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Friday, December 24, 2010

What is Peritonitis ?


[Extracted from web page of &]

The peritoneum is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and surrounds the organs in the abdomen. Peritonitis occurs when this membrane becomes inflamed. It's more common in men than in women.

Symptoms usually appear quickly and may include severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, abdominal swelling and fever. Dehydration and shock may also occur. Main symptoms are :
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Abdominal distention
  • Fever
  • Low urine output
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Point tenderness
  • Thirst
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • Inability to pass feces or gas
(If you have symptoms that may indicate peritonitis, please go to the hospital immediately. It is very important that you seek medical attention immediately)

Causes and risk factors

Peritonitis usually occurs as a complication of another abdominal disorder, such as a perforated appendix, or when organ contents (such as stomach acid, bile from an inflamed gall bladder, or digestive enzymes from an inflamed pancreas), leak into the abdominal cavity.
The most common cause is a bacterial infection spreading from somewhere else in the abdomen. If the bowel perforates, for example, intestinal bacteria can escape into the abdominal cavity.
The risk of developing peritonitis can be reduced by early and appropriate treatment of abdominal conditions such as appendicitis.

Types of Peritonitis
There are three main types of peritonitis :
1. Spontaneous
Spontaneous peritonitis is an infection that occurs as a complication of the collection of fluid in the area that surrounds the liver and kidney. This usually occurs when there is liver or kidney failure.
2. Secondary
Secondary peritonitis is an inflammation of the membrane linning the abdominal cavity that is caused by another condition. The most common condition that causes is it the spread of an infection from the digestive organs or bowels.
3. Dialysis associated
Dialysis associated peritonitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the lining of the abdomenal cavity that occurs in people receiving peritoneal dialysis.

Treatment and recovery

Suspected peritonitis requires urgent hospital treatment.
Treatment usually involves :
  • intravenous therapy
  • antibiotics
  • treatment of the underlying condition i.e. removal of the appendix in appendicitis, for example

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