2. The presence of ascites
Ascites is a condition that is used to describe fluid retention in the abdominal region. The organs that are located in the abdomen are contained within a membrane that is known as peritoneum. Under normal conditions, this membrane contains a small amount of fluid. However, levels can increase as a result of a number of conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver.
As the scar tissue associated with cirrhosis increases, the liver loses its ability to function properly, including the ability to produce the proteins that are necessary to retain fluid within the bloodstream. This fluid collects in the abdominal cavity and eventually leads to swelling. As cirrhosis progresses, swelling can appear in other areas, as well, such as the legs, ankles, and feet. If you notice swelling in your abdomen, make sure that you see your doctor determine if cirrhosis is the cause.