Peritonitis

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1. Overview


Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, a thin membrane that covers the abdominal wall and internal organs. Inflammation can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection of this membrane.

There are two major types of peritonitis: primary and secondary. Primary peritonitis is triggered by an infection spread from the lymph nodes in the blood and peritoneum. This type of peritonitis is rare, less than 1% of all cases.

The most commonly seen is secondary peritonitis, which occurs when the infection from peritoneum enters the gastrointestinal tract or bile. Both cases of peritonitis are very serious and can be life threatening if the patient is not treated quickly.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Signs and symptoms
3. Causes
4. Risk factors
5. Diagnosis
6. Treatment
7. Medications
8. Nutrition and dietary supplements
9. SPA
10. Homeopathy


2. Signs and symptoms

Specific signs and symptoms of peritonitis are:
- Swelling and tenderness of the abdomen, accompanied by pain of variable intensity;
- Fever and chills;
- Loss of appetite;
- Thirst;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Reduce the amount of urine;
- Inability to express flatulence or to eliminate the stool.


3. Causes

Primary peritonitis is usually caused by a dysfunction of the liver. Fluid accumulated in the abdomen leads to the creation of a favorable environment for bacterial growth.

Secondary peritonitis is caused by other conditions that allow bacteria, enzymes and bile from the peritoneum to reach the gastrointestinal tract or biliary through a crack. These cracks can be caused by pancreatitis, a ruptured appendix, stomach ulcer, Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis.

Peritonitis can be one of the consequences of peritoneal dialysis, which involves using blood vessels from the abdomen to filter toxic products of metabolism and blood when the kidneys cannot perform this function.


4. Risk factors

The following factors may increase the risk of primary peritonitis:
- Liver disease;
- Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen;
- Weakened immune system;
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.

Possibility of developing secondary peritonitis is increased when the following risk factors are present:
- Appendicitis;
- Stomach ulcers;
- Rupture or twisting of the intestine;
- Pancreatitis;
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis;
- Damages caused by surgery;
- Peritoneal dialysis;
- Trauma.


5. Diagnosis

Peritonitis may endanger a person’s life, so the doctor will do a physical exam to determine if the patient requires surgery to treat the underlying problem.

The doctor will palpate the abdomen to detect any swelling or tenderness, and specific signs of fluid accumulated in this part of the body. The doctor may listen the lungs to see if there is difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and signs of dehydration. Can be performed the following procedures:
- Blood tests – to check for bacteria in the blood;
- Evidence of fluid in the abdomen – in order to identify the bacteria that cause infection;
- CT – to identify fluid from the abdomen or if there is an infected organ;
- Radiography (X-rays) – detects the presence of air in the stomach, a phenomenon that indicates the fact that an organ is damaged or punctured.


6. Treatment

When a person has symptoms of peritonitis should receive immediate emergency medical assistance. Will probably be needed immediate hospitalization and even surgery to be removed the source of infection, such as an inflamed appendix or to treat an existing cracks in the walls of the gastrointestinal tract or bile. This will remove the infected tissue and the affected organs will be treated.


7. Medications

The doctor will prescribe antibiotics that are designed to kill bacteria and prevent the spread of infection. The prescribed antibiotics depend on the type of peritonitis and disease-causing organisms.


8. Nutrition and dietary supplements

Peritonitis is a medical emergency and must be treated by a doctor. Do not try to treat peritonitis with herbal supplements or other type of supplements. However, a comprehensive plan for recovery from peritonitis may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies.

Medical team who will deal with the patient will decide the best combination of these therapies, including an overall treatment plan. Also healthy nutrition habits (foods rich in antioxidants) and rich in calcium and B vitamins) can help healing of a person who has suffered from a serious illness.

Avoid refined foods such as white bread, pasta and sugar. The diet will include a small amount of red meat and would rather prefer lean meats, white meats, cold water fish, tofu or beans. It will use healthier oils for cooking food (olive oil or vegetable oil). The patient must exclude coffee, tobacco and alcohol from his life and will drink at least 6 glasses of water per day.

Patient may ask the doctor to recommend multivitamins that contain antioxidant vitamins (A, C, E), B vitamins and minerals (magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium).

For gastrointestinal tract health and immunity boosting are recommended the probiotic supplements (these are especially useful for restoring balance of intestinal flora using antibiotics when sick).


9. SPA

Treatment with herbs is a safe way to strengthen and tone the body’s systems. Still, you should not initiate any such treatment without medical advice.

It can be used dried plants or as extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerin or tinctures. Drink 2-4 cups of tea per day. Dyes can be included either alone or in combination with other treatments.


10. Homeopathy

Homeopathy can be used like natural treatment as adjuvant therapy because peritonitis is a medical emergency and require medical intervention. There are few studies that have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies.

However, a professional homeopath may recommend several types of remedies, considering the constitutional, emotionally and intellectually type of the patient. A specialist in homeopathy will evaluate all these factors and he will determine the best solution to treat a person.

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