The normal bowel movement is one every day, but it depends on each patient. In pancreatitis, besides having the symptoms we have described above, patients often have bowel irregularities that might be translated into diarrhea or constipation. Diarrhea typically results from nutrient absorption problems, especially related to impaired absorption of fatty acids. Thus, diarrhea is often greasy and foul-smelling.
However, instead of diarrhea, some patients would experience constipation instead, which results from an inflammatory reaction in the intestinal traffic to the inflammatory condition created by pancreatitis. As we have mentioned previously, there’s ileum, a type of obstruction to the normal propulsive ability of the gastrointestinal tract, which may result in constipation. In most cases, diarrhea is seen in chronic pancreatitis while constipation is more common in acute pancreatitis.