What is Peritonitis?

Peritonitis is referred to as the inflammation of peritoneum, a thin layer of tissue that covers the inside of the abdomen and other abdominal organs. It may occur as a generalized or localized condition resulting from infection of blood or rupture of an abdominal organ. Being a serious condition it needs immediate medical attention and care. An unattended/ignored infection can often be life threatening if not treated immediately.

It is seen as a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention. Sometimes, it is very important to remove infected tissue through a surgery. There are other means also that can help curb this disease.


The condition can be identified by carefully observing the following symptoms. However, the symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and decreased/minimal urination. Other symptoms can be:

  • Pain and tenderness in the abdomen.
  • Abdominal pain that increases with motion or touch.
  • Bloating or distention of the abdomen.
  • Nausea and vomiting resulting from intestinal paralysis.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Washboard rigidity. 
  • Anorexia, or loss of appetite leading to weight loss.
  • Excessive thirst or urge to drink water.
  • Fatigue , fever and chills.



The major causes of the disease include:

  • Perforations or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease and tuberculosis.
  • Leakage of body fluids like blood, gastric juices, urine, menstruum, pancreatic juice or bile. 
  • Abdominal surgeries which may cause infections in future due to foreign body reactions or adhesions.



A person is likely to suffer from the disease or get infected if:

  • He had a previous history of peritonitis.
  • Person was or is under influence of alcohol, or consumes alcohol.
  • Has suffered or is suffering from a liver disease.
  • There is fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
  • Has a weak immune system.
  • Is suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease.


To prevent the occurrence of this disease, one should take care of these things:

  • Clean your skin around the catheter daily.
  • Maintain your medical supplies well.
  • Take a healthy diet and have a good sleep.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, the doctor inquires about the patient’s medical history and performs complete physical examination. 


How is it treated?

After the cause of peritonitis is identified, treatment and medication commences. It also depends upon the patient’s severity. The various treatments advised are:


  • Rehydration

    The treatment involves vigorous intravenous rehydration and correction of electrolyte disturbances.


  • Antibiotics

    To curb infections antibiotics are given intravenously, but may also be infused directly into the peritoneum. The choice of antibiotics should be targeted against agents causing infections, depending on the cause of peritonitis.

  • Surgery (laparotomy)

    It is required to be performed in cases where there may be inflammation with pus collection.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should immediately see a doctor, if you begin to experience severe pain or tenderness of abdomen, vomiting and nausea, inability to pass stool or gas, and fever. 

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