish your digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that the antibiotics killed off along with the harmful bacteria that caused the infection. via