ASCITES - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis

ASCITES

Ascites is when too much fluid builds up in your abdomen (belly). Cirrhosis, a liver ailment, is frequently the cause. Talk to your doctor when you have cirrhosis and discover that you’re gaining weight quickly. Your doctor will discuss therapies with you, which may include a low-salt diet. Cirrhosis (liver scarring) patients are more likely to develop this disorder.

The stomach, colon, liver, and kidneys are all covered by a covering of tissue known as the peritoneum. There are two layers to the peritoneum. When fluid accumulates up between the two layers, ascites develop.

In normally healthy adults, fluid accumulation is uncommon. It is caused by several disorders, the most common of which is cirrhosis. Cirrhosis’ most prevalent consequence is ascites. Ascites develops in around half of persons with decompensated cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is responsible for around 80% of ascites cases.

SYMPTOMS

Ascites are characterized by a prominent abdomen and rapid weight gain.

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty sitting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in your ankles
  • Bloating, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, indigestion, and constipation 

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will do a physical examination and ask you questions regarding your symptoms and health history. Following the initial assessment, your doctor may suggest additional testing to confirm a diagnosis:

Paracentesis. Before the procedure, you’ll be given a local anesthetic. A needle is inserted into your abdomen by your provider to drain fluid. Cancer, infection, portal hypertension, and other diseases are all looked for in the fluid.

CT Scan or Ultrasound. These imaging scans provide a more detailed view of your abdominal area.

TREATMENT

To treat ascites, you must limit your sodium intake. The salt intake for ascites should be between 2,000 and 4,000 mg per day. A nutritionist can assist you in developing a healthy eating plan. You may have to take diuretics as well (water pills). These water pills aid in removing fluid and sodium from the body.

Chemotherapy or hormone therapy can help reduce a tumor if you have cancer. The therapies can help to reduce the amount of fluid in the body.

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