Peritoneum is the thin layer of tissue which covers the inside of the abdomen and also other abdominal organs. Peritonitis refers to a condition which is characterised by inflammation of the peritoneum. Such a condition may be caused due to bacterial or fungal infection. In addition to this, abdominal injury, other underlying medical condition or a treatment device (for example, a dialysis catheter or feeding tube) may also result in such a condition.
If left untreated, peritonitis can quickly spread into the blood stream (leading to a condition called sepsis) and to other organs and may result in failure of multiple organs, ultimately leading to death. So, it is important to consult a doctor and go for immediate diagnosis and treatment, if a person suffers from the symptoms of such a condition.
The symptoms of peritonitis include:
Peritonitis can be life threatening and hence requires immediate treatment in order to avoid further complications which may prove fatal. Diagnosis of this condition includes testing of blood and urine samples, imaging studies such as computerized tomography (CT) scans and exploratory surgery. The doctor may also perform paracentesis in order to identify the cause of peritonitis. Paracentesis is a process in which abdominal fluid is extracted from the affected area using a thin needle and checked for infections.
A person diagnosed as having peritonitis, needs to be immediately admitted to the hospital for medical treatment. Additional supportive treatments may also be deemed necessary if the patient suffers from organ failure due to sepsis which develops as a later complication of this problem.
Once a patient is diagnosed as having peritonitis, he/she needs to be immediately admitted to the hospital for the treatment process to begin. In general, intravenous antibiotics or antifungal medications are administered, as soon as possible, in order to treat the patients having this infection. In addition to this, other supportive treatments may also be given to patients, if they suffer from organ failure, which arises due to a condition known as sepsis (a later complication of this problem). Treatments for such cases involve administration of intravenous fluids, drugs to control the blood pressure and other nutritional support.
For patients suffering from peritoneal dialysis-associated peritonitis, the treatment involves direct injection of the medications into the peritoneal tissue. Researches have proved this method of treatment to be more effective than other intravenous medications. Such patients need to use other methods of dialysis (for example, haemodialysis) until the condition of peritonitis is totally cured.
Peritonitis, caused due to other underlying conditions such as appendicitis, perforated stomach ulcer or diverticulitis, may require surgery under emergency condition for its treatment. In such cases, the infected tissue such as a burst appendix or abscess needs to be surgically removed. Parts of peritoneal tissue that have suffered severe damage due to infection are also removed during such surgical procedures.
Throughout the stay of a patient in the hospital, he/she needs to be continuously monitored for symptoms of sepsis and/or shock and this may call for the need of the patient to be immediately transferred to an intensive care unit for effective treatment.
Individuals having symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal distention, fevers, chills, presence of fluid in the abdomen, problem in bowel movement, difficulty in urinating or passing of less urine than usual and is diagnosed as suffering from peritonitis, is considered as eligible for this treatment.
People who are normal and are not suffering from peritonitis and its related symptoms are considered as not eligible for this treatment.
The side effects for the treatment of peritonitis are not serious enough and they include the common side effects for antibiotic and antifungal medications. However, it is highly recommended that a patient should seek immediate treatment, if they are diagnosed as having this infection, in order to avoid later complications. Such complication may involve abscess development, acute renal failure, septic shock leading to damage of brain and nervous system, bowel obstruction, formation of fibrous intra-peritoneal scar tissue. These complications may prove fatal and even cause death, if they are left untreated for a long time.
The post treatment guidelines include taking the prescribed medicines regularly on time, as instructed by the physician. The patient must consult his/her doctor, in case the medicines do not prove to be effective or if the patient is having side effects from such medications. The patient must also take a note if he/she is suffering from high fever, severe abdominal pain or abdominal tenderness and must consult his/her doctor regarding this issue.
Recovery from the condition of peritonitis depends mainly upon the severity of the condition that the patient is suffering from. Patients, who have been diagnosed and treated early, are seen to recover within a few weeks’ time. However, patients who have been diagnosed as having peritonitis at a later stage or is having further complications may require a longer time for their recovery. Proper medication and care is highly recommended during the course of treatment for early and effective recovery.
The price of the treatment of peritonitis varies in different parts of India. The cost also depends upon the severity of the condition that the patient is suffering from. On average, the cost of treatment of peritonitis ranges from Rs. 1,570 to Rs. 1,04,675. This treatment is easily available in all the leading hospitals in India.
Peritonitis can be cured if treated properly within time. It is recommended that the treatment for this condition must begin immediately after being diagnosed, for effective results. The condition of peritonitis is completely recoverable, depending upon the severity of the condition and how soon the treatment is given to such patients. Patients, who have developed severe complications due to peritonitis, may require more time to recover. However, delay in treatment or improper treatment may prove fatal and even cause death.