Peritonitis is inflammation of the peritoneum. This is the thin tissue that covers the inside of the abdomen. It also covers the outside of the intestines and other abdominal organs.
There are three types:
This health problem needs care right away. It can be deadly.
This health problem is caused by infection. Common causes are:
Primary—fluid builds up in the belly and becomes infected due to health problems, such as
cirrhosis of the liver.
- Secondary—bacteria enters the belly due to an injury or a health problem, such as a ruptured appendix.
Dialysis-related—bacteria enters the peritoneal cavity during or after
to treat kidney disease
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
- Belly pain that is worse when moving
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lack of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Fast heartbeat
- Passing less urine
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood tests will be done.
Fluid may be taken from the peritoneum for testing. This can be done with
Images may be taken of the abdomen. This can be done with
Surgery may be done to look inside the abdomen. This can be done with
The underlying cause will need to be treated. This may involve things like surgery to remove a ruptured appendix.
The goal of treatment is to ease inflammation. This can be done with antibiotics or antifungal medicine to treat infection.
There are no current guidelines to prevent this health problem.
Marciano S, Díaz JM, et al. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in patients with cirrhosis: incidence, outcomes, and treatment strategies. Hepat Med. 2019;11:13-22.
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/spontaneous-bacterial-peritonitis. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/approach-to-the-patient-with-liver-disease/spontaneous-bacterial-peritonitis-sbp. Accessed March 23, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 03/24/2021