The pancreas is a gland behind your stomach. It makes enzymes to help break down food in your small intestine. When your body is healthy, the enzymes start working after they leave the pancreas.
When the pancreas gets sick, or inflamed, the enzymes start working when they are still in the pancreas. This causes damage to tissue inside the pancreas.
There are two types of pancreatitis: acute or chronic. Acute means it lasts for a few days. Chronic means it develops slowly and keeps coming back. Most kids have acute pancreatitis.
The illness can result from an injury, infection, gall stones or other diseases. The most common sign of the illness is severe stomach pain above the belly button on the left side. Doctors will diagnose the illness using blood tests and X-rays.
Doctors also will treat you in the hospital while your pancreas calms down. It usually lasts for a few days.