Do you notice that your waistline is expanding? Other than the fact that it is an indication that you need to lose weight, it may also be a sign of some other conditions. One condition that may cause an enlarging of the waistline is ascites. Caused by an austere liver condition, ascites may cause a buildup in the abdominal area, thus making the belly swell and bulge. One good thing about this is there are various treatments available. This article will outline the symptoms, causes and other information for you to learn everything you need to know. Keep reading!
What is Ascites?
The organs in the abdominal area are contained in a sac or a membrane known as the peritoneum. Usually, the peritoneal cavity contains just a small amount of fluid, although in women this may vary depending on their menstrual cycle. Ascites is a term used to denote increased fluid levels in the peritoneal cavity. This situation is not normal at all, and it may lead to inflammation of the spleen, legs and arms. Furthermore, if the fluid gets into the lungs, it can make breathing difficult. Ascitis may also be referred to as peritoneal cavity fluid, hydroperitoneum and peritoneal fluid excess.
There are various conditions that can cause fluid to accrue. Cancer, if spread to the peritoneum, may cause fluid leaks, while an excess of sodium or water can have the same effect. Generally, though, ascitis is because of liver disease, wherein the liver can’t provide enough protein to retain the fluid in the bloodstream. Usually, oncotic pressure takes care of any excess water in the blood, and proteins works to keep it from leaking out of capillary vessels in the surrounding tissues. As liver disease progresses, though, the ability of the liver to manufacture protein is reduced.
What Causes Ascites?
Ascites happens when pressure accumulates in the liver’s veins, and it doesn’t function as it should. These two problems are commonly due to some other illnesses, like cancer, kidney failure, heart failure, cirrhosis and/or an infection. The pressure in the veins actually blocks the flow of blood in the liver. Over time, this will keep the kidneys from removing the excess salt from the body. In turn, this will cause the fluid to build up.
What are the Symptoms of Ascites?
Ascites commonly comes with a feeling of fullness, rapid weight gain and an expanding belly. Other symptoms include:
- A hernia
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the ankles and legs
- Shortness of breath
If you experience any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor. Often, it is a sign of liver failure, such as cirrhosis.
Treatments for Ascites
The primary treatments for ascities include bed rest and reduced-sodium diets, but drugs or diuretics may also be used to extrete water from the kidneys. LVP, or Large Volume Paracentesis, is one of the best treatments for ascites. It is a therapeutic paracentesis process used to remove the fluid by inserting a thin needle or a tube into the abdominal area. This treatment requires you to stay in the hospital for a short period of time.
Natural Treatments for Ascites
If the above doesn’t sound good to you, here are some of the best natural treatments for ascites:
- Take an Epsom Salt bath. This is great for detoxifying the body and soothing the swelling.
- Sleep properly. Try to avoid sleeping during the daytime. You need to have a fixed bed time and regular sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising helps the abdominal muscles develop properly.
- Avoid alcohol. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, as they are one of the main causes of the condition.
- Regularly massage affected areas. This is essential in draining any excess fluid in the body.
- Avoid drinking too much water. While it’s important to drink enough water to support your body’s function, drinking too much can increase swelling and cause you to gain weight. Try replacing it with buttermilk, carrot juice or milk.
- Bitter gourd. Drink fresh bitter gourd thrice a day to get relief from ascites.
- Horse gram. You can drink this to treat ascites. Usually, it takes about 3 weeks to see the changes.