Acute Stomach Pain – Peritonitis

Peritonitis is the medical word that describes an infection of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is a thin membrane that holds the organs within your abdomen: your intestines, liver, kidneys, pancreas and stomach. If this membrane is ruptured, infection can set in. There are two primary types of peritoneal infection: fungal and bacterial. In either case, the result is chronic inflammation that can provoke any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Significant abdominal discomfort
  • A feeling of being “full” in your abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of nausea

Peritonitis can sometimes be caused by blunt force trauma – for example, something impacting the abdomen and causing a rupture of the peritoneum. It can occasionally be caused by something in the intestine that causes the intestine to bulge outwards and push through the peritoneum. Occasionally, peritonitis is the result of severe constipation caused by insufficient fiber and liquid in the diet, often coupled to weak abdominal muscles, or by overconsumption of inappropriate substances such as hair. Obese individuals are more at risk of peritonitis than athletic people who consume sufficient fiber and liquid.

Treatment for peritonitis generally involves a regime of antibiotics prescribed by a qualified physician. If left untreated, peritonitis can lead to blood poisoning and eventual septicemia. Advanced cases of peritonitis may require surgery to remove infected tissue and repair the lesion in the peritoneum.

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