Pancreatitis in a Woman Taking an Herbal Supplement

David Lesser, MD, CDR MC, USN; Paul Hillesheim, DO, LT MC, USN


South Med J. 2007;100(1):59-60. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

A healthy woman developed pancreatitis after starting a popular herbal supplement designed to boost female libido. Following cessation of the herbal supplement, her enzymes quickly normalized. The patient had no risk factors for pancreatitis and anatomic obstruction was later ruled out. The contents of the supplement and their history of side effects are reviewed. As several of the ingredients are estrogenic in nature, this may have contributed to the patient's reaction. Physicians should remember to take a careful history regarding the usage of supplements and alternative medicines.

Pancreatitis is usually caused by ingestion of a toxin such as alcohol or by mechanical obstruction, but there are very few documented cases of pancreatitis caused by an herbal supplement. We present the case of a woman who developed acute pancreatitis after a one week history of herbal supplementation with a product that claimed to enhance libido.


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