Peritonitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/19/2021

Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, or the lining tissues of the abdomen.

Signs and symptoms of peritonitis are mainly abdominal pain and tenderness. Other associated signs and symptoms can include

Other signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany peritonitis include

Causes of peritonitis

Bacterial infections are a common cause, and these infections often develop from a ruptured appendix or rupture of or damage to another organ. Ascites, or fluid buildup in the peritoneal cavity due to cirrhosis of the liver or other conditions, is another cause of bacterial peritonitis. Pelvic inflammatory disease is another potential cause of peritonitis. Complications of peritonitis can include organ failure, shock, sepsis, and even death.

Other peritonitis symptoms and signs


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.