With ascites, fluid accumulates in the abdomen. That is why we also speak of dropsy or water belly. Most often, ascites indicates a serious illness. Thus, a bulging belly is a typical symptom of advanced cirrhosis of the liver. However, heart failure can also be associated with ascites. You can find out more about possible causes of dropsy and how to recognize ascites here!
What is ascites?
Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Colloquially also called dropsy or water belly. There are various forms of ascites such as portal ascites, inflammatory ascites and hemorrhagic ascites.
Causes: e.g. cirrhosis of the liver, heart failure (heart failure), inflammation in the abdomen such as peritonitis or pancreatitis, infections such as tuberculosis or chlamydia, cancer (such as infection of the peritoneum in cancer of the gastrointestinal tract or ovaries, liver carcinoma or metastases), injuries of abdominal organs, vascular ruptures, ruptured surgical scars, protein deficiency (for example due to malnutrition, Kidney or cancer diseases)
When to go to the doctor? With any suspicion of ascites! If left untreated, this can develop into a life-threatening peritonitis, among other things.
Diagnostics: collection of the medical history (anamnesis) to detect existing underlying diseases, physical examinations with palpation / tapping of the abdomen, ultrasound examination, blood test, possibly taking (puncture) a sample of the fluid accumulated in the abdomen to determine the form of ascites.
Therapy: treatment of the underlying disease. With strongly expressed ascites, also removal of fluid from the abdominal cavity by means of paracentesis. Setting a permanent catheter in case of repeated dropsy of the abdomen.
What are the main causes of ascites?
What are the first signs of ascites?
Is ascites life threatening?
Can ascites be cured?