How to Drain Ascites

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Ascites is a condition characterized by fluid build up in the abdominal cavity. The most common cause is liver disease; other causes include certain types of cancer, kidney disease and congestive heart failure. Treatments are available and include medications, self-care and possibly surgery to help drain and prevent fluid build up.

Manage underlying causes diligently. Take all medications as directed and adhere to all lifestyle recommendations. Properly managing the condition contributing to ascites is an important part of treatment.

Restrict your daily intake of salt to 1,500 mg or less. Do not add salt to your food. Increasing your intake of fresh foods and decreasing your intake of processed and packaged foods will help you control your salt intake. Prepared foods are usually very high in sodium. Working with a nutritionist is a good way to devise a proper eating plan.

Take all medications as directed. You will receive a prescription for diuretics to reduce fluid build up. The most common regimen is a combination of Lasix and Aldactone. Taking them in the morning will prevent the need to urinate frequently during the night. You will need antibiotics if an infection develops; you must finish your whole prescription to ensure the infection is eradicated.

Talk to your doctor about procedures to remove fluid build up if the above regimen is not producing satisfactory results. You might require paracentisis, which involves inserting a needle into your body to drain the fluid. You will need this treatment on a regular basis and your doctor will tell you how often. In the most severe cases, certain procedures aim to drain the fluid and reduce fluid build up by inserting shunts, which help redirect fluid in the body.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not drink alcohol.

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