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:
- 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.
- Dialysis-related peritonitis—caused by bacteria that enter the peritoneal cavity during or after peritoneal dialysis (a treatment for kidney disease).
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A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for peritonitis include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. 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
If you are diagnosed with peritonitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
There are no guidelines for preventing peritonitis.
- Daus Mahnke, MD
- Reviewed: 09/2013
- Updated: 09/30/2013
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