Munson Health
 
Ascites

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by McCoy K
 

Causes

Ascites can be caused by:
 

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Dietary Changes

  • 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.
  • Fluid restriction—if sodium level is too low.
  • 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

Diuretic medications are drugs that cause the kidneys to excrete more sodium and water in the urine. These medications are often recommended as the treatment of choice for ascites, along with sodium restriction.

Paracentesis

Ascites can be treated by inserting a hollow needle into the abdomen and removing excess fluid through the needle.

Surgery

If the other treatments are not effective and the ascites keep coming back, surgery can be done to divert blood away from the liver. If this is not successful, a liver transplant may be necessary.
If you are diagnosed with ascites, follow your doctor's instructions .
 

RESOURCES

American Liver Foundation
http://www.liverfoundation.org

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
http://www.niddk.nih.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Liver Foundation
http://www.liver.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


Alcohol-induced liver disease. Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/alcohol . Updated October 4, 2011. Accessed June 25, 2013.


Ascites. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 13, 2014. Accessed June 16, 2014.


Cirrhosis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/cirrhosis/index.aspx . Updated February 21, 2013. Accessed June 25, 2013.


Runyon BA. Care of patients with ascites. N Engl J Med . 1994;330(5):337-342.

 

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