Hereditary pancreatitis

Are inguinal hernias and pancreatitis known to be genetically related?

No. While people with the genetic condition, cystic fibrosis, are at an increased risk for both inguinal hernias and pancreatitis, we are otherwise unaware of an association between these conditions. However both hernias and pancreatitis can independently cluster in families. As a result, your risk for inguinal hernia increases if you have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, who has the condition. Likewise your risk for pancreatitis increases if a close relative has pancreatitis. However having a family history of pancreatitis does not put you at an increased risk for hernia and vice versa. There are ongoing studies to learn more about the genetic risk component of these relatively common conditions.

Other risk factors for hernias, include chronic cough, chronic constipation, excess weight, pregnancy, doing heavy physical labor, premature birth, and being male.

Causes of pancreatitis, include abdominal injury, infection, having high triglyceride and/or calcium levels, gallstones, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, certain medications, and abdominal surgery.

Last updated on 05-01-20

When is hereditary pancreatitis suspected?

Hereditary pancreatitis is rare, affecting roughly 1 in 300,000 people. This diagnosis is considered when two or more closely related members (e.g., parent and sibling) of the same family have chronic pancreatitis or recurring acute pancreatitis typically beginning at a young age. This diagnosis is also considered in a family who has three or more second-degree relatives (e.g., grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, half-sibling) in 2 or more generations with pancreatitis that can not be explained by other causes.

If you have a family history suggestive of hereditary pancreatitis, we recommend that you discuss this concern with your doctor. You can also consider meeting with a genetics professional. Genetics professionals are a source of information for individuals and families regarding genetic conditions, treatment, inheritance, and genetic risks to other family members. More information about finding and visiting a genetics professional is available from the Genetic Consultation Handbook developed by Genetics Home Reference.

To find a genetics clinic, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider for a referral. The following online resources can also help you find a genetics professional in your community:

  • GeneTests offers a searchable directory of U.S. and international genetics and prenatal diagnosis clinics.
  • The National Society of Genetic Counselors provides a searchable directory of US and international genetic counseling services.
  • The American College of Medical Genetics has a searchable database of US genetics clinics.
  • The American Society of Human Genetics maintains a database of its members, which includes individuals who live outside of the United States. Visit the link to obtain a list of the geneticists in your country, some of whom may be researchers that do not provide medical care.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Name: National Pancreas Foundation 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 700
Bethesda, MD, 20814, United States
Phone: +1-301-961-1508 Toll Free: 1-866-726-2737 Email: Url:

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The RareGuru disease database is regularly updated using data generously provided by GARD, the United States Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center.

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