Some illnesses can cause a build-up of fluid in the tummy (abdomen). This is more common with illnesses that affect the liver or cancers that are present within the abdomen. This fluid is called ascites. The abdomen becomes swollen and distended, which can be uncomfortable or painful. Other symptoms include a tightness across the abdomen, unexplained weight gain, feeling breathless, feeling sick (nausea) and a reduced appetite.
Your doctors may treat ascites by inserting a small tube into your abdomen to drain off the fluid. This is usually done in hospital or the Hospice under a local anaesthetic. The fluid can be drained as often as necessary. Water tablets (diuretics) may be used to try to stop or slow down fluid build-up. Sometimes radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment can prevent the fluid from coming back.