Michelle Badash, MS
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:
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 health conditions, such as
cirrhosis of the liver.
Secondary peritonitis—Caused by bacteria that enter the abdominal cavity. Can be due to an injury or a condition, such as a ruptured appendix.
Dialysis-related peritonitis—Caused by bacteria that enter the peritoneal cavity during or after
(a treatment for kidney disease).
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Factors that may increase your chances of peritonitis:
Peritonitis may cause:
Severe pain or tenderness in the abdomen
Pain in the abdomen that is worse with motion
Bloating of the abdomen
Nausea and vomiting
Weakness or lightheadedness
Shortness of breath
Rapid pulse or breathing rate
—signs include dry skin and lips, decreased urine production
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
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 current guidelines to prevent peritonitis.
American College of Gastroenterology
American Gastroenterological Association
http://www.gastro.org CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Bacterial peritonitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
. Updated May 31, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2017.
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 2016. Accessed October 3, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD Last Updated: 9/30/2013