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- Increased abdominal circumference
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain and/or distention
- Pain in the side abdomen
- Rapid weight gain
- Difficulty breathing while lying flat
- Decreased appetite
- Ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to examine the abdominal cavity
- CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the abdominal cavity
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the abdominal cavity
- Laparoscopy —a thin, lighted tube inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to look at the structures inside the abdominal cavity
- Blood tests—to determine liver and kidney function as well as evidence of other problems that may lead to ascites
- Liver biopsy —removal of a sample of liver tissue for testing
- Angiography —x-rays taken after a dye is injected into the arteries to better view the area being examined
- Abdominal paracentesis —removal and testing of fluid from the abdominal cavity
- Sodium restriction—Limiting salt intake to 2,000 mg per day or less is often recommended to reduce or delay fluid build-up. More extreme restrictions in salt intake do not further improve outcomes.
- Alcohol restriction—Ascites commonly occurs in people who have liver disease. Consuming alcohol can further impair liver function. Stopping alcohol use may limit the progression of ascites.
Diuretics (Water Pills)
- Spironolactone (Aldactone)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Drink alcohol in moderation. This means no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.
- Practice safe sex to avoid hepatitis.
- Do not share intravenous (IV) needles.
- Get vaccinated for hepatitis B .
- If you are taking medications that can damage your liver, follow your doctor's guidelines on getting your blood tested.
- Not drinking alcohol
- Limiting your use of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs (unless recommended otherwise by your doctor)
- Restricting your sodium intake
- Taking diuretics as recommended by your doctor
American Liver Foundation http://www.liverfoundation.org/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov/
Canadian Liver Foundation http://www.liver.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Ascites. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Accessed January 28, 2009.
Ascites. Merck website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec10/ch135/ch135e.html . Accessed January 28, 2009.
Cesario K, Carey WD. Ascites. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/diseasemanagement/gastro/ascites/ascites.htm . Accessed January 28, 2009.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 00/31/2013 -