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Hepatitis

The liver helps the body digest food, store energy and remove poisons. Hepatitis is a swelling and inflammation of the liver. It is not a condition, but is often used to refer to a viral infection of the liver. Hepatitis can lead to scarring, called cirrhosis, or to cancer. Drug or alcohol use can also lead to hepatitis.

The type of hepatitis is named for the virus that causes it; for example, hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. If a patient is negative for Hep A, B, and C but still has hepatitis they would need to find an underlying cause to the “general hepatitis” then treatment options can be decided. Hepatitis C is now curable. Some viral forms of hepatitis can be prevented by getting vaccinated. Sometimes hepatitis goes away by itself, otherwise it can be treated with medication. Sometimes hepatitis can last a lifetime.

Some individuals with hepatitis have no symptoms. Others may have:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark colored urine and pale bowel movements
  • Stomach pain
  • Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes

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