Symptoms of Hepatitis C

By  , Expert Content
Mar 04, 2013

Hepatitis C infection does not cause symptoms in many of the infected cases. These people may never realise that they have been infected. Symptoms may occur a few weeks after being infected. About 1 in 4 people after infection develop symptoms during the initial first six months, this stage is known as acute hepatitis C.  In many people the initial symptoms are non-specific and often similar to flu.

Symptoms of acute hepatitis C infection

  • Fever (usually low-grade temperature)
  • Feeling tired (fatigue) or exhausted
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in abdomen
  • feeling sick and being sick
  • Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of skin and the whites of the eyes). About 1 in 5 people who do experience symptoms of acute hepatitis C develop jaundice.
  • Dark coloured urine (the colour of cola or tea)
  • Pale stools (greyish or clay coloured).

Symptoms of chronic hepatitis C infection

According to research in many people the immune system can successfully kill of the hepatitis C virus and eliminate the infection. These people experience no further symptoms (unless they become infected again) after resolution of acute symptoms. In some cases virus is not eliminated and persists inside the body for many years. This is known as chronic hepatitis.

Symptoms of hepatitis C vary from person to person. Some people may have minimal symptoms where as others may have significant impact on quality of life. In some cases the symptoms subside for long periods of time (remission) and then return.

Some of the common symptoms of chronic hepatitis C include:

  • feeling tired and exhausted most of the time and sleeping may fail to improve your energy levels
  • frequent headaches
  • depression and other mental health symptoms such as problems with short-term memory, concentration and doing complex mental tasks such as mental arithmetic (it is often describes as ‘having a brain fog’)
  • mood swings
  • indigestion and /or sensation of bloating
  • Frequent joint and muscle aches and pain
  • itchy skin
  • flu-like symptoms (similar to ones that occur in the acute phase of the infection)
  • abdominal pain and pain in the liver area (located on the right side of the abdomen, under the lower rib cage).


Read more articles on Hepatitis C.

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