Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

Fluid build-up (ascites or edema)

The build-up of fluid in the abdomen is called ascites. You may not feel hungry due to the pressure of the fluid on your stomach. Fluid build-up may also put pressure on your lungs, causing you to be short of breath. The build-up of fluid in the tissues of the feet and legs is called edema.


Ascites and edema are two of the most common major complications of cirrhosis. If abdominal tenderness and fever are present, the cause may be an infection called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.


  • Too much sodium intake can contribute to the fluid retention seen in ascites and edema. You may need a low-salt diet.


Avoid canned soups and vegetables, cold cuts, dairy products and condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise.

Check the labels on food packages; many prepared foods contain large amounts of salt.

Substitute lemon juice for salt.