Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency is the inability to digest the food due to a lack of pancreatic enzymes.

We eat food to provide the body enough energy to make it survive and keep to keep it in working position. The inability to digest the food due to a lack of pancreatic enzymes is called Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Functions of Pancreas:

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

Like every other organ of the body, the pancreas is also assigned to work for the body. There are two main functions the pancreas performs. They are:

To produce enzymes which helps the body to digest the food.

To produce hormones. These hormones are helpful in regulating the metabolic rate.

Enzymes Produced:

Our pancreas is responsible for produces enzymes so that the food can be digested. The food we intake is in different forms like carbohydrates, proteins, starch, etc.

For every type of food, the pancreas produces different enzymes to digest them. The enzymes are:

Pancreatic proteases:

These enzymes are helpful in digesting proteins.

Pancreatic amylase:

These Enzymes digest carbohydrates in the body.

Pancreatic lipase:

These enzymes to helps to digest fat.

Hormones Produced:

Insulin: This is the hormone that is responsible for controlling the blood sugar in the body.


It works with insulin for balancing the sugar in the blood.


It helps to control the other hormones.


It helps indigestion.

Symptoms of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency:

When the pancreas is unable to produce the digestive enzymes the body starts to show symptoms.

These symptoms can be from mild to severe depending upon the situation of the condition. The symptoms can be:

  • Loose stools
  • Weight loss due to lack of appetite
  • Pain in bones
  • Bloating
  • Cramps in muscles
  • Pain in bones and joints

These are the basic signs when a body shows they need to get treated. It’s advisable to consult with the doctor for a better and confirmed diagnosis.

Reasons for the Insufficiency:

There are multiple reasons responsible for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and they are:


It is mostly a genetic condition, in which a thick mucus-like clogs are there which are known as cysts or fibrosis. These fibrosis damages the pancreas and thus enable them to work properly.


The insulin hormone is also produced by the pancreas. If the person is diabetic then it is observed that the digestives enzymes also get affected and cause this condition to the patient.

Chronic pancreatitis:

It is a chronic inflammatory condition of the pancreas which is the major cause for having EPI in the adults.

Intestinal surgery:

Due to surgery of any stomach organ. The production of the enzymes gets affected thus resulting in poor digestion of food.

Cancer in pancreas:

Cancer can be one of the causes of the EPI. Because cancer cells affect the function of the pancreas and damage them so much that they fail to perform their function effectively.


The diagnosis is not complicated. There are certain tests that will be prescribed by the doctors to confirm the internal situation of the body.

Fecal fat test:

Fecal fat test is performed by taking a sample of the stool and examine it carefully under a microscope. The test also examines the presence of pancreatic enzymes in the intestine.

Blood test:

Blood test is another way to know about the position of the enzymes in the blood produced by the pancreas. Low levels of pancreatic enzymes refer to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and poor digestive disorder.


This is the type of test known as endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography. This test is done by putting a telescope inside the stomach to take the pictures and see the condition of the stomach and intestine.

How much damage has been done by the lack of production of enzymes.


Pancreatic biopsy can also be performed by the doctor only when the condition is serious. Mostly it’s done when there are chances of pancreatic cancer.


Everyone goes for the treatment of their deadly diseases like this. Because it doesn’t happen due to some reason there are other causes also like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders which are related to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. The treatments done by the doctor can be:


Oral medication can be effective for treatment like pancreatic digestive enzymes. These oral enzymes will help the pancreas to recover from the disease.


Your diet routine will be a part of your treatment for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Most doctors prefer patients with EPI with a non-fat diet.

Because it will put less pressure on the pancreas as fat is the most difficult component to digest by the stomach.


There are supplements prescribed, To intake on a daily basis like multivitamins, folic acid, antioxidants just prevent the pancreas from getting damaged.


There are also some preventive measures if we diagnose on time on time there will be fewer chances for the person to go into a situation like Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. The preventions can be:


It’s advisable for your health to stop consuming alcohol in large amounts. The main reason for the failure of the liver and pancreas is excessive intake of alcohol on a daily basis.


Bringing exercise in your routine will help you to maintain the external as well as internal health. Your inner organs will work properly if you will start exercising daily.


Diet is the most essential part when it comes to health. Try to eat in moderation and with the healthiest options available.

It’s preferable to have a low fat diet as it will allow your internal organs to work more effectively.

A low-fat diet will not only make your pancreas work better but also help you in losing unwanted fat around your body.

Crash diets:

Crash diets are one of the reasons to upset your digestive system. Love your body and understand the mechanism of how it works. Don’t go on crash diets to ruin your digestive system.

Quit smoking:

Smoking not only affects your lungs but also your digestive system. Quit smoking for the better health of your lungs and pancreas.

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