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I had symptoms of increased abdominal girth, and respiratory distress. I reported this to my doctor which he found enough strange to put me on examining. After few researches, he diagnosed me with ascites. I need to know what does it mean and how I get it. Can you tell me something more about treatment, because I have never talked to my doctor about it?

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Ascites refers presence of excess fluid in peritoneal cavity, which is common clinical finding. It has a wide range of causes but most commonly, it develops as a part of decompensation of some liver diseases. Ultrasonography can be performed to detect or exclude the presence of fluid if the physical examination is not definitive. The ascitic fluid should be analyzed for amylase concentration, which is elevated in pancreatic ascites, and some other parameters. The treatment of ascites depends on its cause; in the majority of patients, cirrhosis leading to portal hypertension is the major cause. Ascites due to peritoneal inflammation or malignancy alone does not respond to salt restriction and diuretics. The treatment can be attempted in an outpatient setting, but sometimes even hospitalization may be necessary. Most patients with cirrhotic ascites respond to dietary sodium restriction and diuretics, but round 10% of patients do not respond to this therapy. Important is to discover if cytology is positive to cancer.
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