Peritonitis pertains to the inflammation of the peritoneum. Peritoneum is the smooth serous membrane that lines the cavity of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs. Peritonitis is marked by exudation in the peritoneum of serum, fibrin, cells, and pus. It is often accompanied by an abdominal pain and tenderness, as well as constipation, vomiting, and moderate fever. Peritonitis may be localized or generalized.
Generalized peritonitis is a type of peritonitis that is affecting the entire abdomen, and is associated with widespread inflammation and diffuse abdominal tenderness. It often results from an infection. Bacteria that gain access to the peritoneum results in its inflammation. Bacteria may come from gangrene or perforation of a viscus, e.g. appendicitis, perforated ulcer, etc. As for the non-infective causes, generalized peritonitis may be due to a leakage of certain sterile body fluids into the peritoneum. An example of a non-infective cause is the leakage of gastric juice from peptic ulcer. Another non-infective cause is the leakage of bile post-cholecystectomy. Generalized peritonitis, especially if acute, is often the more dangerous or life-threatening type of peritonitis.