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Understanding the Different Types of Hepatitis

Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver and is often caused by a virus that attacks the organ. Hepatitis is not one illness, but a set of several different types labeled as A, B, C, D, E, and possibly G.

Hepatitis types A, B, and C are the most common. Read on to understand each type, the symptoms, and treatment.

General symptoms of hepatitis

All types of hepatitis share some of the same symptoms. These include:

Hepatitis B may also cause achy joints. Vaccines for types A and B are available; there is no current vaccine for type C.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a short-term illness that doesn’t lead to long-term infection. You usually get it from eating or drinking something that has traces of the virus. While no medication can cure hepatitis A you can expect to heal in about two months. At Digestive Disorders Associates, we monitor your liver as you heal, but complications are rare.

Hepatitis B

You can usually recover from hepatitis B in about 6 months, but sometimes it can lead to long-term liver damage. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread the disease through unprotected sex and by sharing dirty needles. It can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy and delivery.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C usually does cause long-term infections and liver damage. It’s transmitted through sharing dirty needles or exposing yourself to infected blood. In some rare cases, it may be transmitted through unprotected sex.

Viral types D, E, and G

Although hepatitis types A, B, and C are the most common, some people can develop strains D, E, or G. 

Hepatitis D can only occur in the presence of hepatitis B; it’s small and spread through sexual contact or exposure to infected blood. A hepatitis D infection can occur at the same time as hepatitis B infection or develop later. Hepatitis D causes cirrhosis of the liver to develop. We do everything possible to help treat this co-infection, but it is quite tricky.

Hepatitis E is similar to hepatitis A and is usually acquired by contact with contaminated water – usually overseas in Asia. 

Hepatitis G was only recently discovered. It’s similar to hepatitis C, and its impact on human health is still unclear.

Treatment plans

If you come to Digestive Disorders Associates with acute viral hepatitis, such as type A, we work hard to alleviate your symptoms of stomach pain and nausea. Your liver is treated with care, as it’s not working as it should and is more sensitive to processing drugs due to inflammation.

If you develop chronic hepatitis C or B, combinations of medications are used to try to eliminate the virus. This can stop continued damage to the liver, preventing serious complications such as liver cancer, liver failure, and cirrhosis.

If you suspect you may have an infection of the liver, seek care right away. Call our office in Annapolis, Maryland, or click “schedule now” to make an appointment using the online tool today. 

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