MediFind
Condition

Hepatitis

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver.

What are the causes for 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 for 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.

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.

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 for 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
Hepatitis
Liver

REFERENCES

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.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Hepatitis B Virus-Related Cirrhosis
  • Journal: BMC gastroenterology
  • Treatment Used: Entecavir plus Thymosin Alpha-1 Combination Therapy versus Entecavir
  • Number of Patients: 1144
  • Published —
The study compared the outcomes between entecavir plus thymosin alpha-1 combination therapy versus entecavir alone for treating hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Viral Hepatitis C
  • Journal: BMC gastroenterology
  • Treatment Used: Direct-Acting Antiviral Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 80
  • Published —
This study investigated the use of direct-acting antiviral therapy to treat patients with viral hepatitis C.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
Diagnostic Test
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Study Type: Diagnostic Test
  • Participants: 200
  • Start Date: October 2021
Emergency Department Patient's Perceptions and Acceptability Toward a Novel Point-of-Care Hepatitis C Virus Viral Load Testing
Clinical Trial
Drug
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 20
  • Start Date: March 2021
Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Theophylline for Attenuation of Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Depressive Symptoms