What Is Tuberculous Peritonitis (Peritoneal TB)?

When tuberculosis (TB) spreads to your abdomen's protective lining, you have tuberculous peritonitis. Swelling and pain in the abdomen may result from this, but prompt antibiotic treatment may be helpful.

Peritoneal TB, also known as tuberculous peritonitis, is a dangerous infection of the peritoneum, the area inside your belly. The infection is brought on by tuberculosis. Peritoneal inflammation, frequently brought on by infection, is referred to by the name "peritonitis" itself.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a dangerous bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs. But tuberculosis (TB) can also impact other parts of your body, including your brain and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Moreover, it may result in tuberculous peritonitis.

Find out more about the causes, potential symptoms, and prognosis of this particular type of tuberculosis.

What are the symptoms of tuberculous peritonitis?

The bodily component affected by tuberculosis determines the symptoms of the illness. For instance, intense coughing and chest pain might be symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis infections.

Peritonitis and general tuberculosis symptoms may coexist in peritoneal tuberculosis symptoms.

Peritonitis symptoms can include:
  • abdominal swelling
  • stomach tenderness
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • rapid heart rate
  • inability to urinate, or going less often than regular
  • severe abdominal pain
Although these symptoms might not be noticeable at first, they usually get worse over time.

Other signs that are present in all forms of tuberculosis are:
  • fatigue
  • chills
  • night sweats
  • unintentional weight loss
  • weakness
  • fever

What causes tuberculous peritonitis?

The lining of your belly that covers and shields vital gastrointestinal organs is called the peritoneum. These consist of your stomach, kidneys, and liver. As a result, GI-related abdominal TB is known as tuberculous peritonitis.

Although tuberculosis (TB) mostly affects the lungs, it can also affect other organs. Sometimes tuberculosis infections start in the lungs and move to other organs.

All tuberculosis infections are caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Transmission happens when you breathe in air droplets containing the bacterium, much like in other bacterial infections.

Who is at risk of tuberculous peritonitis?

Tuberculous peritonitis can affect anyone who has an infection with tuberculosis (TB) or who is in close contact with someone who has this infection. Among the general TB risk factors are:
  • being under 5 years old
  • being an older adult
  • a history of incompletely treated tuberculosis
  • a history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • having underlying medical disorders that make it more challenging for the immune system to combat infections, such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV
  • consuming immune-suppressive drugs that impair immunity
  • residing in a region where tuberculosis infections are common
Preexisting GI system-related diseases may be more specific risk factors for TB-related GI forms. These include HIV, end-stage renal illness, and liver cirrhosis.

What are the types of tuberculous peritonitis?

Tuberculous peritonitis comes in three different forms:
  • Wet: Ascites, or an accumulation of free fluid in the abdomen, is caused by this most prevalent kind.
  • Fibrotic: Abdominal lumps and thickening of the omentum, a layer of fat in the peritoneum, are characteristics of this subtype.
  • Dry: This least common subtype is distinguished by uneven lymph nodes and intestinal scar tissue.
Additionally, you might have a mix of the sorts.

How do doctors diagnose tuberculous peritonitis?

Peritoneal TB is one of the hardest forms of extrapulmonary (TB not originating in the lungs) to identify, according to experts.

Abdominal imaging studies can help a clinician confirm peritoneal tuberculosis symptoms that are suspected. Ultrasound imaging and computed tomography (CT) scans are two examples of this. These imaging techniques can also rule out pancreatitis or ulcers as additional potential causes of peritonitis.

Imaging tests can identify peritoneal inflammation or injury. Along with any indications of masses, a doctor may also notice an accumulation of fluid in your belly that could be the source of extreme bloating or distension.

For laboratory analysis, doctors also frequently take a sample of ascitic fluid. Ascitic fluid analysis is used by medical practitioners to look for immune cells that may indicate an infection, TB bacteria, or high levels of enzymes such as lactate dehydrogenase.

A doctor may also prescribe blood, urine, and skin tests to confirm this illness and to gather vital information about your general health, all of which may have an impact on the recommended course of therapy.

What is the treatment for tuberculous peritonitis?

As with other active forms of tuberculosis, doctors treat peritoneal tuberculosis using antibiotics. Nonetheless, you might require hospitalised intravenous antibiotics.

Some patients may get liver damage from TB medicines. People with liver illness may experience severe side effects from this, necessitating a modification in the course of treatment.

If organ damage results from tuberculous peritonitis, surgery can be necessary. It can also be required to surgically remove the peritoneum if peritoneal TB causes significant damage to your organ.

What are the possible complications of tuberculous peritonitis?

Consequences of peritoneal tuberculosis could include:
  • bowel perforation
  • abscesses
  • bleeding
  • intestinal obstruction
  • fistulae
The peritoneum, which shields your GI tract's internal organs, can sustain injury from tuberculous peritonitis. If TB is not treated, it can also harm these organs. These comprise your intestines, kidneys, and liver, among others.

Death may result from severe tuberculous peritonitis that causes organ damage. Because of this, prompt diagnosis and care are crucial.

What is the outlook for people with tuberculous peritonitis?

Peritoneal TB patients are more likely to pass away. This could be a result of how difficult it is to identify the illness quickly. The mortality rate is 15–31%, according to earlier studies.

People with tuberculosis (TB) have a better prognosis when medical practitioners identify and treat the illness at an early stage. According to experts, almost 50% of those with untreated tuberculosis will eventually pass away.

In older persons, the risk of dying from peritonitis is increased.


Although less frequent than pulmonary tuberculosis, untreated peritoneal tuberculosis can be fatal.

If you feel any suspected symptoms of this ailment, such as significant stomach discomfort and swelling, you should think about visiting a doctor at once.

If you have any of the risk factors for tuberculous peritonitis, such as a history of tuberculosis, you should also think about seeing a doctor.


How do you get peritoneal TB?

Via reactivation of latent TB infection or by ingestion of tuberculous mycobacteria

Is TB peritonitis curable?

May be fatal but is medically cured if diagnosed in a timely fashion.

How long is TB peritonitis treatment?


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