• Living With Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency

    The right diet is very important for managing PEI. Your doctor and/or dietician can help you choose the foods that keep your energy level up and give you the nutrition you need. Here are a few tips:

    • Eat six small meals per day, instead of the traditional three. A big meal might not be appealing if you have digestion troubles from PEI.
    • Don't drink alcohol. It can make it even harder for your body to absorb fat, and can damage your pancreas over time.
    • Take vitamins. You may need to take vitamins A, D, E, and K to replace ones that aren't getting absorbed from your diet.
    • Also, talk with your family and friends to get the support you need while you're getting treatment.

    Apart from a healthy diet, the main treatment for PEI is pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). You take prescription pills that replace the enzymes your pancreas isn't making.

    These enzymes break down your food so you can more easily digest and absorb it. You must take them during or immediately after your meals. If you take them before you eat, the replacement enzymes may move through your stomach before your food gets there.

    You may also need to take an antacid – called a proton-pump-inhibitor – to keep your stomach from breaking down pancreatic enzymes before they can start to work. This is only needed for certain types of PERT; check with your pharmacist if you are unsure. 

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