Peritonitis – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. Also, Peritonitis is inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the inside of the abdomen and most of its organs. This is a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention. Common symptoms include pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting, and minimal urine production.
You have a thin layer of tissue covering the inside of your abdomen and most of your organs. This is called a peritoneum. Peritonitis is inflammation of the peritoneum. Inflammation is usually the result of a yeast or bacterial infection caused by an abdominal injury, an underlying medical condition, or a treatment device such as a dialysis catheter or feeding tube.
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Peritonitis is a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention. Rapid intravenous antibiotics are needed to treat the infection . Surgery is sometimes needed to remove infected tissue. The infection can spread and become fatal if not treated promptly.
Causes of Peritonitis: There are two types of Peritonitis .
Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is the result of an infection of the fluid in your peritoneal cavity. Liver or kidney failure can cause this condition. People on peritoneal dialysis for kidney failure are also at increased risk of SBP.
Secondary peritonitis is usually due to an infection that has spread from the digestive tract.
The Following Conditions Can Lead to Peritonitis:
- An abdominal wound or injury;
- A broken appendix;
- A stomach ulcer;
- A perforated colon;
- Diverticulitis, which is when pouches form in the colon wall and become inflamed
- Pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas;
- Cirrhosis of the liver or other types of liver disease;
- infection of the gallbladder, intestine or bloodstream;
- pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs;
- Crohn’s disease, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease .
Invasive medical procedures, including treatment for kidney failure, surgery, or the use of a feeding tube.
Symptoms of Peritonitis: Symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause of your infection . Common symptoms of Peritonitis include:
- Tenderness in the abdomen;
- Pain in the abdomen that becomes more intense with movement or touch
- Abdominal swelling or distention;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Constipation or the inability to pass gas;
- Minimal output of urine;
- Anorexia or loss of appetite;
- excessive thirst;
- Fever and chills.
If you are on peritoneal dialysis, your dialysis fluid may appear cloudy or have white patches or clumps in it. You may also notice redness or pain around your catheter.
Diagnoses of Peritonitis: If you have symptoms of Peritonitis , seek immediate care. Delaying treatment can put your life at risk. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and perform a complete physical exam. This will include touching or pressing your abdomen, which will likely cause you some discomfort.
There are other tests to help diagnose peritonitis:
- A blood test, called a complete blood count (CBC) can measure your white blood cell count. A high white blood cell count usually indicates inflammation or infection . A blood culture can help identify the bacteria causing the infection or inflammation .
- If you have a buildup of fluid in your abdomen, your doctor may use a needle to remove some and send it to a lab for fluid analysis. Cultivating the fluid can also help identify bacteria .
- Imaging tests, such as CT scans and X-rays, can show perforations or holes in your peritoneum.
If you are on dialysis, your doctor may diagnose you based on the appearance of cloudy dialysis fluid.
Peritonitis Treatments: The first step in treating Peritonitis is determining the underlying cause. Treatment usually involves antibiotics to fight infections and pain medication.
- If you have an infected gut , an abscess (a collection of pus), or an inflamed appendix, you may need surgery to remove the infected tissue.
- If you are on kidney dialysis and have Peritonitis , you may need to wait until the infection flares up before receiving more dialysis. If the infection continues, you will need to switch to a different type of dialysis.
Your treatment must begin promptly to avoid serious and life-threatening complications.
Complications of Peritonitis: If not treated promptly, the infection can enter your bloodstream, causing shock and damage to your other organs. This can be fatal.
Possible Complications of Spontaneous Peritonitis Include:
- Hepatic encephalopathy, which is a loss of brain function that occurs when the liver can no longer remove toxic substances from your blood.
- Hepatorenal syndrome, which is progressive kidney failure.
- Sepsis, which is a serious reaction that occurs when the bloodstream becomes overwhelmed by bacteria
Complications of Secondary Peritonitis Include:
- An intra-abdominal abscess, which is a collection of pus
- Gangrenous bowel, which is dead intestinal tissue;
- Intraperitoneal adhesions, which are bands of fibrous tissue that unite abdominal organs and can cause intestinal blockage;
- Septic shock, characterized by dangerously low blood pressure.
Prevention of Peritonitis: If you are on dialysis, wash your hands and nails before touching your catheter. Clean the skin around the catheter daily. Follow your doctor’s instructions for the care and storage of your medical supplies.
See your doctor, go to an emergency room, or call 911 if you have severe abdominal pain or an abdominal injury such as a knife wound.