Get your own Chat Box! Go Large!


Pronounced: peh-rit-oh-NYE-tis
Peritonitis is an inflammation or infection of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is a thin tissue lining that covers the inside of the abdominal cavity. It also covers the outside of the intestines and other abdominal organs.
There are several types:
• Primary
• Secondary
• Peritoneal dialysis related
Peritonitis is a serious condition. It requires immediate treatment. If not promptly treated, it can be fatal.
Primary Peritonitis–occurs when there is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. This is called ascites. It is caused by chronic liver disease, among other conditions.
Secondary Peritonitis–caused by bacteria that enter the abdominal cavity. Can be due to an injury or a condition, such as a ruptured appendix..
Secondary Peritonitis

Dialysis-related Peritonitis–caused by bacteria that enter the peritoneal cavity during or after peritoneal dialysis (a treatment for kidney disease).
Risk Factors
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for peritonitis include:
• Abdominal penetration or trauma
• Immune compromise
• Blood in the abdomen
• Ruptured appendix
• Peptic ulcer
• Colitis
• Diverticulitis
• Gangrene of the bowel
• Pancreatitis
• Pelvic inflammatory disease
• Inflamed gallbladder
• Recent surgery
• Tubes or shunts in the abdomen
• Cortisone drugs
Symptoms may include:
• Severe pain or tenderness in the abdomen
• Pain in the abdomen that is worse with motion
• Bloating of the abdomen
• Constipation
• Fever
• Nausea and vomiting
• Weakness or dizziness
• Shortness of breath
• Rapid pulse or breathing rate
• Dehydration–signs include dry skin and lips, decreased urine production
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
• Blood tests
• Analysis of fluids from the peritoneum
• Abdominal x-rays to look for signs of inflammation
• Laparotomy–surgery to open and examine the abdomen
Treatment depends on the cause. It may include:
• Surgery to repair openings in the skin surface or to remove damaged tissue
• Antibiotics to treat infection
• Replacement of fluids
There are no guidelines for preventing peritonitis.