Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
Ascites is the buildup of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity.
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Ascites can be caused by:
The risk of this problem is higher in people who have any of the health problems that cause ascites.
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to suspect ascites.
The tests may be done to find the cause:
Images of the abdomen may be taken. This can be done with:
The underlying cause will need to be treated. The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. Options are:
Dietary changes may need to be made, such as:
Diuretic medicines cause the kidneys to pass more sodium and water in urine. They may be used with a low sodium diet.
Excess fluid may need to be removed. This can be done with paracentesis. A hollow needle will be inserted in the abdomen to remove the fluid.
People who are not helped by these methods may need:
The risk of this health problem may be lowered by treating or preventing the health problems that cause it.
American Liver Foundation
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Ascites. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/ascites. Accessed August 17, 2021.
Ascites: A common problem in people with cirrhosis. American College of Gastroenterology website. Available at: http://patients.gi.org/topics/ascites. August 17, 2021.
Cirrhosis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/cirrhosis/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed August 17, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD Last Updated: 8/17/2021