Fluid in abdomen, MRI did not show Liv... - British Liver Trust

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Fluid in abdomen, MRI did not show Liver problems...advice please

Sunny71 profile image

I suffer with UC (28 years) and I am aware I have a fibroid, the last 5/6 weeks I have increased pain in my abdomen which I have since found out it is due to fluid.

I went to A&E 4 weeks ago and they were basically unsure of what it was and sent me home after checking bloods and X-ray came back clear (liver test slightly higher than previous one). In the meantime I had an colonoscopy and MRI booked on my liver to as part of UC symptoms.

I had a review with my consultant yesterday and she said MRI didn't really show any concerns but scan show I was full of fluid, I have a pelvic US on Monday and she still wants to refer me to a Liver specialist. I looked on Google and it all comes back to cancer either liver,kidney or ovarian.

Would anything of show up on the MRI scan?

Sorry for the ramble but I'm getting worried now.

12 Replies

Hi Sunny 71,

As regarding your liver an MRI scan would definitely have shown up anything at all sinister. Did she mention any cirrhosis or anything like that? If your consultant wants to refer you to a liver specialist then it's most likely to be safe rather than sorry but an MRI would have shown up cancer.

I can't give advice about kidneys or ovaries though ......but whatever the cause the secret is to get to the problem as quickly as possible to start whatever treatment is needed.

You didn't say how much fluid was detected if it's just a small amount then hopefully it's nothing to worry about ~

Thank you for the reply, she just asked usual drinking questions, checked my hands, eyes and liked to see any spider marks in chest.

She didn't mention volume of fluid, however I am the same size as when 9 months pregnant.

I thought the MRI would show up abnormalities.

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to Sunny71

If the MRI scanned your liver it would have picked up any lumps or bumps so if it came back clear of a tumour then you don't have liver cancer, relax. If it scanned your kidneys and ovaries, likewise it would have picked up any cancer. An 'abdominal' MRI would cover your liver and kidneys and a 'pelvic" one your ovaries, so it depends on what the doctor asked for on the MRI request. I assume you are posting on the liver forum because there is a possibility of something not quite right with your liver function. Fluid in the abdominal cavity can be caused by the liver not working properly but I would have expected you to have poor blood test results and other symptoms of the liver struggling to have what we call "ascites". I don't know anything about UC or whether having it for so long would cause ascites. Do you take any long term medication for it or for any other condition?

Thanks Bolly,

UC is Ulcerative Colitis and the consultant talked about PSC as I have had 3 different sets of bloods taken that has shown an increase in Liver enzyme (she said high, but not scary high)

I have also been itching on my body so I guess the MRI was to rule all that out. However, when I asked if the fluid could be serious she said yes.

I stumbled across this site my accident so I thought I'd ask.

I think what I really want to know is can the Ascites be non dangerous?

Bolly profile image
Bolly in reply to Sunny71

Having ascites is a symptom of something, so it's the cause that needs to be diagnosed. Left alone it will either get worse or keep coming back which a) you don't want as it's uncomfortable and the fluid can get infected and b) you don't want to have your doctors gloss over it as they need to find the cause.

They don't usually use an MRI to diagnose PSC though it might spot any blockages in the bile ducts which could be the cause of your itching.

Thanks Bolly, hopefully have more answers next week as really unconfortable now and lack of sleep not helping either.

I was once told I had fluid from liver cirrhosis but it turned out to be two ovarian cysts (on pelvic ultrasound). I'm sure that,s no help to you though. Did you have whole body MRI or just one part?

Didn't they do any blood test that look for cancer? Blood protein testing and Tumor marker tests? Check your blood test results and see if there on there. BUT, it doesn't mean there isn't cancer present. Research those terms and read about it.

Mouse, I just had liver contrast MRI. I had elevated ca 125 2.5 years ago after a DVT in my leg and when scanned they said it was a cyst on my ovary. I had a rescan and blood test 8 weeks later and it had gone and bloods ok.

I am just confused if I've had an MRI, a scan on both liver and kidney in the summer and full bloods what is causing the fluid.

It's getting really heavy and hard to sleep now so I need it sorting this week.

Angelo, I'm not sure what bloods were done previous, but his week I've had ca 125, and the other liver ones.

Sunny 71

I do not know anything about the UC you mention but do have some experience with ascites which is a symptom you appear to be concerned about. My own ascites flows from de compensated cirrhosis and the associated portal hypertension .

There are other cause for ascites apart from liver disease but what ever the cause some relief from pain and discomfort can be obtained by having the fluid drained from the abdomen by a procedure known as paracentesis. A drain is often preceded by an abdominal ultrasound scan ( you mention you are due to have one performed) as this can detect the fluid and also the exact areas in the abdomen where it is pooling. With patients who have liver disease it can also determine the blood flow direction and velocity etc in the portal vein which aids the determination of the severity ofany associated portal hypertension.

When the fluid is drained off it is normally done over a period of circa six hours in a hospital day patient setting and is fairly straight forward and relatively painless although needless to say great care is taken to avoid infection etc. If the ascites has resulted from liver disease and I think heart disease as well then a low salt diet as well as diuretics is usually prescribed to try and reduce the rate of fluid re accumulation. I have been quite lucky in that I had my last paracentisis performed about a year ago since when the fluid re accumulation has been occurring very very slowly. A very recent ultra sound showed where it is currently pooling in the abdomen but as it has not yet caused problems with breathing etc my liver specialist has recommended leaving it a while longer until the ascites is more tense before having another paracentisis performed .

I understand that some people that have very severe ascites from one of the various causes need to be drained frequently and sometimes weekly,monthly or even daily to obtain relief and comfort.

I do hope that you will soon be provided with a definitive diagnosis of the reasons for your own build up of fluid in your abdomen and if you are offered a drain / paracenteis to get rid of some if not all of what has accumulated you should hopefully feel much better afterwards and this should also help you to deal or cope better with whatever may turn out to be the underlying cause.

Best wishes.

I have a small amount of fluid in my abdomen but docs say its not ascites. I have see several docs that say I dont have liver problems after CT scans bloodwork etc but I always feel extremely sick, suffer with insomnia etc etc I am completely miserable with no energy constantly. Last 2 weeks I have been suspecting a "leaky gut" and is a condition, not say this is the case for you but look it up, its a real condition. Im doing a liver cleanse starting today cutting out junk food and going to see if that helps. I drank beer for many years and irritates pretty much everything in digestive tract. Best of luck to you hope everything is ok

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