What is
Exocrine Pancreatic
Insufficiency
(EPI)?

The pancreas produces enzymes to help with the digestion of food. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition that occurs when the pancreas fails to provide the necessary amount of digestive enzymes. Due to a lack of these enzymes, people with EPI cannot properly digest the nutrients in food such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates (maldigestion).

EPI is associated with uncomfortable gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, like bloating, gas, and oily or greasy diarrhea that floats and is difficult to flush. Additionally, if you have EPI, you may not be getting the necessary nutrition from the foods you eat.

The symptoms of EPI may be similar to other gastrointestinal disorders, like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis, which can make EPI a difficult condition to diagnose. This is why it is important to talk to your doctor
about all of the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Use our EPI symptom identifier to help you identify
your symptoms and help you start a discussion
with your doctor.


Sources: 1. Fieker A, Philpott J, Armand M. Enzyme replacement therapy for pancreatic insufficiency: present and future. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2011:4:55-73. 2. Domínguez-Muñoz JE. Pancreatic enzyme therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2007;9(2):116-122. 3. Friedman S, Blumberg RS. Inflammatory bowel disease. In: Longo DL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, et al, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012. 4. Signs & symptoms of celiac disease. Celiac Sprue Association Web site. http://www.csaceliacs.info/symptoms_of_celiac_disease.jsp. Accessed October 24, 2013.