Fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites) is a serious problem that
often develops in people who have
cirrhosis. A doctor may want to perform a procedure
paracentesis to collect a sample of fluid from the
abdomen. The fluid would be analyzed to help the doctor find out the cause of
the fluid buildup if cirrhosis has not been diagnosed.
Diuretics, such as spironolactone and furosemide, are
a key treatment for ascites. They help the kidneys eliminate salt and water
from the body. When diuretic medicines are combined with a low-salt diet, 90%
of people are able to control their ascites.1
Breast swelling and tenderness in males (gynecomastia) when
spironolactone is used.
Higher doses can cause excess fluid loss from the body (dehydration),
decreased kidney function (renal insufficiency), and fainting, especially in
older adults. People who are taking diuretics to treat ascites caused by
cirrhosis need to have their body weight, electrolytes, and kidney function
carefully monitored while taking the medicines.
People who continue to have ascites despite the standard treatment
with diuretics and a low-sodium diet may need additional treatments, such