Start of Ascites : Hi lovely people. Can... - British Liver Trust

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Start of Ascites


Hi lovely people. Can the people, who have/had Ascites, share how it first started and how you noticed. I was diagnosed with Fibrosis a few months ago. Recently I felt my legs started to swell (edema) but feet and ankles are ok. I went to see GP but he did not make much of it. I now feel as if veins from my legs are about to burst. I feel legs are heavy and gained 2.5 kg weight in one week or so. I also feel bloated. I just wonder what to expect next or if any you good people experience can help understand this.

15 Replies

Hi careful

For me the first time I had it I hadn’t got a clue that I had ascites because I didn’t know what ascites was! All I knew was that I felt really ill:- exhausted, enormous legs, sticky out tummy, cough, hardly get up stairs to bed, couldn’t get comfortable and unable to sleep. I just wrote that and then Googled to see what the official stance is. It is “ Symptoms may include increased abdominal size, increased weight, abdominal discomfort, and shortness of breath.”

I think that about sums it up ☹️. When you get to that stage you really ought to be in Hospital and be getting sorted out!

Hope you can get yourself sorted out soon!


Thanks Angus, all started a few months ago with shortness of breath but gp didn't think of it too much and asked me to loose weight and get fitter. But one day I felt that I was going to toilet a lot and did so over 2 days (password urine). I noticed shortness of breath and edema in Lower legs went. But for last few weeks edema has come back but no shortness of breath. Not gone to gp because I know the answer. I will see it develops before going to gp again and update you.

What is the answer? You mean he/she will just say again lose weight and get fitter? Edema (or UK oedema 😁) was always taken moderately seriously when I was ill, pre-TP. Given furosemide to help get rid. Worked to an extent but did keep coming and going still like yours. It’s a bummer 👎🏻.

Yes maybe see if it gets worse? I used to, and still do, hate going to doctors in case they think I’m a hypochondriac (But I definitely am now post TP, but for good reason I think 😁).

🤞🤞it doesn’t get worse!


Btw careful- do you still have memory problems- more so recently? (I saw that from an earlier posting you made). If so have you told your GP?

I do. He said its part of getting old. I am 49.

Hmm since when is 49 getting old!! That’s a nonsense imho!

This is my concern as well I.e the doctor may think I am hypochondriac. Yes the same answer ' loose weight, it's not that bad, lift legs up when in bed etc etc

If its oedema in the legs then the way to have a quick check is to press down on the area with your finger and see if it leaves a clear dimple or pit for a period of time, say 5 to 10 seconds or so. It'll usually start in your feet or at the bottom end of you legs around your ankles or just above first due to gravity. If there is no lasting pit or it's not swollen around your feet or ankles then it's unlikely to be oedema. Oedema and ascites is also not usually present at the fibrosis stage of liver disease, so the likelihood is that the cause is possibly something else. If you want a second opinion then your doctor will be more than happy to check it out.

in reply to Kristian

Hi Kristian, I have checked it and its definitely edema. The dent on legs is around half inch deep and it stays there for more than 10 seconds. But ankles and feet are ok. Other thing I noticed is that it's not as bad in the morning when I wake up. Thanks for your response.


Good afternoon Carefull1,

You say diagnosed with fibrosis but not what level this is? Do you know if it is cirrhosis? I would suggest that you make an appointment to see your GP to advise them of these new changes in weight and leg oedema.

You can also call our helpline Mon - Fri 10am-14,45pm on 0800 652 7330 if you wish to discuss anything.

Please also make sure you seek medical help if you or anyone with you feels your condition is deteriorating.

Best wishes


in reply to Trust9

Thank you Trust9, at the time they told me its moderate Fibrosis. I have made appointment with gp but not holding my breath.

Hi Careful

Have a look at this, perhaps - as well as other’s inputs on here. It is from the world renowned Mao Clinic. It’s nice and succinct.

Particularly see “when to see a doctor”


So sorry you are feeling poorly. My ascites was in my abdomen only. I looked pregnant and was very uncomfortable. A tiny bit of shortness of breath. I had been feeling poorly for sometime. I look back now and had so many symptoms of a liver disorder. Dark urine, digestive distress, eyes were only slightly tinged yellow, numbness in my feet and of course the ascites. I put off the bloated belly as being just a symptom of my digestive stuff. Finally went to the GP. Then my fun liver disease journey began. It has been 4 months. Specialist says fibrosis but I'm not convinced it isn't cirrhosis. Good news - quitting drinking and taking care of myself has paid off. I feel nearly normal again. My ascites is controlled with spironolactone and florosemide. I'm stuck with an umbilical hernia caused by the pressure of the ascites.

Good luck and good health!


Thanks for the comment and nice to know that you are back to normal. Exactly my point. i was told that cant have ascites in Fibrosis. My belly is OK, its just the swelling on the legs (more on left).

The ascites first became obvious about 3 years ago. Coincidentally my daughter was pregnant and I thought I was having a phantom pregnancy in sympathy!

However the ascites became seriously problematic about 6 months ago.

I have since then had 2 drains and been prescribed diuretics - but it persists. My consultant has now referred me to the liver unit in Birmingham for a possible TIPSS procedure. Although I tick all the boxes for a transplant other health considerations have ruled this out.

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