Peritonitis - Peritonitis

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Peritonitis - Peritonitis
Peritonitis - Peritonitis
Video: Peritonitis - Peritonitis
Video: Peritonitis, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. 2023, February

Inflammation of the peritoneum (peritonitis)

In the case of peritonitis - as the name suggests - the peritoneum, also called the peritoneum, is inflamed. This lines the abdominal or pelvic cavity as well as part of the organs of the abdominal and pelvic area. The inflammation can have several causes. It usually occurs acutely and is bacterial - for example as a result of the disease / infection of an organ of the gastrointestinal area - for example appendicitis.

The therapy depends, among other things, on the cause of the peritonitis and the spread of the inflammation in the abdomen. Uncomplicated cases can in certain cases be treated with antibiotics. Often, however, an operation has to be performed to treat the underlying cause, such as a ruptured appendix. In many cases, peritonitis is a very serious situation. This requires urgent medical therapy. In particular if the inflammation has spread in the abdominal cavity (generalized peritonitis), serious consequences must be prevented by rapid therapy.


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  • What are the causes of peritonitis?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How is the diagnosis made?
  • How is peritonitis treated?
  • Whom can I ask?

What are the causes of peritonitis?

Causes of peritonitis include infections. They are one of the common causes. They are usually caused by bacteria and occur, for example, as a result of a gastrointestinal disease.

  • Primary peritonitis: One form is so-called peritonitis, in which germs penetrate the intestinal walls and infect the abdomen. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis occurs in various diseases, especially in chronic liver diseases and the end stage of liver cirrhosis, certain forms of hepatitis, heart failure, cancers with metastases, rare systemic diseases (e.g. lupus erythematosus) etc. Other causes of the infection within the abdominal cavity are not available in this form.
  • Secondary peritonitis: This is related to a disease of the gastrointestinal and urogenital area, for example as a result of a perforation ("breakthrough") of organs (eg in a stomach ulcer, as a result of appendicitis, gallbladder inflammation, diverticulitis). It can also occur after injuries and as complications after surgery.

A distinction is also made between generalized and localized peritonitis. The inflammation can occur locally (localized peritonitis). With generalized peritonitis, the inflammation spreads. A life-threatening situation, sepsis or shock can occur.

What are the symptoms?

Acute occur among others:

  • Abdominal pain (either localized or in the entire abdominal area, severe pain),
  • Knocking or shaking pain,
  • Defense tension,
  • bloated stomach,
  • Fever,
  • Nausea, loss of appetite,
  • In addition, a general feeling of illness and symptoms such as accelerated breathing, accelerated heart rate can occur.

Note Symptoms such as abdominal pain are often difficult to classify for those affected because this occurs with various diseases. In the event of certain symptoms (e.g. severe pain, rapid deterioration in general condition, shortness of breath, accelerated breathing, palpitations, drop in blood pressure, etc.), medical help must be called immediately (emergency number 144)! A life-threatening situation can quickly arise. In order to avoid life-threatening situations and severe organ damage, rapid diagnosis and therapy are crucial.

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis is made - depending on the health status of the person concerned - among other things through anamnesis including a physical examination. The clarification also includes:

  • Imaging procedures (ultrasound of the abdomen, chest x-ray, CT of the abdomen, possibly with contrast agent),
  • Laboratory tests (e.g. inflammation parameters, blood count, etc.),
  • Ev. Laparoscopy, exploratory laparotomy, ascites puncture

How is peritonitis treated?

The therapy is carried out depending on the cause and health condition of the person affected by:

  • Administration of antibiotics (ideally according to the classification of the germs),
  • surgical intervention (and rectification of the original illness or cause of the infection),
  • Lavage, drainage,
  • Intensive care treatment (with safeguarding and monitoring the vital functions, ventilation, shock therapy, infusions, parenteral nutrition (parenteral fluid therapy), gastric tube).

Whom can I ask?

If symptoms such as severe pain, generally poor health, high fever, circulatory instability, an immediate medical consultation is necessary! The emergency doctor must be notified immediately (144)!

In the case of peritonitis, doctors from various disciplines can be involved in the treatment, especially for internal medicine (gastroenterology), surgery, etc. The acute treatment is carried out in the hospital (e.g. department for internal medicine with a focus on gastroenterology or department for surgery).

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