Ascites (Excess Abdominal Fluid); Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of ascites

Patients with ascites due to liver disease have other manifestations of liver disease including:

  • Jaundice, especially in acute liver inflammation
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Feeling of easy fatiguability
  • Insomnia, increased sleeping hours or both

On the other hand, other causes of ascites can cause other manifestations of it including:

  • Kidney problems can cause swelling of the legs, metallic taste in the mouth, difficulty breathing, and easy bleeding.
  • Malnutrition is associated with hair loss, pallor, generalized weakness, and loss of muscle mass.
  • Heart failure is also associated with difficulty breathing, leg swelling and inability to do any effort.
  • Symptoms of cancer in case of ovarian cancer include loss of weight in a short period of time, generalized weakness and enlarged lymph nodes.

Other symptoms may be related to the ascites itself and they include:

  • Abdominal discomfort, which occurs when the abdomen is hugely distended with the fluid, causing pressure on the abdominal wall muscles.
  • Difficulty in breathing: Difficulty breathing can occur if ascites is huge and is an indication for immediate treatment.
  • Fever: Although fever is not a manifestation of ascites, the fluid can commonly become infected, causing fever.
  • Hernia: Persistent ascites causes weakness of abdominal wall muscles, predisposing the patient to umbilical hernia, which is the protrusion of a part of the intestines covered by skin outside the abdominal cavity.

Written by Martin Davis