Ascites: Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Ascites can make regular activities like eating, drinking, moving around, and even breathing very uncomfortable. But what is really the most frightening thing about this disease is that it can cause infection, which can be life-threatening.

What is Ascites?

Ascites is a condition of the body in which fluid is accumulated in the cavity of the abdomen or peritoneal cavity. The stomach gets swollen, resulting in a heavy and uneasy feeling. The legs swell up, and even breathing is not normal, which causes rapid heart palpitations. It is also known as peritoneal fluid excess, peritoneal cavity fluid, abdominal dropsy, and hydroperitoneum.

An X-ray film of the abdomen with ascites

Causes

According to MedlinePlus, some of the major causes of this condition are:

  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic vein obstruction or clots in the veins of the liver
  • Kidney and heart failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Tumors or cancers in the abdominal region

Symptoms

The main symptoms of ascites are:

  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
  • Distension of the abdomen
  • Everted umbilicus
  • Shifting dullness
  • Portal hypertension
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Shortness of breath
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen ankles
  • Rapid weight gain
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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