Ascites refers to the fluid accumulation in the peritoneal cavity. The condition is usually associated with alcoholism, liver cirrhosis, severe liver disease, or metastatic carcinmoa, although it can be indicative of other medical problems like the Budd-Chiari syndrome. The following are the causes, signs and symptoms, and home remedies for ascites.
Ascites has various causes. Advanced liver disease stands as the most usual cause, according to Medicine Net. As per the publication, theories reveal that portal hypertension is a primary contributing factor to the disease. In portal hypertension, blood pressure in the liver is increased and albumin, a protein in the bloodstream is decreased. This imbalanced pressure inside and outside the liver results to fluid imbalance just like in edema. Since the pressure inside the liver is high, the excess fluid will shift into the abdominal cavity, a low pressure space. Hence, ascites occurs.
According to Health Line, other medical conditions that may lead to ascites include chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, congestive heart failure, hepatitis, hepatic vein thrombosis, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and ovarian cancer, among others.
Signs and Symptoms
Ascites presents several symptoms. According to Emedicine Health, a person with ascites exhibits abdominal swelling related to fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. As a result, the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities, fails to assist with normal breathing. Thus, the person may have shortness of breath. If the ascites is due to liver cirrhosis, the person may exhibit symptoms like easy bruising, leg swelling, breast enlargement, and confusion related to encephalopathy. If the condition is secondary to heart failure, symptoms like leg edema or swelling, shortness of breath, orthopnea (difficulty of breathing with a certain position), and paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea or abnormal breathing may be present. People with cancer may also have symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, and weight loss, with the latter despite fluid accumulation.
While reduction of the fluid excess in the abdominal cavity is one of the integral components of the medical regimen for ascites, home remedies can also be done to manage the condition.
One remedy for ascites is garlic. According to Find Home Remedy, garlic aids in pain and swelling reduction in the abdominal area. Garlic also helps eliminate the toxins from the body, in addition to regulating blood cholesterol levels and maintaining the proper functions of various body organs. As per the publication, the person may eat few garlic cloves or drink fresh garlic juice daily for at least two to three weeks.
Bittergourd is another remedy for ascites. As per Home Remedy Hacks, it helps improves the appetite of a person with ascites. As per the publication, loss of appetite results from the feeling of satiety secondary to the fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. To prepare, the person slices two unripe bitter gourds lengthwise and takes out the seeds before soaking the vegetable in a low sodium salt water to get rid of the bitter taste. Following 30 minutes, the slices are rinsed with clean and fresh water. As an option, the person may also consume the vegetable juice, with no sugar or salt.
Various herbs can also help managed ascitic conditions. According to Organic Facts, white murdah and arjuna have diuretic properties. This means they are capable of promoting diuresis or urination. On the other hand, asafoetida and heenga can foment the abdomen when they are dissoled in hot water. Kakamachi or black nightshade also helps relieve fluid accumulation while kantakari or kateli is used in the treatment of dropsy, alongside ascites.
Ascites is one of the problems in the abdominal area in relation to gastrointestinal function. Hence, it is best to seek medical consult from a doctor for further assessment, planning, intervention, education, and evaluation.