Hepatitis Specialist

Digestive Disorders Associates and MDTEC

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD

Hepatitis infections can result in liver failure, and in the case of hepatitis C the infection can prove fatal. At Digestive Disorders Associates in Annapolis, Chester, and Gambrills/Waugh Chapel, Maryland, the team of providers are experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of the hepatitis virus. They create a custom treatment plan to reduce your symptoms and protect your liver. Whether you’re in the beginning stages of hepatitis or already have signs of liver damage, you can rely on the comprehensive care of the Digestive Disorders Associates team. Call or use online booking to schedule a consultation.

Hepatitis Q & A

What is hepatitis?

The liver is the largest organ of your body that digests food, stores energy, and removes toxins from your system. Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes an inflammatory condition in the liver.

 

There are three main types of the hepatitis virus:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Drug and alcohol use may also cause liver damage that leads to a condition known as drug-induced hepatitis.


What is the difference between the types of hepatitis?

Hepatitis A comes from the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and is often spread through contact with the feces of an infected person. This contact can come from eating food prepared by a person who didn’t wash their hands or through consuming contaminated water.

Hepatitis B comes from the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is spread through sexual or direct contact with infected bodily fluids. An infected mother can also pass the virus on to her baby during childbirth.

Hepatitis C is the result of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It spreads through contact with infected blood. Generally, hepatitis C spreads through sexual contact, or during childbirth if the mother has the infection.

In drug-induced hepatitis, over-the-counter or prescription medications can lead to liver damage. If your liver breaks down medications slowly, or you take a lot of medications, it can result in chronic inflammation.


What are the symptoms of hepatitis?

Many of the symptoms of hepatitis are the same regardless of the virus type. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue

With hepatitis C, symptoms may not be noticeable for several months after the infection. Usually, within six months of contracting the virus, you start to feel flu-like symptoms that start out mild and worsen over time.


What treatment options are available for hepatitis?

With hepatitis A and B, there is no specific cure or treatment to address the virus. In most cases, you have to let the virus run its course in your body. You might feel sick for several months before your immune system can fight off the infection on its own.

 Healing your liver involves getting plenty of rest and eating a well-balanced diet. You should also avoid acetaminophen and alcohol and discuss the use of vitamins and other medications with your provider at Digestive Disorders Associates before adding them to your routine.

To minimize your risk for developing hepatitis A and B, you can get a vaccination. There’s currently no vaccinations for hepatitis C, but there are effective medications available that can treat your liver depending on the stage of your disease. Your provider at Digestive Disorders Associates creates a customized treatment plan that includes one or more prescription medications to improve your liver health.

To learn more, call the nearest office in Alexandria, Chester, or Gambrills/Waugh Chapel, Maryland, or use online booking to schedule a consultation today.