What Is Peritoneum? – Function, Structure, Anatomy, Condition and Disorder

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What is Peritoneum?

The Peritoneum is a membrane, a flat piece of tissue that lines the pelvic cavity and covers the internal organs in the abdomen. It protects, cushions and holds your organs in position while also secreting a lubricant to lessen the friction when they brush against one another.  

In other words, the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers the majority of the abdominal organs is called the Peritoneum. The outside of this tissue is lubricated by peritoneal fluid.

The Peritoneum supports the abdominal organs and functions as a passageway for lymphatics, blood arteries and nerves. The region between the abdomen and pelvis is called your peritoneal cavity.

Function of Peritoneum

Peritoneum serves a number of purposes, some of which are still being discovered by scientists. However, the following are some of the functions of the Peritoneum.


Fat is found in the Peritoneum’s layers, which keeps your organs warm and safe.


Ligaments in your Peritoneum bind your intestines to your back abdominal wall and connect your organs to one another.

Blood, lymph and nerve supply

Nerves and blood arteries interconnect Peritoneum’s layers.


In your abdominal cavity, your Peritoneum acts as a defence against harm and germs. It sends in white blood cells to target invading particles.

Location of the Peritoneum

The abdominopelvic cavity separates your diaphragm and pelvic floor. Your pelvic cavity and abdominal cavity are part of it. The walls of this space are lined with your parietal Peritoneum. Your stomach, liver, spleen and a portion of your small and large intestines are just a few of the abdominal organs that your visceral Peritoneum covers.  

Structure of Peritoneum

The Peritoneum is made up of a thick membrane. This thick membrane is made up of tissues known as the mesothelium. Epithelial cells comprise the top layer, and connective tissue comprises the bottom layer. The epithelial cells transmit blood, lymph and nerve supply as well as secrete and absorb fluid.


The front of your abdomen is formed with a thick, double covering known as the omentum that resembles an apron. The mesentery, a double layer in the rear, connects your intestines to your back abdominal wall.

Nerve supply

Abdominal organs’ nerve supply is connected by the visceral Peritoneum. It feels stretched when your digestive organs are swollen from food or gas. Additionally, it detects chemical irritants like blood or bile leaks. The abdominal wall it covers and your parietal Peritoneum have the same bodily nerve supply. It detects temperature, discomfort and localised pressure.

Conditions affecting the Peritoneum


Peritonitis is the medical term for peritoneal inflammation. An infection frequently brings on peritonitis in the peritoneal cavity, but it can also be an early sign of other gastrointestinal disorders. Because the Peritoneum is a spongy tissue, peritonitis is handled as an emergency.


A buildup of extra fluid in your peritoneal cavity is known as ascites. It results in unexplained abdominal swelling. It is typically a sign of cirrhosis, a late-stage liver disease that causes high blood pressure. It can occasionally be a sign of malignancy or congestive heart failure.


When tissue from one of your body cavities pushes through the muscular wall into another, it results in a hernia. Most hernias happen through one of your abdominal walls, and the Peritoneum is the tissue that is usually affected.

Abdominal adhesions

The Peritoneum may develop severe scar tissue bands post abdominal surgery. Although abdominal adhesions don’t often result in difficulties, if they grow in the spaces between your organs, they may restrict mobility both within and outside of them.


The Peritoneum can quickly get infected with cancer in the abdominal and pelvic organs. This is caused due to Peritoneal carcinomatosis. Sometimes cancer might start there as well. Examples include primary peritoneal cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma.

How to recognise any abnormalities in Peritoneum?

The most typical signs of any illness affecting your Peritoneum are abdominal pain and oedema. The visceral Peritoneum, the inside layer of your tummy, maybe the source of pain.  

Medical treatment to check the health of the Peritoneum

Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneum is vital for removing waste. Doctors will occasionally utilise it in place of dialysis to treat patients with kidney failure. Kidney’s function is done via dialysis, which clears your blood of waste and extra fluid. You or your healthcare professional will pour a liquid solution into your peritoneal cavity during the procedure. Your Peritoneum filters the juice, and it is afterwards drained out by a healthcare professional.

Cytoreductive/debulking surgery

Chemotherapy and surgery are typically used to treat abdominopelvic cavity cancer. Cytoreductive or debulking surgery aims to eliminate as many cancer cells as possible. That may occasionally entail removing all or a portion of your Peritoneum (peritonectomy). Some cancers tend to spread there initially, and an omentectomy can sometimes eliminate it.

Medical tests to diagnose Peritoneum

Peritoneal fluid analysis

Medical professionals examine a sample of your peritoneal fluid to determine if you have ascites or peritonitis. By putting a hollow needle into your peritoneal cavity and pulling a small amount, they take a sample and send it to the lab. Examining the contents can identify fluid from leaking blood vessels or fluid from inflammation. Infection, cancer or chemical leaks from one of your organs may also be detected.

Peritoneal biopsy

Your healthcare professional might occasionally need to examine a sample of your peritoneal tissue. They can inject a special needle into your abdomen to take the sample. They can also take a sample during a laparoscopy, which is a minimally invasive examination of your abdominal cavity with a tiny camera.


The Peritoneum lies between the skin and the majority of your internal organs. It provides structure, insulation, protection and a flow of blood and nerves. Additionally, it has strong immune and therapeutic properties. Your peritoneal inflammation may serve as the earliest warning sign of an underlying illness affecting one of your organs.


Can one survive upon the removal of the Peritoneum?  

Yes, one can survive after the removal of the Peritoneum.

What does Peritoneum mean in anatomy?  

The serous membrane that lines the abdominal cavity is known as the Peritoneum. It derives embryologically from the mesoderm and comprises mesothelial cells supported by a thin layer of fibrous tissue.

What are the two types of Peritoneum?  

The superficial parietal layer and the deep visceral layer are the two layers that make up the Peritoneum.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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