What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C can either be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis C infections are short-term and occur within the first six months after exposure to the infection. About 70 to 80 percent of those infected with acute hepatitis C do not experience symptoms. Others experience symptoms that range from mild to severe and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
About 15 to 20 percent of those with acute hepatitis C infections will recover and clear the virus from their bodies. The rest of those infected with hepatitis C will develop a chronic infection. Most people with chronic hepatitis C do not display symptoms and are unaware they have the virus since they do not look or feel sick. However, people infected for many years may develop liver damage or scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).
Hepatitis C symptoms in men and women:
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and fatigue
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of your eyes
Getting an Hepatitis C test
If experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of hepatitis C—or any signs and symptoms of STDs, take a hepatitis C test. If a past or present sexual partner has the disease, undergo hepatitis C testing—even if no symptoms for STDs are present. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends hepatitis C testing for the following groups:
- Current or former injection drug users
- Those with abnormal liver tests for liver disease
- Anyone treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
- Anyone who received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
- People who work in healthcare or public safety and have been exposed to blood
- Anyone infected with HIV
Getting a test for hepatitis C is the only way to verify diagnosis. Left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to health complications including liver damage. When caught early with a test for hepatitis C, the infection can be more easily managed and treated.