Sufferers of fluid retention in the abdomen may feel as though they have eaten a large meal even though they may have not. The stomach feels distended and swollen, and a sufferer may experience loss of appetite as a result.
This condition may have serious causes that may require immediate treatment by medical professionals. In some cases, the fluid that is retained is deposited inside the membranous lining of the tissue of the abdomen. Liver disease may be the culprit behind this kind of fluid retention, although it may also be caused by viral or alcoholic hepatitis.
This sort of water retention is known as ascites. It is very serious; fully 80% of sufferers die from it, and many do so in less than five years after the fluid first accumulated in their abdominal tissue. This condition can have many other symptoms aside from abdominal swelling. For one, those suffering from ascites can also suffer from palms that are consistently red in color, ankles that are consistently swollen, persistent pain in the lower back and the abdomen itself, breast enlargement and what are known as spider angiomas, or red spider- or blossom-like patches of blood vessels that are dilated due to increased fluid volume.
How can fluid retention in the abdomen be treated? Doctors say that ascites is treatable, but early diagnosis and consistent treatment is key to successful treatment. Overall, treatment aims to improve the balance of sodium in the blood in order to reduce the amount of bodily fluids that are trapped in sufferers’ abdominal areas. The first step in treating ascites is an evaluation of the sufferers’ diet and a drastic reduction of food items that are high in sodium. In general, processed food is high in salt content because salt is an effective yet inexpensive and readily available preservative; however, too much salt can have negative consequences for the health. Alternative food items that are low in sodium are readily available in health food stores and, increasingly, supermarkets.
Secondly, doctors can also prescribe certain interventions that can help reduce the amount of fluid trapped in ascites sufferers’ abdominal areas. These interventions can be non-invasive or invasive depending on the severity of cases and/or the specific needs of each patient. Firstly, chemicals such as spironolactone, furosemide or torsemide can be used to reduce the fluid trapped in the tissues, and/or to cause diuresis in order to reduce the overall level of fluid in sufferers’ bodies, which will draw out the fluid from said areas in order to eliminate the ascites.
Secondly, if such methods fail to work, the fluid can be removed using a needle to extract it from the abdominal area. The third and most invasive method to reduce this fluid retention in the abdomen is reserved as a last resort for patients for whom all else has failed, which is a liver transplant. Should the liver be the ultimate culprit behind the fluid retention, all methods of removing the fluid will ultimately fail and replacing the faulty liver may be the only alternative.