Daycap, I also want to welcome you to the forum. PG gave you some good info and advice. You probably should be on a diuretic if you are not now. If you ARE on one, you may need to increase the dosage. I have hep C, cirrhosis, and am a liver cancer survivor. I had terrible ascites and swelling of my lower extremities. It took awhile to get it under control, but it is now. I take 20 mg of Lasix and 100 mg of Aldactone daily. Also, it's very important to be on a low-sodium diet. Salt will cause fluid retention. You can substitute lemon juice or salt substitute. Meanwhile, you really should see a hepatologist to get blood work and perhaps a CT scan, so you can better know the condition your liver is in right now. You may need to be evaluated for transplant--or maybe not. You won't know unless you take your head out of the sand and get some professional care and advice.
BTW, you are right about the back pain being from the belly weight. Any woman who has been 9 mos. pregnent can relate to that. I also had low-back pain when my ascites was out of control.
Chris, fortunately food labels now list the amount of sodium. Become an avid label reader. Things to avoid would be canned foods and frozen dinners, club soda and some other sodas, cured meats like ham or jerky, potato chips and other snacks with lots of salt. If you buy canned beans, rinse them before using. That will get rid of some of the salt. But fresh or frozen veggies are best. Also lots of fresh fruit. My viral load is down to 38,000 from 300,000 in April. I can only attribute that to diet. Avoid red meat, as it is difficult for the liver to digest.
When you see a hepatologist, ask about being put on Lasix. It is a stronger diuretic. Since it depletes the body of potassium, you would also have to be on Aldactone or a potassium pill along with it.
I understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with hep C in '93. I wasn't able to tolerate treatment, so from '94 on, I just went about my business and didn't think about it much...except that I was so fatigued I could only work part-time. Then, in '05, I was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma on a routine sonogram. I knew hep C could lead to that, but never thought it could happen to me. So I've been where you are.
Chris, I'm not alone. There are thousands of others going through the same or much worse.
How about suggesting decreased hours at work...even if just an hour or two less a day, it could make a difference. When I initially went to P/T work, I worked 30 hours a week. I didn't take lunch. I'd have a Slim Fast shake at my desk. Most places require at least 35 hours to maintain health insurance. Are you insured? You also might want to start an application for SSI or SSD, especially if you get laid off.
Fatigue is the main symptom of any kind of liver disease. I sleep at least 10 hours and usually 12 at a stretch. However, the fatigue never completely goes away. Without sufficient sleep, I cannot function at all, though, so it's something I have to do.
Kierstin, thanks for that information. I did not know that salt substitutes have potassium.
I didn't suggest drainings as I thought his doctor might want to increase his diuretic or change to a different one first, along with a low-salt diet, before taking that step. They will normally want to try conservative measures first. But it is something that he might mention to his hepatologist, once he makes an appt. with one.
I don't think draining is painful, but I'll let Rick or someone else confirm that.
If you can tolerate spicy foods, there's no reason you can't eat them. Or add spice to your foods to substitute for salt. Since my hernia surgeries, my palate changed and I cannot tolerate anything too spicy now. Weird.
It's unbelievable how much sodium is in our food. Definitely don't add more at the table or when cooking, if possible. I just checked the label on my Barilla Angelhair Pasta and it says 0 sodium. It's what you put on the pasta that usually has sodium, such as sauce made from canned tomatoes--and, especially, cheese. It's a matter of training the palate. Once you get accustomed to eating less salt, things that are salty will taste REALLY salty to you and not palatable. Same with sweets. Try to purchase lower-sodium foods or salt-free, labeled as such.
Yep, stay away from the chips. Haven't heard of Solo soda here. Did you check the sodium level of it? I drink spring water and Sprite Zero which has no calories and no caffeine and is very low-sodium. I also drink green tea. Sweets are my downfall and I have to watch them these days as they will pack on the pounds.
Chris, I'm so glad that you got treatment and are feeling better. When I was bothered by fluid in my legs, I found it helped to walk. If I sat too long, my ankles and calves would swell. Some find that happens with walking, but for me it helps.
Let us know how your tests come out!