3 Treatments for Ascites Swollen Belly
Last updated: June 2019
When you need help for ascites swollen belly, there are several treatments, and I've had them all. They are preventative and also therapeutic. If your doctor says you are getting a tap or treatment for ascites swollen belly, that’s a wonderful relief. I’ve been there, and was scared. I can promise that you will feel so much better after treatment. You may be given a diuretic and told to avoid a lot of salt in your diet. I can tell you stories, but what you need is information.
Medical procedure in the hospital
Paracentesis, or "tap"
There are stages of treating ascites. Initially, if there is a lot of fluid built-up, your doctor may perform paracentesis. It is commonly called a tap, which I find funny cause they make a tap out of your stomach. This procedure is done by inserting a tube into your abdomen. Gravity kind of does the work, and often, no sedation is necessary.
I remember lying on the bed in the “tap room”, chatting up the tech. He had done it for years and was very calming. I vaguely remember it because my body was giving out. Fear was making me shaky. I tend to talk a lot when I’m scared, and chatted the whole time. The tech reassured me and let me watch the fluid flow into the bottle. He said that it can be cloudy or milky in color. Sometimes blood may be mixed in. We caught it fast enough that mine was pretty clear. It’s weird to be relieved when he said that the color was good. I’ve seen some that wasn’t and the person was super sick. Ask your doctor what the color of your fluid means.
Medicine taken at home
Prescriptions can be used to prevent more ascites from building up. A diuretic can be taken orally, on a schedule that your doctor gives you. Warning: It may send you running to the bathroom to get rid of excess fluid.
Lasix, which is also called Furosemide, is usually the first line of defense. Your doctor may prescribe Spironolactone, which is also called Aldactone. In my experience, the last one is great because it keeps your potassium levels in balance. Your doctor may recommend that you take both at the same time if you have advanced liver disease. They can save your life and make you more comfortable really fast! You may experience some side effects, like breast enlargement. Personally, my leg cramps were worse while we tried to find a balance. You can find help for leg cramps while you're on diuretics.
Low sodium diet
I truly believe that this is one of the most important things that helped save my life. I was told that 2,000 mg of sodium was my daily maximum. I was so freaking scared that I went down to 1,500 at first. Even today, I can eat a lot of food and still stay under that. My whole life revolves around sodium counts. If you take the low sodium diet seriously, the ascites can be controlled much easier.
When you would do anything to be able to walk without swollen feet and legs, try these 3 treatments for ascites swollen belly. You can maintain better health, even with advanced liver disease.