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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

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


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

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

Call your doctor if:

  • You feel pain in your abdomen.
  • You have a fever.
  • 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.


  • Medicines help decrease the fluid in your abdomen, prevent or fight an infection, or 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 your provider 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.


  • Do not drink alcohol or take medicines that contain alcohol. Alcohol worsens the damage to your liver. Your symptoms may improve after you stop drinking. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help to quit drinking alcohol.
  • Follow your low-sodium plan. A dietitian can help you create a low-sodium diet. He or she may suggest lemon juice or herbs to flavor your food. Avoid salted butter or margarine, milk, cheese, and canned or frozen foods. Ask about salt substitutes.
  • Weigh yourself each day in the morning. Keep a record of your weights. Take this record to your follow-up visits.
  • Limit activity as directed. You may need to limit your usual daily activities until your symptoms have resolved. Ask your provider if you have any limits to your activity.
  • Ask about NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. NSAIDs may not be safe if you have trouble urinating. Ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. These medicines can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if they are not taken correctly.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return in 1 to 2 weeks for blood tests and to check your weight. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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