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General Practice 2023

10 symptoms of hepatitis (and how to get it)

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10 symptoms of hepatitis (and how to get it)
10 symptoms of hepatitis (and how to get it)

Hepatitis symptoms usually appear between 15 to 45 days after contact with the hepatitis virus, in the case of viral hepatitis, which can happen due to unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing syringes and needles or drinking water or food contaminated with the virus. In the case of hepatitis caused by drugs, alcohol or autoimmune diseases, symptoms appear as the liver becomes inflamed. The main symptoms of hepatitis are:

  1. Yellow skin and eyes;
  2. Yellow, gray and whitish stools;
  3. Dark urine;
  4. Pain in upper belly;
  5. Constant low fever;
  6. Loss of appetite;
  7. Feeling sick or dizzy frequently;
  8. Frequent tiredness;
  9. Swollen belly.
  10. Joint pain.

In the presence of signs and symptoms possibly indicative of hepatitis, it is important that the general practitioner, hepatologist or infectious disease specialist be consulted, as it is possible for the diagnosis to be made and the most appropriate treatment initiated, which usually involves rest, light diet and use of antiviral drugs, in some cases.


Symptom Test

To know the risk of having hepatitis, select the symptoms you present in the calculator below:

  1. 1. Pain in the upper right region of the belly Yes No
  2. 2. Yellowish eye or skin color Yes No
  3. 3. Yellow, gray or whitish stools Yes No
  4. 4. Dark urine Yes No
  5. 5. Constant low fever Yes No
  6. 6. Joint pain Yes No
  7. 7. Loss of appetite Yes No
  8. 8. Frequent feeling sick or dizzy Yes No
  9. 9. Easy fatigue for no apparent reason Yes No
  10. 10. Swollen belly Yes No


Make an appointment with a specialist


It is important to see a doctor when more than one of these symptoms appears, especially if you have yellow skin and eyes, dark urine and pale stools, swelling in your belly and upper right abdominal pain. In these cases, the doctor may order blood tests, ultrasound or computed tomography in order to evaluate the functioning of the liver and check for signs of change. Learn more about tests that evaluate the liver.

How to get hepatitis

Hepatitis can be transmitted in several ways and the main ways of contagion include:

  • Contact with contaminated blood;
  • Contact with feces with the virus;
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse;
  • Consumption of contaminated water and food;
  • Use of non-sterile materials to make tattoos, piercings or nails, for example.

Furthermore, hepatitis can also result from abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs and medications or be a consequence of autoimmune diseases. Thus, treatment may vary according to the cause of hepatitis, severity of symptoms and form of infection, and the doctor may recommend that the person rest, drink plenty of water and have a balanced, low-fat diet. See more details on treatment for each type of hepatitis.

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