4 Causes and Treatment of Ascites
Windowofworld.com – Ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity or peritoneum. This condition can be caused by diseases such as cirrhosis, cancer, and kidney failure. If allowed to accumulate, ascitic fluid can cause various kinds of disorders in the body.
The cause of ascites or accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity needs to be explored carefully and treated seriously. This is because ascites usually indicates a chronic disease that has lasted long enough or has reached a fairly severe stage.
In general, ascites is characterized by swelling and a feeling of fullness in the stomach. In addition, patients with ascites can also experience shortness of breath due to a full stomach, nausea, vomiting, and swelling in the legs.
A series of conditions that cause ascites
The following are some conditions that can cause ascites, namely:
1. Cirrhosis of the liver
Liver cirrhosis is damage to liver tissue that can arise due to various conditions. Some of the conditions that most often cause cirrhosis include hepatitis B and hepatitis C, fatty liver, and alcoholism.
When liver tissue is damaged, its function and blood flow will also be disrupted. Normally, the liver receives a lot of blood flow and one of them comes from the intestine. When blood flow to the liver is obstructed, a blood dam occurs in the intestinal blood vessels. As a result, fluid in the intestinal blood vessels out into the abdominal cavity and become ascites.
In addition, damaged liver tissue also cannot produce albumin effectively. In fact, albumin is a protein in blood plasma that functions to maintain fluid in blood vessels. If albumin levels decrease, fluid from blood vessels can leak into the abdominal cavity.
2. Kidney failure
One of the most important functions of the kidneys is to maintain a balanced body fluid and filter body waste to be excreted through urine.
In kidney failure, the kidneys cannot function optimally. As a result, there is excess fluid and a buildup of waste in the body (uremia). Both of these can make fluid more easily leak into the abdominal cavity and cause ascites.
3. Congestive heart failure
Under normal circumstances, the heart pumps blood throughout the body, then receives back the blood that has been “used”. Congestive heart failure can cause obstruction of blood flow back from the body to return to the heart, so blood is blocked in the body’s blood vessels.
As a result, the pressure in the blood vessels becomes high and pushes fluid in the blood vessels out into the tissues or body cavities, including the abdominal cavity. Symptoms that occur include swelling of the feet and ascites.
4. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
The pancreas has a duty to produce and produce enzymes as well as hormones that help in digesting food. Acute pancreatitis can cause fluid accumulation which is a response to inflammation and cause ascites.
While in chronic pancreatitis, digestive enzymes do not work for a long time and cause digestion and absorption of food so it is not optimal. Over time, the body can lack protein which causes blood albumin levels to fall to the point of ascites.
In addition, there are also ascites caused by cancer. This condition usually appears as a result of cancer in organs in the abdominal cavity such as pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, or stomach cancer. However, ascites can also occur due to other cancers, such as lymphoma, uterine cancer, or breast cancer.
This Ways to Overcome Ascites
Ascites and its causes can be diagnosed through physical examination and complete blood tests, liver and kidney function, electrolytes, and blood albumin levels. Ultrasound examination or CT scan of the abdomen can also be done to diagnose the cause of ascites.
Ascites is treated based on the cause and complaints caused. In addition, how bad the impact is on the patient and how often recurrent ascites also needs attention.
Some things that can be done as handling ascites, namely:
1. Cessation of consumption of alcoholic beverages
To minimize liver damage, patients who experience ascites due to cirrhosis need to stop consuming alcoholic beverages and certain drugs such as paracetamol.
2. Restricting low-salt foods
Patients with ascites really need to limit salt intake to less than 2 grams (<½ teaspoon) per day so that the accumulation of fluid in the stomach does not get worse.
3. Treatment with diuretic drugs
Treatment with diuretics together with eating low-salt foods can remove excess fluid and salt more effectively.
4. Weighing regularly
This is done to monitor the fluid content in the body. It is expected that excess fluid in the body can be reduced and can cause weight loss from 0.5 kg to about 1 kg per day. The speed of weight loss can vary between patients with ascites.
If food intake, drinks, and diuretic treatment are not successful, paracentesis can be done. This process is done by placing a needle into the abdominal cavity to remove ascitic fluid.
This procedure is generally done if the fluid forms very quickly, interferes with breathing, or if ascites is caused by cancer. Risks that can occur in this procedure are bleeding, infection, intestinal injury, and electrolyte disturbances.
6. Operating procedures.
If other methods do not work, then surgery can be done to overcome the cause of ascites.
Ascites is a condition that must be treated immediately by medical personnel because it can cause complications and interfere with the work of the organs in your body. In addition, ascites can make eating, drinking, moving, and even breathing difficult.
This buildup of fluid in the stomach can also cause dangerous stomach infections. Therefore, if symptoms occur as described above, do not delay to check with your doctor to get the examination and the right treatment.