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  2. THE PERITONEAL CAVITY AND PERITONEUM P'eritoneum is a fibroserous membrane lining the abdominopelvic cavity. The mesothelial cells liningthe inner surface of the peritoneum secrete, thin film of fluid into the peritoneal cavity. It provides slippery surtace for the free movements of the viscera. Theperitoneum consists_ofvisceral and parietl layers. The visceral peritoneum covers theexternal Surtace of many digestiveorgans.and iscontinuoswithn the parietal peritoneum, which lines the walls of the abdominal cavity. Between the visceral and parietal peritoneum is the peritoneal cavity, containing serous fluid. Some of the abdominal organs are fixed to the abdominal wall by peritoneum and others are suspended by peritoneal folds. Such peritoneal folds allow the free movements of those organs. Omenta are the peritoneal folds of the stomach. Mesentery is the peritoneal fold of the intestine. The general peritonealcavityis divided into greater and lesser sacs. In male pelvis, the peritoneal pouch between the urinary bladder and the rectum is called 'rectovesical pouch'. In females the peritoneum lining of the pelvic organs forms two pouches. 'Rectouterine pouch' (pouch of Douglas) between rectum and uterus and 'utero- vesical pouch' between uterus and urinary bladder. The visceral peritoneum is supplied by nerves and vessels supplying the viscera. The parietal peritoneum is supplied by nerve supplying the body wall (somatic nerve). Hence infections affecting parietal peritoneum are painful and are referred in the body wall.