Peritonitis refers to the inflammation of the abdominal lining (known as the peritoneum), which covers the inner surface of abdominal wall and organs such as the stomach, liver and intestines.
Peritonitis is classified based on the cause and extent of this inflammation. The two types include:1
- Primary (spontaneous) peritonitis – occurring primarily due to a bacterial infection, without other causes within the abdomen
- Secondary peritonitis – develops when an organ within the abdomen becomes infected, which spreads throughout the peritoneum
Causes of secondary peritonitis include diseases within the digestive system and pelvis or trauma to the abdominal organs (e.g. perforated viscus, inflammatory bowel disease, appendicitis, pancreatitis or gynaecologic infection) and surgery.1