Peritonitis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is peritonitis?
Peritonitis is inflammation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the thin membranous tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs. Peritonitis is a serious condition, which needs immediate treatment. If not treated, it can cause a lot of complications and can become life-threatening.
What causes peritonitis?
The most common cause of peritonitis is a bacterial or fungal infection. Peritonitis is caused by a collection of blood, body fluids, or pus in the abdomen. Ascites (build-up of fluid in the abdominal space) also cause peritonitis.
The following are the other problems that may cause peritonitis:
- Trauma or wounds to the abdomen
- Rupture of appendix
- Rupture of diverticula
- Infection after an abdominal surgery
What are the symptoms of peritonitis?
Abdominal pain and tenderness are the main symptoms of peritonitis. The pain may worsen with touch or movement of the abdomen. Abdominal distention (feeling bloated) is another main symptom.
The following are the other symptoms of peritonitis:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Loss of appetite
- Passing little or no stools
- Decreased urine output
- Shortness of breath
- Severe fatigue
- Increased heartbeat
How is peritonitis diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical exam and review the symptoms. The doctor may find a tender abdomen and there may be a pain with touch and movement.
The doctor may order blood tests, x-rays, and CT scans for proper diagnosis. If there is fluid buildup in the abdomen, the doctor may remove some fluid and send it for testing.
How is peritonitis treated?
Peritonitis is an emergency, which must be treated right away. Accurate diagnosis plays a key role in treatment, which typically involves antibiotics and surgery.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.