The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and next to the small intestine. The pancreas does two main things:
It releases powerful digestive enzymes into the small intestine to aid the digestion of food.
It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body control how it uses food for energy.
Pancreatitis is a disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Pancreatic damage happens when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released into the small intestine and begin attacking the pancreas.