Peritonitis caused by appendicitis is a dangerous condition that puts the life of the person who suffers from it at risk. Therefore, knowing its symptoms, signals and signs is of vital importance. We discover them for you.

Appendicitis is almost certainly one of the most common causes of emergency surgery performed in hospitals almost everywhere in the world. Although it does not usually reverse severity, it is one of the conditions that most worries many people, especially due to the repercussions that it could have on life if it is not diagnosed -and treated- in time.

The reason that leads to the concern of both doctors and especially patients comes from the fact that  it does not always present clear symptoms or signs, so that it sometimes tends to be confused with other alterations (such as digestive or even gynecological disorders) that delay diagnosis, which in fact must be done as quickly as possible.

Moreover, the problem that causes appendicitis from a medical point of view is not the inflammation of the appendix itself, but rather that the condition evolves to such an extent that it causes peritonitis, which does pose a great risk to the life of the patient. Person who suffers.

That is, when the appendix ends up becoming necrotic and tends to rot inside the abdomen, and may even affect the rest of the organs of the digestive system.

As its name suggests, appendicitis basically consists of inflammation of the appendix.  The appendix is found at the beginning of the large intestine, specifically in the lower right area of ​​the abdomen. It has a characteristic shape reminiscent of the appearance of a worm, and its color is usually pink when it is not inflamed.

Inside it we find many lymphoid follicles belonging to the immune system, and although many specialists agree that it does not have a function in itself in our body, the truth is that researchers discovered a few years ago that it does have a basic function: to house bacteria that make up the intestinal flora, making it possible for certain microbes to grow and thus control and stimulate the action of our flora.

What is peritonitis?

The peritoneum consists of a membrane made up of two layers (one external and one internal) that surrounds most of the organs that we find located in our abdomen. It is very thin and solid, and covers the external surface of all the organs located in the abdominal cavity: pancreas, liver, stomach, spleen, colon, small intestine…

Its main function is to protect the organs of the abdomen against any type of infection, while on the other it allows them to slide through the abdominal cavity.

Therefore, peritonitis consists of inflammation of the peritoneum. It can be caused not only by inflammation of the appendix and its subsequent infection (although it is actually one of the most common and common causes), but also by trauma, other infections, or the presence of chemical irritants (such as bile or juices). Pancreatic and intestinal).

What are the symptoms and signs of peritonitis?

Abdominal pain:

It is the most usual, common and evident. Generally it is a type of intense pain, which begins abruptly. The location where this pain appears depends directly on the cause that caused the inflammation, so that when the infection progresses, the pain usually affects the entire abdomen, becoming generalized.

However, in the case of peritonitis caused by appendicitis, it is common for there to be intense general discomfort, accompanied by  intense pain that is minimally relieved when the person remains lying down, avoiding certain movements.

In fact, it is common for the pain to tend to move to the lower right part of the abdomen and concentrate in a point located on the appendix, worsening when walking, making rapid movements or coughing.

The appearance of rigidity of the abdominal wall is also common. In other words, the abdomen is noticeable and feels especially hard, and when a decompression maneuver is performed, intense pain appears.


Given that the process caused by appendicitis tends to be more abrupt and rapid (in 24-36 hours the condition can evolve into peritonitis), it is common for elevated temperatures to exceed 38ºC.

In any case, when appendicitis does not progress to peritonitis, it is usual that a high fever does not appear in the first hours of evolution, being between 37.5ºC and 38ºC.

Dizziness and vomiting:

Malaise, dizziness, and vomiting tend to follow the onset of abdominal pain. Loss of appetite is added to these symptoms, thus becoming what is medically known as the “classic triad of appendicitis symptoms”: abdominal pain, vomiting and loss of appetite.


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