Ascites is an abnormal accumulation of fluid within the (peritoneal) cavity. Ascites is caused by a variety of diseases and conditions, for example, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer within the abdomen, congestive heart failure, and tuberculosis.
Ascites is the end result of a series of events. Cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause of ascites. When cirrhosis occurs, blood flow through the liver is blocked. This blockage causes an increase in the pressure in the main vein (the portal vein) that delivers blood from the digestive organs to the liver. This condition is called portal hypertension. Ascites occurs when portal hypertension develops. The kidneys cannot rid the body of enough sodium (salt) through urine. Not being able to rid the body of salt causes fluids to build up in the abdomen, resulting in ascites.
Other causes Include:
- Lymphatic obstruction
- Mal nutrition
- Heart failure
- Large belly
- Rapid gain in weight
- Swelling of ankles
- Shortness of breath
- Pleural effusion
- Scrotal odema
- Abdominal discomfort
Ascites exists in three grades:
- Grade 1: mild, only visible on ultrasound and CT
- Grade 2: detectable with flank bulging and shifting dullness
- Grade 3: directly visible, confirmed with the fluid wave/thrill test
Ascites is called Jalodara in Ayurveda. Jala means water and udara means abdomen so jalodara is accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
Ascites is a gastroenterological term for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity that exceeds 25 ml. Ascites can be considered in Ayurveda under the broad spectrum of Udararoga (diseases of abdomen).There are 8 types of udara roga mentioned in ayurveda – Vatika, Paittika, Kaphaja, Sannipaatika, Pleehodara, Baddhodara, Kshatodara and Jalodara . Among Tridosha, the Prakupita Vata (aggravated Vata) gets accumulated in Udara between Twaka (skin) and Mamsa (muscles tissue) leading to Shotha (swelling); this is being termed as Udararoga. Vata is one of the prime causative factors in the manifestation of Udararoga. Along with the aggravated Vata, Agni (digestive fire) which is Manda (low) also causes Udararoga. Hence, there are multiple factors involved in the causation of Udararoga. In other terms, Udara is manifested because of vitiated Rasa Dhatu portion which gets extravagat from Koshtha and Grahani gets collected in Udara.
According to siddha literature the disease Ascites is reffered as “Magodharam” or “peruvayaru”.It is classified in to 32 types .This disease is mainly due to imbalances in vata, Pitta, kapha dosa. In this disease initial increase in vatapitta dosa stimulates udana vayu and produces symptoms like nausea, vomitting then samana vayu produces symptoms like indigestion.Finally at the end apana vayu gets affected and results in blockage of urine and faeces which results in the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.
At Haridra , our traditional Ayurveda / siddha treatment aims at improving digestion and improving constipation. For this condition traditionally prepared Ayurveda siddha medicines will be given along with diet restricions. Ayurvedic pancakarma therapies are also advised for removing toxins (accumulated dosas) from the body and also for improving agni (digestion).