Accumulation of protein containing fluid in the abdominal cavity, referred as ascites, is the most common symptom for many types of cancers.
Breast, lung, stomach, pancreas, large bowl (colon), ovary and endometrium cancer are the most likely cancers that causes ascites.
When pancreatic juices, intestinal fluids, bile or invasion of bacteria to the smooth transparent membrane of your abdomen takes place, you can experience accumulation of fluid in abdominal cavity. However, it is more often associated with liver disease and other long-lasting health conditions.
Who are more prone to ascites?
If you suffer from cirrhosis, then you are more at risk of developing ascites. It usually starts as your liver starts to fail. Almost 15% of people with malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract, including carcinoma of stomach, colon and pancreas, develop ascites.
Very rarely do people suffering from ovarian cancer, tuberculosis, heart failure, and pancreatitis also develop accumulation of Ascitic fluid. Myxoedema is a very rare cause for ascites.
Is ascites a dangerous sign?
Yes, it is. The development of ascites indicates that your liver is not working well. The survival rate of patients with this particular health condition after five years is about 30-40%.
So, it is very important for you to consult your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of ascites. Your doctor will more than likely suggest an appointment with a liver specialist or liver transplant center.
The treatment for this particular accumulation of fluid in the peritoneum mainly involves slowing down the build-up of fluid. Ascitic fluid drainage is usually suggested by your doctor to relieve the painful symptoms of ascites.
Other than fluid drainage, your doctors will also prescribe a water tablet, which makes you want to pass more urine than normal. This method is also helpful for you to slow the build-up of Ascitic fluid.
How does it affect your routine life?
When too much fluid accumulates in your abdominal cavity, you may experience difficulty in breathing, discomfort and also abdominal pain. As a result, your ability to eat, ambulate and perform activities of your regular routine will be limited.
Too much accumulation of fluid in the chest area is also possible with ascites, if left unidentified or untreated.
As a precaution, check you weight every day and consult your physician if ever you notice a gain of more than 10 pounds.