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  Peritonitis

Inflammation of the peritoneum is called peritonitis. It is usually caused by an infection scattering from an infected organ in the abdominal cavity. Common sources are perforations of the stomach, intestine, gallbladder, or appendix. This disease can also spread to the peritoneum from other parts of the body through the blood. The peritoneum is remarkably resistant to infection. Unless infectivity continues, peritonitis does not progress, and it tends to cure with treatment.

Peritonitis Inflammation of the peritoneum
Peritonitis


Peritonitis can also develop after surgery for some reasons. Damage to the gallbladder, ureter, bladder, or intestine through an operation can drop bacteria into the abdominal cavity. Leakage may also take place r during operations in which intestinal segments are joined.

There are two types of peritonitis: Primary peritonitis which caused by spread of an infection from the blood and lymph nodes to the peritoneum. This usually occurs with a person who has liver disease and this type is unusual, less than 1% of all cases of peritonitis are primary. Secondary peritonitis is the more common type of peritonitis which caused by the entry of bacteria or enzymes into the peritoneum from the gastrointestinal or biliary tract. This is also caused by the leakage of bacteria, enzymes, or bile into the peritoneum from a hole or tears in the gastrointestinal or biliary tracts.

The signs and symptoms of peritonitis include: Swelling and softness in the abdomen, fever and chills, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, increased breathing and heart rates, shallow breaths, low blood pressure, limited urine output and failure to pass gas or feces.

In order to diagnose peritonitis, the physician will first perform a physical examination to find out whether surgery is needed to correct the underlying problem. During the assessment, the physician will feel and press the abdomen to spot any swelling and tenderness in the area as well as sign that fluid has collected in the area. The physician may also listen to the bowel sounds and test for difficulty of breathing, low blood pressure and indications of dehydration. Blood tests, sample fluids from the abdomen, CT scan, chest x-rays and peritoneal lavage are the procedures which can be perform to verify the diagnosis.

Peritonitis is a potentially life-threatening state that requires urgent medical attention. Hospitalization is common. Surgery is often needed to eliminate the source of infection, such as a swollen appendix, or to repair a tear in the walls of the gastrointestinal or biliary tract. Antibiotics are given to control infection and intravenous therapy is used to resturn hydration. Once these have been taken, some dietary supplements, including glutamine and arginine, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, E, and C, zinc, and various Chinese herbs may be used in addition to antibiotics to help in the healing process, particularly during recovery. Complications from peritonitis can include the following: Sepsis, abnormal clotting of the blood, formation of fibrous tissue in the peritoneum, adult respiratory distress syndrome and some form of chronic peritonitis do not respond to treatment.

The prognosis for peritonitis depends mainly on the nature of the condition. The outlook for those with secondary peritonitis tends to be poor mainly among the elderly, individuals with compromised immune systems, and those who have had symptoms for longer than 48 hours before treatment. While the long-term outlook for individuals with primary peritonitis associated with liver disease also tends to be poor, the prognosis for primary peritonitis among children is generally good after treatment with antibiotics.

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