What Are Leading Causes of Fluid Retention in the Abdomen?


Quick Answer

Fluid retention in the abdomen, called ascites by doctors, is usually caused by cirrhosis and other liver disorders, according to Merck Manual. Ascites can also be caused by kidney failure and pancreatitis.

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Full Answer

Cirrhosis occurs when the liver is severely scarred, which can be caused by long-term exposure to alcohol or viral infections, notes Healthline. Symptoms of the condition arise when it causes the liver to shrink and harden, leading to nose bleeds, weight loss and weakness. In addition to causing ascites, cirrhosis can lead to serious conditions such as jaundice, edema and impotence.

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are unable to perform their function of filtering the blood, explains Healthline. The condition can cause symptoms such as swelling of various parts of the body, shortness of breath and nausea, and can lead to death if untreated. Kidney failure can be caused by exposure to toxins, diseases, loss of blood flow to the kidneys and kidney damage.

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, according to Cleveland Clinic. The condition can either be acute or chronic, with acute pancreatitis sometimes triggering chronic pancreatitis. Some causes of pancreatitis include bile duct stones, heavy alcohol use, medications and smoking. Those with acute pancreatitis may have nausea and vomiting, and usually have pain in their upper abdomen that spreads to their backs. People with chronic pancreatitis can develop diabetes and may experience poor absorption of food and constant pain.

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