Hepatitis C Symptoms
In the case of hepatitis C, symptoms are relatively rare in the early stages of the disease. In fact, many people with the disease have no symptoms, even after many years. When cirrhosis develops as a result of the disease, symptoms may include exhaustion, weight loss, weakness, and abdominal pain. If hepatitis C results in liver failure, signs and symptoms may include bleeding in the intestines, slowing of mental function, and itchy skin.
Approximately 80 percent of people with hepatitis C have no symptoms of the disease -- even after many years. You can look and feel perfectly healthy, yet still be infected with the disease and infect others. Most patients do not have symptoms of hepatitis C until there is already cirrhosis, or even liver failure.
In the early stages of hepatitis C, the liver first becomes inflamed, or swollen. The hepatitis C virus is damaging the liver cells, which alerts your immune system to send in several of its defenses.
While the liver tries to repair itself, scar tissue is forming at the same time. This is called fibrosis.
During this stage, most people do not have early hepatitis symptoms.
If a person does have hepatitis C symptoms, he or she may:
- Feel tired
- Feel sick to their stomach
- Not feel like eating
- Have a fever
- Have stomach pain
- Experience a dull pain or feeling of heaviness on the right side.
The person may also have yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or dark urine.