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Peritonitis

Peritonitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the peritoneum, a silk-like membrane that lines your inner abdominal wall and covers the organs within your abdomen. Peritonitis can result from any rupture (perforation) in your abdomen, or as a complication of other medical conditions.

Peritonitis requires prompt medical attention to fight the infection and, if necessary, to treat any underlying medical conditions. Treatment of peritonitis usually involves antibiotics and, in some cases, surgery. Left untreated, peritonitis can lead to severe, potentially life-threatening infection throughout your body.

If you're receiving peritoneal dialysis, you can help prevent peritonitis by following good hygiene before, during and after dialysis.


Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms of peritonitis include:

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Bloating or a feeling of fullness (distention) in your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Low urine output
  • Thirst
  • Inability to pass stool or gas
  • Fatigue

If you're receiving peritoneal dialysis, peritonitis symptoms also include:

  • Cloudy dialysis fluid
  • White flecks, strands or clumps (fibrin) in the dialysis fluid

When to see a doctor

Peritonitis can be life-threatening if it's not treated promptly. Contact your doctor immediately if you have severe pain or tenderness of your abdomen, abdominal bloating, or a feeling of fullness associated with:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low urine output
  • Thirst
  • Inability to pass stool or gas

If you're receiving peritoneal dialysis, contact your health care provider immediately if your dialysis fluid is cloudy, if it contains white flecks, strands or clumps (fibrin), or if it has an unusual odor, especially if the area around your tube (catheter) is red or painful. These may be signs of peritonitis.


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