We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Peritoneal Tuberculosis?

By John Markley
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Peritoneal tuberculosis is a relatively uncommon disease caused by a tuberculosis infection in the lining of the abdomen. It is a type of abdominal tuberculosis that infects the peritoneum, a membrane lining the inside of the abdominal cavity that surrounds the abdominal organs. Tuberculosis is primarily a respiratory illness, but it can infect any area of the body. Like all tuberculosis, peritoneal tuberculosis it is caused primarily by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and sometimes by other species of the Mycobacterium genus.

Tuberculous enters the peritoneum by spreading from an infection established elsewhere in the body to the abdominal cavity. The infection most frequently originates in the lungs, where it is called pulmonary tuberculosis, before spreading into the abdominal cavity when the sufferer swallows infected sputum. Tuberculosis infections in nearby organs can also spread to the peritoneum. It can also be the result of bacteria entering the peritoneum through the blood stream or lymph nodes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis can lie latent in the body for long periods of time, so symptoms of peritoneal tuberculosis may not occur until years after the bacteria enters the peritoneum. Most people with Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria at any given time are only carriers and do not suffer from the disease, but can start to develop symptoms if their immune response is weakened.

As with other tuberculosis infections, peritoneal tuberculosis causes symptoms such as fever, weakness, and night sweats. Infection of the peritoneum also causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and feelings of pressure or heaviness in the abdomen. Hematochezia, or blood in stool, is also common. A minority of cases of this type of tuberculosis occur simultaneously with pulmonary tuberculosis, which has symptoms such as chest pain, cough, and the production of bloody phlegm, but most cases do not.

The most common form of peritoneal tuberculosis causes an accumulation of fluid, called ascites, in the cavity between the peritoneum's two layers, the parietal peritoneum and the visceral peritoneum. These are called wet type infections, in contrast with dry type infections, where this fluid buildup does not occur. Ascites can cause additional symptoms, such as swelling, distension, and shortness of breath. It also creates a risk of further complications, such as inflammation and renal problems.

Peritoneal tuberculosis is rare in the industrialized world, but more common in developing countries. It is treatable with antibiotics, but can be deadly without medical attention. People with immune systems weakened by poor health, the side effects of some drugs, and illnesses such as AIDS that damage the immune system are especially vulnerable to the danger of a latent infection becoming active.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Sep 11, 2014

Here's an interesting thing about the TB tests. A person who has been vaccinated against the disease might test positive because of the vaccination, and not have the actual disease. As I understand it, anybody can get the disease, but people who have healthy immune systems have a low risk of developing symptoms of tuberculosis.

By Sporkasia — On Sep 11, 2014

When I worked for a newspaper straight out of college, I covered the local homeless shelter, and one time I did a feature story on the various people staying at the shelter and some of the challenges they faced. Of course, they had no shortage of challenges.

One of the biggest health concerns at the shelter was tuberculosis. As you can imagine, when you are homeless you are not able to maintain your health like people who have regular schedules, jobs and homes. Malnutrition was a big problem for the homeless people, and this led to weak immune systems, which makes us more likely to get tuberculosis and any disease for that matter.

Also, many of the people I met and spoke with at the shelter were homeless because of drug addiction, and drug addicts are more likely to develop signs and symptoms of tuberculosis.

By Animandel — On Sep 10, 2014

@Laotionne - There is a vaccine for tuberculosis but it is not used throughout the world. The vaccine was developed in the 1920s, I think. There is some question about how effective the vaccine actually is, and since cases of tuberculosis are low in well developed countries the vaccine is not used a much as it was during the early and mid 20th century.

By Laotionne — On Sep 09, 2014

Isn't there a vaccination for tuberculosis? I remember reading about how this disease was a really big problem and killed a lot of people in the past, but in this day and time you don't hear so much about, which I'm thinking is a good thing.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.