Peritonitis is an inflammation (irritation) of the peritoneum. This is the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs.
Acute abdomen; Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis; SBP; Cirrhosis - spontaneous peritonitis
Peritonitis is caused by a collection of blood, body fluids, or pus in the belly (abdomen).
One type is called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SPP). It occurs in people with ascites. Ascites is the buildup of fluid in the space between the lining of the abdomen and the organs. This problem is found in people with long-term liver damage, certain cancers, and heart failure.
Peritonitis may be a result of other problems. This is known as secondary peritonitis. Problems that may lead to this type of peritonitis include:
The belly is very painful or tender. The pain may become worse when the belly is touched or when you move.
Your belly may look or feel bloated. This is called abdominal distention.
Other symptoms may include:
The cause must be identified and treated right away. Treatment typically involves surgery and antibiotics.
Peritonitis can be life threatening and may cause complications. These depend on the type of peritonitis.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have symptoms of peritonitis.
Bush LM, Levison ME. Peritonitis and intraperitoneal abscesses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 74.
Kuemmerle JF. Inflammatory and anatomic diseases of the intestine, peritoneum, mesentery, and omentum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 133.