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Peritonitis is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the tissue that lines your belly or abdomen. This tissue is called the peritoneum. It can be a serious, deadly disease.
Peritonitis is caused by an infection. Bacteria can enter the lining of your belly from a hole in your GI (gastrointestinal) tract. This can happen if you have a hole in your colon or a burst appendix.
Other causes of peritonitis include:
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
Peritonitis symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
It’s important to find out right away if you have peritonitis. It can lead to severe health problems very quickly.
Your healthcare provider will look at your past health. He or she will give you a physical exam.Peritonitis is often diagnosed by analyzing a sample of the infected fluid taken from the belly (abdomen).
Other tests for peritonitis may include:
It’s important to seek medical care right away. Peritonitis can lead to serious health problems very quickly.
You will be admitted to a hospital. You will be given IV (intravenous) infection-fighting medicines (antibiotics). These will treat the infection.
If you have organ failure, you may also be given other treatments.
Emergency surgery is often needed to find and remove what is causing the infection. This is done when the infection may be caused by a surgically treatable cause such as:
Peritonitis can cause severe health problems. It can be deadly if not treated right away.
Peritonitis can make fluid fill up in your belly or abdomen. This can cause severe fluid loss or dehydration.
If peritonitis isn’t treated the infection can quickly spread through your body. This can create an extreme response from your infection-fighting system (immune system) called sepsis.
Sepsis is a fast-moving, serious condition. It happens when chemicals sent into your bloodstream to fight the infection cause swelling (inflammation) over a large part of your body. This can slow blood flow and hurt your organs.
Severe sepsis can cause your body to go into shock. It can lead to organ failure and death.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.