Dr. Rajalakshmi VK (AIIMS)MBBS

December 04, 2018

March 06, 2020


What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the largest organ of the body, the liver. The liver is a vital organ which helps in digesting food, storing energy and removing toxins from the body. Acute hepatitis can last for up to 6 weeks, while chronic hepatitis may persist for a lifetime. There are several kinds of hepatitis, including:

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The main symptoms of hepatitis include:

What are its main causes?

Hepatitis can occur due to a wide number of causes ranging from genetic to viral infections.

  • Viral infection with hepatitis A, B, C, D or E viruses
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Autoimmune diseases due to genetic or environmental factors
  • Metabolic diseases like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis due to excess fat accumulation on liver
  • Excessive intake of pain-relief and fever-reducing medications

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Hepatitis is diagnosed using blood tests and liver biopsy (analysis of a tissue sample taken from the liver). Other tests may be performed to detect the presence of antibodies in the blood. Blood tests are specific for each kind of hepatitis.

Acute hepatitis is mostly eased with the help of bed rest and medications. Abstaining from alcohol and fat-rich diets will help in resolving the symptoms faster. In extreme cases, where much damage has been caused to the liver leading to liver cirrhosis or liver failure, liver transplant may be required.

It is important to note that viral hepatitis B, C are diseases which can spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. Hence, avoid sharing personal items belonging to the infected person (toothbrushes, razors, etc). Sexual contact (contact with vaginal fluid or semen) can also transmit the virus, and hence the use of condoms is important to prevent spread.

 Vaccination is available for hepatitis B and is compulsory in our country for every new-born child. Hepatitis A vaccine is also compulsory.


  1. National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health. Colorectal Cancer. Alzheimer’s Association
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Hepatitis
  3. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Hepatitis
  4. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Hepatitis
  5. Zuckerman AJ. Hepatitis Viruses. In: Baron S, Hepatitis Viruses. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996. Chapter 70.

Medicines for Hepatitis

Medicines listed below are available for Hepatitis. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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