Travis Barker Experiences Severe Pancreatitis After An Endoscopy. Here’s What You Need To Know

 

 

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder 

 

Musician, and new husband to Kourtney Kardashian, Travis Barker recently had a big health scare. 

“God save me,” the 46-year-old tweeted, reportedly as he was being taken to the hospital.

According to one entertainment report, Barker started experiencing really bad pain after undergoing a routine endoscopy on June 27.

To put it simply, an endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure which allows a doctor to see inside a patient’s body. A long, flexible tube with a camera is inserted in the body. For example, an upper endoscopy is performed to examine the upper digestive tract. Once the patient is sedated, the tube is inserted into the mouth and moved down the throat to view the stomach, esophagus and small intestine. A colonoscopy is considered to be a lower GI (gastrointestinal) endoscopy.

"During the endoscopy, I had a very small polyp removed right in a very sensitive area, usually handled by specialists, which unfortunately damaged a critical pancreatic drainage tube. This resulted in severe life threatening pancreatitis. I am so very very grateful that with intensive treatment I am currently much better," Barker said.

The pancreas is located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach and has some important  functions. These include the following:

  • The pancreas makes enzymes that break down food in the intestines.
  • It also makes hormones that regulate blood sugar levels.
 
 
What is pancreatitis?

To put it simply, pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms may include pain in the upper abdomen that extends to the back, nausea, vomiting, fever, fast pulse and weight loss. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, causes include gallstones, heavy alcohol consumption (which we have previously blogged about), taking certain medications and genetic disorder of the pancreas.

So does having an endoscopy cause pancreatitis?

It can, but it actually appears to not be that common. It is relatively rare for both colonoscopies and upper endoscopies. 

In a recent study that analyzed the experiences of nearly 80,000 patients who had colonoscopies, pancreatitis was not even described as a risk of the procedure,” reports The New York Times

“Pancreatitis would be considered extraordinarily rare among upper endoscopies as well. Several large studies over the years, including a German study of more than 100,000 people who had the procedure, have not shown pancreatitis to be a complication.”

The reality is we do not know the full story regarding Travis Barker. Maybe it was just bad luck. When he said, “usually handled by specialists,” this may imply that he did not receive proper care. We also do not know the details of his health history and status.

Fortunately, Barker is home from the hospital and recovering. What I do not want this story to do is cause people to be fearful of getting an endoscopy. This procedure, whether a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy, can be life-saving by detecting a cancer or other health issue in its earlier stages.

Be proactive about the health of your pancreas.

As it goes with taking care of all of the body’s organs, it is good to avoid smoking, drink alcohol in moderation (if at all), exercise regularly, eat a nutrient-rich diet and stay on top of routine physicals and exams.

If you are someone who already suffers from chronic pancreatitis, it is extremely important to manage this. Check out Cleveland Clinic’s, best and worst foods for pancreatitis. I also highly recommend checking out these pH Labs blogs regarding pancreatic cancer and health. 

It is also very important to have routine comprehensive nutrient tests in order to determine if you are including enough pancreas friendly nutrients in your diet. If you are not, a competent healthcare professional can work with you to adjust your diet and recommend quality supplements if necessary.

Enjoy your healthy life!

 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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