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Having pain below ribs. On low fat diet. Blood test done. Could beer stimulate amylase level?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
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Hi there, here is my story,
July 3 - 5: I came back from Las Vegas and severe pain in my the left side (below the back rib), which resonated all around my rib cage at its peek.
July 6 - I checked into the hospital and it showed an amylase level of 149. I went home and stuck to a H2O diet.
July 7 - Rechecked into hospital and was put on IV because the pain did not subside, the Amylase level came back at 107. The pain took a 5-6 days to completely go away.
July 28 - I got a follow up check done. The Amylase came back at 153 and Lipase at 20. I feel no pain. I have eliminated alcohol and have been on a low fat diet. However, on July 27, I had half a beer at night (15 hours before my blood test). Could this half a beer had stimulated my amylase level? If not, what could this mean? The doctor recommended that I stick to a clean alcohol free diet and check back in one month. I read something about tumors producing amylase levels. I am 27 years old.
Please advise

Posted Wed, 22 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 1 hour later
Hello and thanks for the query.
Even a small amount of alcohol can increase the serum amylase levels.
You should definitely stick to the doctor's advice of alcohol free diet as alcohol irritates pancreas and liver and also cause interaction with the medicines you are taking.
Take low fat,low red meat and high fiber diet along with plenty of fluids.
Must tell your doctor if you are taking any herbal medications or any OTC pain killers as they may cause interactions with your current medications.
Although two of the most important causes for pancreatitis are alcohol and gall stones,pancreatic cancer can also increase the serum amylase levels.
High triglycerides can also increase amylase levels.
You may get an ultrasound abdomen and CT scan abdomen done to rule out any other pathology causing high amylase levels and I am quite sure your doctor must have taken this into account.

I hope to have answered your query however you may revert to me for any other query.
Best of luck.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having pain below ribs. On low fat diet. Blood test done. Could beer stimulate amylase level? 54 minutes later
Thank you for you reply Dr. XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXX

Would a small amount of alcohol only increase amylase levels in my case? Or is this the case for the general public.

For example, if this episode had not occurred, and I consumed alcohol, would it increase amylase to the point they are now? Or is this only happening now because I have had an episode described as acute pancreatitis - which is why I have to be extremely careful.

I have had high levels of triglycerides earlier this year, but reduced it after changing my diet.

I am trying to gauge whether I am recovered. In the past, I have never had my amylase levels checked. Only now because of the abdominal pain (which is gone). Therefore, I really have nothing to benchmark against except for my previous two readings of 149 (high) and 107 (acceptable) on July 6 and 7, respectively.

If half a beer can elevate anyone's amylase levels to above the safe zone for a short period of a time, then I think I am ok. If not, I have something to be worried about.

What are your thoughts?

Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 7 hours later
Small amount of alcohol can increase amylase level in any person who is suffering from alcoholic pancreatitis.
It is not correct to think that a small amount of alcohol will elevate the amylase level only for a short time.
The fact of matter is that it can trigger a severe inflammation or a bout of pancreatitis about which nothing can be predicted.
A person suffering from alcoholic pancreatitis is always at the danger of getting the attack of pancreatitis on consumption of alcohol.He may or may not get is a separate matter and can not be predicted.

You are most welcome to ask any other query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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