What are the symptoms of ascites?

The main symptom of ascites is a swollen or distended abdomen due to fluid buildup. Other symptoms may include:

Symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition

Ascites is a very serious condition that often indicates cirrhosis of the liver, advanced liver disease, congestive heart failure, cancer, or other life-threatening conditions and complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding, such as vomiting blood, bloody stools or major rectal bleeding

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Confusion, disorientation, or change in consciousness, such as lethargy, decreased alertness, unresponsiveness or passing out

  • Loose, wet cough with frothy phlegm and possibly blood-tinged phlegm

  • Personality changes and poor cognitive functioning due to the inability of the liver to filter toxins and a buildup of waste products in the blood and brain

  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or other unusual breathing noises

INTRODUCTION

What is ascites?

Ascites is a serious condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid under the lining (peritoneum) of the abdominal cavity that builds up around the abdominal organs. Ascites is characterized by a swollen abdomen and weight gain. This can be accompanied by abdominal pain or discomfort, difficulty breathing, and ankle swelling.

Cirrhosis of the liver is the most common c... Read more about ascitesintroduction

CAUSES

What causes ascites?

Cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause of ascites. Cirrhosis of the liver is caused by an underlying disease or condition that results in inflammation and the formation of permanent scarring (fibrosis) of liver tissue and hardening of the liver. Permanent liver scarring obstructs and decreases blood flow through the blood vessels to and from the liver. This leads to the development of ... Read more about ascitescauses

TREATMENTS

How is ascites treated?

Treatment for ascites often includes a multifaceted and individualized approach that involves directly treating the excess fluid as well as treating the underlying disease that caused the ascites, such as cirrhosis of the liver, congenital heart disease, or kidney failure. Merely draining the ascites fluid from the ... Read more about ascitestreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System


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