Many people with hepatitis C don't have any symptoms and are unaware they have the infection. They may develop symptoms later on as their liver becomes increasingly damaged.
Only aroundone inevery three or four people will have any symptoms during the first six months of a hepatitis C infection. This stage is known as acute hepatitis C.
If symptoms do develop, they usually occura few weeks afterinfection. Symptoms may include:
Aroundone in everyfive people who experiences symptomswill also have yellowing of the eyes and skin. This is known as jaundice .
In around one ineveryfourpeople infected with hepatitis C, the immune system will kill the virus within a few months andthe person will have no further symptoms, unless they become infected again.
In the remaining cases, the virus persists inside the body for many years. This is known as chronic hepatitis.
The symptoms of long-term (chronic) hepatitis C can vary widely. In some people, symptoms may be barely noticeable. In others, they can have a significant impact on their quality of life.
The symptoms can also go away for long periods of time and then return.
Some of the most commonproblems experienced by people with chronic hepatitis C include:
If left untreated, the infection can eventually causethe liverto become scarred (cirrhosis) . Signs of cirrhosis can include jaundice, vomiting blood, dark stools, and a build-up of fluid in the legs or abdomen.
They may recommend having a blood test that can check for hepatitis C.
This particularly includes people who inject drugs or have done so in the past.
Read about the causes of hepatitis C for more information about who's at risk of having the infection.
Read about hepatitis C, a virus that can infect and damage the liver. Find out about the symptoms, causes and treatments for the condition.
Read about the main symptoms of a hepatitis C infection and find out when you should seek medical advice.
Read about the main ways you can become infected with the hepatitis C virus.
Read about who should get tested for hepatitis C and what the test involves.
Read about the main treatments for hepatitis C, including the different medicines that may be used and what lifestyle changes you can make.
Read about the main complications of hepatitis C, including scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer.
Read answers to questions about living with hepatitis C, including questions about lifestyle changes, diet, travelling and having a baby.