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.
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:
If you are diagnosed with peritonitis, follow your doctor's instructions.
American Gastroenterological Association
The American College of Gastroenterology
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
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Peritonitis. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peritonitis/ds00990. Updated July 2009. Accessed July 24, 2009.
Townsend CM, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 17th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2004.
Yamada T, Alpers DH, et al. Textbook of Gastroenterology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003.
Last reviewed October 2012 by Daus Mahnke, MD