What is Peritonitis?

   Peritonitis is a very serious disease. It is an inflammation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the largest serous membrane of the body, and lines the abdominal cavity. It has two layers, an inner surface layer that is smooth and moist, and a rough outer layer which is attached to the inner layer. If this membrane becomes infected, peritonitis results.
   Peritonitis may be caused by bruises or wounds, or by damage to the membrane by such diseases as TYPHOID FEVER, a chronic ULCER in the stomach, dysentery, appendicitis, cysts, tubercular or cancerous growths. It is either acute or chronic.
   Acute peritonitis is not easily diagnosed because the patient may have INFECTION for a long period before it becomes acute and definite symptoms are produced. At first, pain is generally felt in one small local area. Later, the pain spreads and becomes worse, especially when the body is moved. Shivering and an enlarged, sore and tender abdomen are symptoms. Finally, profuse perspiration and chills indicate serious trouble.
   Chronic peritonitis is sometimes the result of a case of acute peritonitis, and may take a very long time to cure. It is more often caused by deposits of tubercular or cancerous materials, or by ulcerations of the stomach. Symptoms are dull pain that increases with movement, poor appetite, a wasted appearance, and dry skin