Hepatitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

An inflammation or swelling of the liver is a medical condition called hepatitis.


Hepatitis can be developed by:

  • Medication overuse such as over dosage intake of acetaminophen or other drugs
  • Liver being attacked by the immune cells in the body
  • Liver damage from poison or alcohol
  • Infections from other viruses such as hepatitis C, A, or B, parasites or bacteria

Inherited disorders such as hemochromatosis, which is a condition that holds too much iron in the body or cystic fibrosis, can also cause liver disease. Another disorder that can lead to liver disease is Wilson’s disease wherein too much copper is retained in the body.


Hepatitis may begin and heal quickly. It may also turn into a chronic condition that will stay with you forever. Liver cancer, liver damage, and liver failure are some of the cases that are caused by hepatitis.

Usually, it is hepatitis A that has a shorter term and does not develop into chronic liver conditions. However, it should be noted that if you have existing illnesses including the ones that may have caused some damage to the liver, acquiring hepatitis may give additional severe health conditions.

Some of the symptoms of hepatitis may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Bloating or pain in the abdominal area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Clay-colored or pale stools and dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Low fever
  • Jaundice
  • Itching

When first infected with hepatitis B or C, you may not show any symptoms. It will still later lead to liver failure. Tests should always be done often if you have risks conditions for these two types of hepatitis.

Tests and examinations

A physical exam is needed to look for:

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
  • Tender and enlarged liver
  • Ascites or fluid in the abdomen

Lab tests to monitor and diagnose the condition of the liver may include:

  • If fluid is present in the abdomen, a paracentesis is needed
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal area
  • Liver biopsy to check for damages in the liver
  • Autoimmune blood markers
  • Liver function tests
  • Diagnostic tests for Hepatitis A, B, or C


Options in a treatment program will be discussed with you by your health provider. Treatments will be varied, depending on the causes that led to the liver disease. If you have lost weight, a high-calorie diet may be recommended.


  • Liver cancer
  • Cirrhosis, which is permanent liver damage
  • Liver failure

Contacting a medical professional

Help must be immediately sought if you have these symptoms:

  • Delirious and confused
  • Have too much of medicines such as acetaminophen and showing symptoms for the overdose.
  • Have tarry or bloody stools
  • Vomit blood

The doctor also needs to be called if:

  • You have just come from a travel from Central America, Asia, South America, and Africa and now feel sick
  • You think you have been exposed to hepatitis A, B or C as you are showing the symptoms

Excessive vomiting cannot keep food in your stomach.

What You Should Know About Hepatitis?

Inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis which is caused by viruses that can develop to serious health conditions. The virus comes from different types such as A, B, C, D, E, and G.

The viral hepatitis types that are most common are hepatitis A, B, and C. They are all infectious.

Hepatitis A

Humans are the only source of Hepatitis A virus and have the only reservoir for the infection. Infection happens through contact with feces of an individual infected with the virus either directly such as sexual intercourse or person to person, or indirectly through water and food intake coming from sources contaminated with the virus. The infection could also be transferred from blood products. Most people recover from the infection on their own. There is no medication for hepatitis A. Vaccination is the only preventive weapon against it.

Hepatitis B


  • Sharing of personal things with an infected person such as drug paraphernalia, toothbrushes, needles, razors, and nail clippers.
  • Contact with contaminated organs and blood.
  • Infected mother to her baby during childbirth.


  • Many infected people, even those with serious cases do not show any symptoms.
  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine

Preventive measures:

  • Avoid sharing of personal items that might have blood contamination such as nail clippers, toothbrushes, needles, and razors.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Safe sex practices

Hepatitis C


  • Infection can be transmitted through sharing personal things with an infected individual such as razors, needles, toothbrushes, and nail clippers.
  • Direct contact with blood products and blood.
  • Can be passed through sexual contact although it is not very common
  • Passed by an infected mother to baby during childbirth.


  • Fatigue
  • Most cases of Hepatitis C do not show any symptoms
  • Dark urine
  • Could sometimes have jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feelings of uneasiness
  • Loss of appetite

Preventive measures:

Personal items that can possibly acquire contaminated blood should never be shared with an infected person such as needles, toothbrushes, nail clippers, and razors.

Hepatitis D


  • Although found mostly in adults, there is still a possibility of an infected mother passing on the infection to the baby during childbirth
  • Almost always found in developing countries
  • Most often passed through contaminated food or water
  • Passed through fecal-oral route where an infected stool is ingested through food prepared from unwashed hands


  • 90% of Hepatitis E infected children do not show any symptoms
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine
  • Feelings of uneasiness
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite

Preventive measures:

  • Be extra vigilant when on a travel to developing countries
  • Hands should be washed properly before preparing food or before and after eating

Hepatitis G


No symptoms have been reported for this infection.


  • Sexual intercourse can pass the infection
  • Often teams up with other infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B
  • May be passed from an infected mother to baby during birth
  • Sharing of personal things that gets contaminated with the virus
  • Passed through infected blood products and blood

Preventive measures:

  • Safe sex practices

Do not share personal things.