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Ascites (fluid in the belly)

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Ascites (fluid in the belly) - Cirrhosis for Patients

Graphic of fluid in the belly

Ascites is another problem caused by high pressure in the veins of the liver. Fluid leaks out of the liver and into the belly, and your belly begins to fill up. This can make your abdomen enlarge like a balloon filled with water. Your legs and scrotum can get swollen too. This can be very uncomfortable. Eating can be a problem because you have less room for food. Even breathing can be a problem, especially when you are lying down. But the most dangerous problem associated with ascites is infection, which can be life-threatening. Ascites may go away with a low-salt diet, and by taking diuretics (water pills) ordered by your provider. But sometimes a provider must drain the fluid from the belly using a special needle.

If you have ascites and you suddenly get a fever or new belly pain, go to the emergency room immediately. These could be signs of a serious infection that can be life-threatening.