for Veterans and the Public
Ascites (fluid in the belly) - Cirrhosis for Patients
Another problem caused by high pressure in the veins of the liver is ascites. Fluid leaks out into the belly and it begins to fill it up. This can make your abdomen enlarge like a balloon filled with water. Your legs can get swollen too. This can be very uncomfortable. Eating can be a problem because there is 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 with diuretics (water pills) ordered by your provider. But sometimes a provider must drain the fluid from the belly using a special needle.
View our Ascites Patient Fact Sheet for more information.
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.