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Definition

What is peritonitis?

Peritonitis is the peritoneum inflammation, which is caused by the rupture (perforation) in your abdomen due to the bacteria infection, or as a complication of other medical conditions.

Peritonitis requires prompt medical attention to fighting the infection and to treat any underlying medical conditions, if necessary.

How common is peritonitis?

Peritonitis is common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of peritonitis?

The common symptoms of peritonitis are:

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness;
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness (distention) in your abdomen;
  • Fever;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Low urine output;
  • Thirst;
  • Inability to pass stool or gas;
  • Fatigue;
  • Cloudy dialysis fluid;
  • White flecks, strands or clumps (fibrin) in the dialysis fluid.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Severe pain or tenderness in your abdomen, abdominal bloating;
  • Fever;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Low urine output;
  • Thirst;
  • Inability to pass stool or gas.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes peritonitis?

Infection of the peritoneum can be caused by variety reasons, including:

  • Medical procedures, such as peritoneal dialysis, gastrointestinal surgery;
  • A ruptured appendix, stomach ulcer or perforated colon;
  • Pancreatitis;
  • Diverticulitis;
  • Trauma;
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for peritonitis?

There are many risk factors for peritonitis, such as:

  • Peritoneal dialysis;
  • Other medical conditions, such as cirrhosis, appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers, diverticulitis, and pancreatitis;
  • History of peritonitis.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is peritonitis diagnosed?

Peritonitis can be diagnosed thanks to medical history and a physical exam. Some other tests can be performed to confirm the condition, such as:

  • Blood tests to check for a high white blood cell count.
  • Imaging tests or ultrasound to check for holes or other perforations in your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Peritoneal fluid analysis to check white blood cell.

How is peritonitis treated?

Hospitalization is needed for peritonitis that’s caused by infection from other medical conditions (secondary peritonitis).

Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics to fight the infection and prevent it from spreading.
  • Surgery to remove infected tissue, treat the underlying cause of the infection and prevent the infection from spreading.
  • Other treatments. Depending on your signs, symptoms, and your situation, treatments may include pain medications, intravenous (IV) fluids, supplemental oxygen and, in some cases, a blood transfusion.

 

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage peritonitis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with peritonitis:

  • Wash your hands, including underneath your fingernails and between your fingers, before touching the catheter.
  • Clean the skin around the catheter with an antiseptic every day.
  • Store your supplies in a sanitary area.
  • Wear a surgical mask during your dialysis fluid exchanges.
  • If you have pets, don’t sleep with them.
  • Talk with your dialysis care team about proper care for your peritoneal dialysis catheter.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: April 13, 2017 | Last Modified: April 13, 2017

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