Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland

Gastroenterologists located in New City, NY

Your liver plays several important roles, including helping with digestion, storing energy, and removing waste from your body. Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, can affect liver function and eventually lead to damage. If you’ve been exposed to hepatitis, the experienced team at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland, in New City, New York, can help you manage the disease and keep your liver healthy. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.

Hepatitis Q & A

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which results from exposure to a virus. The type of virus that causes your hepatitis may determine your symptoms and the severity of your condition. Types of viral hepatitis include:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A exposure spreads through contaminated food and water. This type of hepatitis goes away on its own and doesn’t cause long-term liver damage.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B spreads through bodily fluids, usually from sex or intravenous drug use. In some cases, it can cause serious damage to your liver if left untreated.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C spreads through blood. Usually, it affects people who use intravenous drugs. It may go away on its own but can cause permanent liver damage.

There are vaccines that effectively prevent hepatitis A or B. However, there’s no vaccine for hepatitis C.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis?

Your hepatitis symptoms may vary in both type and severity. Hepatitis may be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). The hepatitis B and C viruses can cause both acute and chronic infections. 

Some people have acute hepatitis and don’t experience any symptoms, so the infection may pass unnoticed. Chronic forms of the disease may take months, or even years, to cause symptoms.

Schedule an appointment at Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine or pale bowel movements

When left untreated, hepatitis can cause lasting damage to your liver, including cirrhosis (scarring). These symptoms may also be a sign of other forms of liver disease, including fatty liver.

How is hepatitis treated?

Treatment for hepatitis depends on the type:

Hepatitis A

There’s no medication to target the hepatitis A infection, and the infection usually passes by itself within six months. Your doctor can help you manage symptoms like nausea and fever.

Hepatitis B

Acute hepatitis B infections clear up on their own, but your doctor recommends rest, hydration, and nutrition to feel your best while the infection runs its course. 

If you have chronic hepatitis B, your doctor prescribes antiviral medication and closely monitors your liver for signs of damage or disease.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C usually responds to antiviral medication within 8-12 weeks. If you’ve experienced significant liver damage, you may need an organ transplant.

To get expert care for hepatitis, call Gastrointestinal Associates of Rockland today or book an appointment online.