Pancreatitis Sparked By Ongoing Pesticide Exposures At Work

Hi there!
I was 35 when I went through what was basically a 6 month attack of pancreatitis. By the end of the onslaught, it was determined that I had the beginnings of chronic pancreatitis. I had no idea what it was-I thought it was a kidney problem because the pain radiated to my back for the most part. I was petite and fit-always a healthy eater and practically a teetotaler. Unfortunately, I also had a history of low-level chemical snesitivity (i.e. I had trouble with fragrances, certain chemicals, etc). Well, lo and behold, a rodent infestation occured at my office tower in Times Square, and I start developing godawful pains in my stomach. The pain became progressively worse-to the point of being constant; it would peak to unbearable after eating... I lost so much weight-about 20 lbs in 2 months. And my sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals shot through the roof. I could smell perfume emanating from a person down the street. I couldn't tolerate the smell of new electronics, etc. It was so limiting and frightening. I went to a full-on pancreatic specialist at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC and underwent 2.5 months worth of testing to evaluate for any possible functional or structural abnormality in pancreas. My doctor originally was very skeptical of my own thery linking th epesticide exposure to my unrelenting pancreatitis, but by the end of my 2.5 month evaluation, she conceded that my theory appeared to be correct, even if only by virtue of having excluded every other possibility.They could not find any cause other than the toxic etiology I highly suspected (I mean, the onset of symptoms and spike in chemical sensitivity corresponded exactly with the beginning of the heavy-hitting pesticide applications at work). I suspect that a lot of "idiopathic" pancreatitis cases are provoked by exposure to various toxins known to aggravate the pancreas, like pesticides. All I can say is-if you have a cranky pancreas, I'd opt for non-toxic household products, cleaners, and personal care products. I'd also stop using a wood-burning stove and cease all pesticide use in an round my home and garden.This whole incident has motivated me to do a lot of research into pancreatic irritants, and I've turned up a number of things. One of the worst is pesticides (including herbicides). Also-the obvious offenders: cigarette smoke (also wood burning smoke) & alcohol. But would you beieve that fabric softener is also a major pancreatic irritant and is linked with pancreatic cancer? I would stop using that altogether. All of us with chronic pancreatitis are at very increased risk for the lethal pancreatic cancer. Sorry to end on such a somber note, but I had to share my experience, if only to enlighten all those with so-called "idiopathic" pancreatitis. Most likely, the real cause id some sort of toxic environmental exposure because the pancreas is a very sensitive organ that has already been shown to react negatively to common toxins like cigarettes, medications, and excessive alcohol. And many of us have genetic weaknesses that make us unable to effectively process/neutralize everyday toxins. The key is in identifying what your particular provoking poison is. For me, it was easy to discern due to my concomitant chemical sensitivity and the literature linking pesticides and pancreatitis. For others, it may be harder to figure out.
SpritelyMiss SpritelyMiss
36-40, F
3 Responses Feb 2, 2013

Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I am in the hospital right now with another attack. It all started last February and I have probably been hospitalized 15 times since. Not counting the times they just kept me for a few hours to give IV fluids and pain meds. All this time they still can't find the cause. Tomorrow they are deciding if they are removing my gall bladder. You have give me much to think about.

Thank you for sharing. Especially things like fabric softener.

Very interesting. My husband first had an acute attack at 25 and never had an entirely conclusive reason for it and now 6 years later has chronic pancreatitis. His gall bladder was blamed and taken out but it got worse. At the time he started getting sick he worked for Terminix, major chemicals!