Learn About Hepatitis

What is the definition of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver.

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What are the causes of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis can be caused by:

  • Immune cells in the body attacking the liver
  • Infections from viruses (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C), bacteria, or parasites
  • Liver damage from alcohol or poison
  • Medicines, such as an overdose of acetaminophen
  • Fatty liver

Liver disease can also be caused by inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis or hemochromatosis, a condition that involves having too much iron in your body.

Other causes include Wilson disease, a disorder in which the body retains too much copper.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis may start and get better quickly. It may also become a long-term condition. In some cases, hepatitis may lead to liver damage, liver failure, cirrhosis, or even liver cancer.

There are several factors that can affect how severe the condition is. These may include the cause of the liver damage and any illnesses you have. Hepatitis A, for example, is most often short-term and does not lead to chronic liver problems.

The symptoms of hepatitis include:

  • Pain or bloating in the belly area
  • Dark urine and pale or clay-colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Low grade fever
  • Itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss

You may not have symptoms when first infected with hepatitis B or C. You can still develop liver failure later. If you have any risk factors for either type of hepatitis, you should be tested often.

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What are the current treatments for Hepatitis?

Your health care provider will talk to you about treatment options. Treatments will vary, depending on the cause of your liver disease. You may need to eat a high-calorie diet if you are losing weight.

Who are the top Hepatitis Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Duke Specialty Infusion Center

Durham, NC 

Andrew Muir is a Gastroenterologist and a Hepatologist in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Muir has been practicing medicine for over 29 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Hepatitis. He is also highly rated in 22 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hepatitis C, Hepatitis, Sclerosing Cholangitis, and Cholangitis. He is board certified in Gastroenterology and licensed to treat patients in North Carolina. Dr. Muir is currently accepting new patients.

Highly rated in

Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center

Chicago, IL 

Steven Flamm is a Gastroenterologist in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Flamm has been practicing medicine for over 33 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Hepatitis. He is also highly rated in 24 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hepatitis C, Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, and Visceromegaly. He is board certified in Gastroenterology and licensed to treat patients in Illinois. Dr. Flamm is currently accepting new patients.

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Highly rated in
Infectious Disease

University Of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Houston, TX 

Harrys Torres is an Infectious Disease doctor in Houston, Texas. Dr. Torres has been practicing medicine for over 27 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Hepatitis. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hepatitis C, Hepatitis, Hepatitis B, and Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He is board certified in Infectious Disease and licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Torres is currently accepting new patients.

What are the support groups for Hepatitis?

There are support groups for people with all types of hepatitis. These groups can help you learn about the latest treatments and how to cope with having the disease.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Hepatitis?

The outlook for hepatitis will depend on what is causing the liver damage.

What are the possible complications of Hepatitis?

Complications may include:

  • Permanent liver damage, called cirrhosis
  • Liver failure
  • Liver cancer
When should I contact a medical professional for Hepatitis?

Seek care immediately if you:

  • Have symptoms from too much acetaminophen or other medicines. You may need to have your stomach pumped
  • Vomit blood
  • Have bloody or tarry stools
  • Are confused or delirious

Call your provider if:

  • You have any symptoms of hepatitis or believe that you have been exposed to hepatitis A, B, or C.
  • You cannot keep food down due to excessive vomiting. You may need to receive nutrition through a vein (intravenously).
  • You feel sick and have travelled to Asia, Africa, South America, or Central America.
How do I prevent Hepatitis?

Talk to your provider about having a vaccine to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Steps for preventing the spread of hepatitis B and C from one person to another include:

  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as razors or toothbrushes.
  • DO NOT share drug needles or other drug equipment (such as straws for snorting drugs).
  • Clean blood spills with a mixture of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water.
  • DO NOT get tattoos or body piercings with instruments that have not been cleaned properly.

To reduce your risk of spreading or catching hepatitis A:

  • Always wash your hands well after using the restroom, and when you come in contact with an infected person's blood, stools, or other bodily fluid.
  • Avoid unclean food and water.
Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis C
Liver anatomy
What are the latest Hepatitis Clinical Trials?
Real World Evidence of the Effectiveness and Clinical Practice Use of Glecaprevir/Pibrentasvir in DAA Treatment-Experienced Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Genotype 1 in Russian Federation (CHOICE)
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A Phase 3, Randomized, Double-Blind Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Fixed Dose Combination of Bictegravir/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Alafenamide Versus Dolutegravir + Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate in Treatment Naïve, HIV-1 and Hepatitis B Co-Infected Adults
What are the Latest Advances for Hepatitis?
Plug-assisted retrograde transvenous obliteration via gastrocaval shunt for the gastric variceal bleeding: A case report.
Comparison of the efficacy and safety of tenofovir and telbivudine in interrupting mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus.
Tired of the same old research?
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The Alaska Native/American Indian experience of hepatitis C treatment with sofosbuvir-based direct-acting antivirals.
What are our references for Hepatitis?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Guidelines for viral hepatitis surveillance and case management. www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/surveillanceguidelines.htm. Updated May 31, 2015. Accessed March 31, 2020.

Pawlotsky J-M. Chronic viral and autoimmune hepatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 140.

Takyar V, Ghany MG. Hepatitis A, B, D, and E. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2020. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:226-233.

Young J-A H, Ustun C. Infections in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplants. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 307.