Ascites

Cross-section of organs in abdomen, showing normal abdomen and abdomen with extra fluid (ascites)

Ascites (say "uh-SY-teez") is the buildup of fluid in the belly (abdomen).

Many diseases can cause ascites, including liver disease and some cancers.

Ascites can be uncomfortable. The extra fluid also can cause your belly to swell and make it hard for you to breathe. The condition usually is treated with medicine and diet. But the fluid may have to be removed with a needle for severe ascites.

Current as of: August 12, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Michel M. Murr, MD - General Surgery, Bariatric Surgery

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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