The fluid buildup called ascites usually occurs as a result of liver scarring, according to Healthline. Scarring causes elevated pressure in the blood vessels of the liver, leading to spillage of ascites into the abdominal cavity, which is the space existing between the abdominal lining and organs.
Other than liver damage, other factors that predispose an individual to ascites include congestive heart failure, kidney failure, tuberculosis, pancreatitis and liver cancer, notes Healthline. In congestive heat failure, for instance, the heart ventricles fail to supply enough blood in the body, causing ascites buildup in various parts of the body including the abdominal cavity. Depending on the underlying condition, ascites can cause sudden or gradual symptoms, which include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, bloating and heartburn. The condition may also cause breathing difficulty when the suffer is lying down, and nausea and vomiting. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention when an individual experience the symptoms of ascites.
The cause of ascites determines the treatment method for the condition since the treatment involves addressing the underlying condition, explains Healthline. The causes of ascites can be treated with diuretics, paracentesis and surgery. While diuretics lessen pressure in the liver blood vessels, paracentesis is suitable when the cause of ascites is cancer and involves sucking ascites from the abdominal cavity using a long, thin needle. Surgery, on the other hand, is suitable in severe cases and involves a liver transplant and shunt implantation.