Peritonitis: Symptom, Treatment


Peritonitis is a disorder that occurs when the peritoneum—the thin layer of tissue that covers the inner wall of the abdomen and abdominal organs—becomes irritated or inflamed.

It is a life-threatening condition and requires urgent medical treatment.


There are two types of peritonitis:

  • primary spontaneous peritonitis, an infection that develops in the peritoneum;
  • secondary peritonitis, which usually develops when an injury or infection in the abdominal cavity allows infectious organisms to develop into the peritoneum.


The following conditions can lead to peritonitis:

  • an abdominal wound or injury
  • a ruptured appendix
  • a stomach ulcer
  • a perforated colon
  • diverticulitis
  • pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas
  • cirrhosis of the liver or other types of liver disease
  • infection of the gallbladder, intestines, or bloodstream
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • invasive medical procedures, including treatment for kidney failure, surgery, or the use of a feeding tube


Common symptoms of peritonitis include:

  • tenderness in your abdomen
  • pain in your abdomen that gets more intense with motion or touch
  • abdominal bloating or distention
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation or the inability to pass gas
  • minimal urine output
  • anorexia, or loss of appetite
  • excessive thirst
  • fatigue
  • fever and chills


Diagnosis of peritonitis includes a number of tests:

  • Physical examination—when the abdomen is hard, painful and there are no bowel movements or sounds.
  • Signs of shock—including low blood pressure, abnormal pulse rate and pale skin.
  • Blood tests—to identify the bacteria that are involved.
  • X-ray—to examination the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopy—a slender tube is inserted through an abdominal incision and the insides examined.
  • Peritoneal fluid culture—a sample of fluid is taken and examined for signs of infection.


Treatment for peritonitis totally depends on the cause of the inflammation and/or infection and the severity of the symptoms.

The most common method is using antibiotics (typically through an IV) to treat the infection causing the pain and inflammation. For secondary peritonitis, surgery is sometimes necessary to eliminate the source of infection.

If you have any symptoms of peritonitis, call your doctor right away. Seeking prompt medical attention is especially important for patients having peritonitis, and it’s essential for them to receive a quick diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment.

Keyword: peritonitis.

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Peritoneal Fluid Analysis

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How to Treat Abdominal Pain Without Drugs?

What Are Basics of Stomach Bloating?

What Are the Home Remedies of Diarrhea?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.