Symptoms and Signs of Ascites: Causes, Treatment, and Prognosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Ascites: Causes, Treatment, and Prognosis

Ascites is a term that refers to an abnormal accumulation of fluid within the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. Ascites is a symptom of many diseases and conditions and is not a disease by itself. Some of the many conditions that can cause ascites are cirrhosis of the liver, abdominal cancers, and congestive heart failure. Ascites is common in patients suffering from liver failure.

Mild ascites may not produce any specific signs or symptoms. As the condition worsens, signs and symptoms associated with ascites include an increase in abdominal girth, bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort, and shortness of breath. Depending on the cause of ascites, other possible associated symptoms can include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, weight loss, swelling of the feet and legs, and excessive bleeding.

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.