Hepatitis affects the liver. It is the inflammation of the liver caused typically by a viral infection which can stem from a number of reasons. Hepatitis can result from infections from viruses, bacteria, or parasites. It can also be the result of damage to the liver caused by alcohol, fungi, or other poisoning. Medications can also cause the inflammation of the liver when taken in excess.
Symptoms of hepatitis may become chronic and long term or they may appear and seem to resolve very quickly. There are several factors that can influence how severe hepatitis becomes. Hepatitis A, for example, is usually a short-term condition. The other levels of hepatitis can lead to chronic liver problems including liver failure or liver cancer.
Some of the most common symptoms of hepatitis include the distention of the stomach and pain in the abdominal region. Dark urine output may indicate a problem in the liver. Jaundice, the yellowing of the eyes and skin may also be an indication something is wrong with the liver. Some patients may also develop a low grade fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, nausea, and the development of breasts in male sufferers.
Those with hepatitis B or C may not show symptoms of infection at first. Liver failure may occur later so it is very important to be tested for hepatitis if you are at risk. The doctor can do a number of tests to determine issues with the liver and diagnose hepatitis. A physical exam can help detect an enlarged liver or fluids in the abdomen which can become infected. Additional testing may include an ultrasound, liver function testing, blood work, or a liver biopsy.
Treatment may involve a number of actions including a change in diet and medication. Depending on the severity of the condition and the status of your liver, your physician will discuss your options for preventing additional liver damage and liver failure.