Severe liver disease (such as cirrhosis) causes retain fluid retention.
Cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood through the liver, thus increasing pressure in the veins that bring blood from the intestines and spleen to the liver. This so-called portal hypertension can cause fluid to accumulate in the legs and in the abdomen (ascites). Leg swelling and ascites may also result from the inability of the liver to make enough of certain blood proteins, such as albumin. Low albumin levels increase fluid retention.