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Ascites is excess fluid in the lower abdomen. The fluid causes swelling in the abdomen.



  • Diuretics: This medicine helps decrease the fluid in your abdomen. You may urinate more often when you take diuretics. You will lose weight as the fluid decreases.
  • Antibiotics: These medicines are used to prevent or fight infections caused by bacteria.
  • Antiviral medicines: When ascites is caused by hepatitis (a virus that attacks your liver), antiviral medicines may help prevent more damage to your liver.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Your healthcare provider will want to see you again in 1 to 2 weeks to measure your weight and electrolyte level. He will check how your body has responded to treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Do not drink alcohol: Alcohol worsens the damage to your liver. Your ascites may improve or even go away after you stop drinking. You must also avoid medicines that contain alcohol. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help to stop drinking.
  • Follow your low-sodium diet: A dietitian can help you create a low-sodium diet. He may suggest lemon juice or herbs to flavor your food. Avoid salted butter or margarine, milk, cheese, and canned or frozen foods that are not made for low-salt diets. Ask your healthcare provider or before you use salt substitutes.
  • Write down your daily weight: Your healthcare provider will need you to track your weight at home to see if the diet changes and medicines are working. Weigh yourself each day. Ask how much weight you should be losing. He will want to know if you are losing too much or too little weight.
  • Ask about NSAIDs: NSAIDs are over-the-counter pain and fever medicines. You may not urinate enough to take NSAIDs safely. Ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Follow directions carefully. These medicines can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if they are not taken correctly.
  • Limit activity as directed: Too much physical activity may make your ascites worse. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any limits to your normal daily activities. Rarely, bedrest is needed if other health problems develop with ascites.

For more information:

  • American College of Gastroenterology
    6400 Goldsboro Rd., Ste 450
    Bethesda , MD 20817
    Phone: 1- 301 - 263-9000
    Web Address:

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are losing more or less weight than expected.
  • You are urinating less than usual.
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • You develop tiredness, dry mouth, nausea, or vomiting.
  • You have muscle cramps or twitches.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You feel pain in your abdomen.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You feel confused, faint, or lose consciousness.
  • You vomit blood or see blood in your bowel movement.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Ascites (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes