What Are the Four Symptoms of Hepatitis?

Reviewed on 6/22/2022

What Are the Types of Hepatitis?

Illustration of hepatitis C virus affecting the liver
Early on, hepatitis may not cause any symptoms. Four common symptoms of hepatitis A, B, or C may include flu-like illness early on, tiredness/fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever.

Hepatitis is an infection and inflammation of the liver. There are several types of infectious hepatitis, caused by different viruses. Some types of hepatitis, particularly hepatitis B, are transmitted sexually. 

There are three main viral types of hepatitis: 

  • Hepatitis A
    • A short-term infection 
    • Most people recover without treatment within about 2 months
    • Can be prevented with a vaccine
    • Transmitted through fecal-oral contamination of food or water or direct contact with an infected person
  • Hepatitis B
    • Can cause acute or chronic infection
    • Most patients recover within 6 months but some develop a long-term infection that can result in liver damage
    • Can be prevented with a vaccine
    • More commonly transmitted through sexual contact and injection-drug use 
    • People who have multiple sex partners, along with sex partners of people with chronic hepatitis B infection are at highest risk 
  • Hepatitis C
    • Can cause acute or chronic infection that can lead to liver damage and severe scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver and increased risk of liver cancer
    • No preventive vaccine available
    • Transmitted through sexual activity, though it is uncommon
    • People who have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), have sex with multiple partners, and engage in anal sex are at increased risk for contracting hepatitis C

Other types of viral hepatitis include hepatitis D, which only develops in people who have hepatitis B, and hepatitis E, which is more common in parts of the developing world where there is poor sanitation. 

Early on, hepatitis may not cause any symptoms. Four common symptoms of hepatitis A, B, or C may include: 

Other symptoms of hepatitis A, B, or C may include: 

Additional symptoms of hepatitis A may also include:

Most people with hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. Additional symptoms of hepatitis C may also include:

Over time, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections can lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). Symptoms of cirrhosis include:

  • Swelling in the belly and legs, and fluid build-up in the lungs
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion that may start suddenly
  • Coma
  • Increased risk of developing liver cancer

What Is the Treatment for Hepatitis?

Each type of hepatitis is treated differently. 

Hepatitis A often goes away on its own. Home treatment to help the liver recover may include: 

  • Rest
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Avoiding medicines that can be harmful to the liver
    • Never stop taking a prescribed medication without first talking to your doctor

Hepatitis B often goes away on its own in about 6 months, and can also be treated at home with the above remedies. Other treatments for hepatitis B include: 

  • Antiviral medications 
  • Regular monitoring for signs of liver damage
  • Liver transplant in severe cases

Medications for hepatitis C are effective in certain forms of the hepatitis C virus. The choice of medications depends on the type of hepatitis C you have, whether you have been treated for the illness before, how much liver damage has occurred, any other underlying medical issues, and other medicines you take. Treatment for hepatitis C usually involves 8 to 12 weeks of oral antiviral medications.

QUESTION

Hepatitis C virus causes an infection of the ______________. See Answer

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Reviewed on 6/22/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hepatitis-a-the-basics?search=hepatitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hepatitis-b-the-basics?search=hepatitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=3

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hepatitis-c-the-basics?search=hepatitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=4~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=4

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/populations/stds.htm