Ascites is fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity caused by fluid leaks from the surface of the liver and intestine. Ascites due to liver disease usually accompanies other liver disease characteristics, such as portal hypertension. Symptoms of ascites may include a distended abdominal cavity, which causes discomfort and shortness of breath.
Causes of ascites may include the following:
- Liver cirrhosis (especially cirrhosis caused by alcoholism)
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Chronic hepatitis
- Obstruction of the hepatic vein
Ascites can also be caused by nonliver disorders.