Liver disease, cancer, congestive heart failure or kidney failure can cause retention of fluid in the abdomen, states MedicineNet. Accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen is also known as ascites.
The most common cause of ascites is cirrhosis of the liver, states MedicineNet. Liver cirrhosis causes portal hypertension, an increase in the pressure of the blood flow in the liver. The pressure gradient between the liver blood circulation and the peritoneal cavity as well as the low albumin level cause ascites.
Salt and water retention that occurs in congestive heart failure and advanced kidney failure can also cause ascites, according to MedicineNet. Congestive heart failure and advanced kidney failure also cause generalized retention of fluid in the whole body.
Advanced cancers of organs in the abdomen, such as colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and stomach cancer, can cause ascites, states MedicineNet. Other cancers, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma, can also cause ascites. A tumor or mass pressing on the portal vessels can cause portal hypertension without liver cirrhosis, and this can lead to ascites. In Budd-Chiari syndrome, blood clot formation in the portal vessel obstructs the normal blood flow and increases the portal blood pressure, leading to ascites.