Gastrointestinal bleeding is often the first sign of portal hypertension. Black, tarry stools can be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding. You may also actually see blood in your stools. Another symptom is ascites, which is a buildup of fluid in your belly. You may notice that your belly is getting bigger because of ascites. The condition can also cause cramps, bloating, and shortness of breath. As well, becoming forgetful or confused could be a result of a circulation problem related to your liver.