Hepatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the liver. The most common cause is a virus. However, it can also appear due to infection or drug or alcohol use. There are five primary hepatitis viruses that are labeled A, B, C, D, and E. Types B and C are the most common causes of cancer and liver cirrhosis.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Hepatitis
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of hepatitis that’s causing them. Fatigue, mild fever, loss of appetite, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, and aching in the joint or muscles are commonly experienced. Other symptoms include:
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored stools
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Changes in mental function or coma
- Internal bleeding
- Feeling itchy sensations
Hepatitis B can cause pancreatitis which can include symptoms like radiating back pain, fever, severe pain in the upper abdomen, unexplained weight loss, and elevation of heart and respiratory rates. Chronic pancreatitis can also cause cancer and diabetes.
Treatment will vary based on the type of hepatitis the patient contracted. Bed rest and a special diet are usually recommended for type A. Type B may be treated with antiviral medication if it becomes chronic. Type C will also use drug therapies and may require a liver transplant should cirrhosis develop. Type D is treated with alpha interferon, and type E usually goes away on its own.
The best way to begin hepatitis treatment is with the help of your gastroenterologist. If you notice symptoms, get in touch with your doctor immediately to get a diagnosis.