Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Ascites and Cirrhosis
Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites) is the most common
major complication of
cirrhosis. But it's important to get treatment. People who have alcoholic cirrhosis may
develop ascites early in the course of liver disease. Those who have other
forms of cirrhosis, such as that caused by viral hepatitis, may develop ascites
much later. The things that cause fluid to accumulate in the abdomen are
complex, but high blood pressure in the portal vein system of the liver (portal hypertension) is an important contributor to
Treatment for ascites depends on the cause.
About 90 out of 100 people with ascites
caused by cirrhosis respond to treatment with a low-salt diet and medicines
(diuretics) that eliminate extra fluid from the
Paracentesis is a procedure used to collect and remove
some of the fluid to help determine what is causing it to build up. Having
ascites may lead to:
Therapeutic paracentesis may be used if you have
cirrhosis and you:
You may also need additional treatments such as:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerW. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.