Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are five different types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, and E; hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common in the U.S. Hepatitis can be caused by alcoholism, medication, toxins, and viral pathogens. Hepatitis B can either be acute – short-term – or chronic, which means the disease is lifelong. There is a vaccination to protect people against hepatitis B, including infants. Eagle’s Landing OB/GYN offers hepatitis B viral screening. Let’s talk more about this condition.
Can I Get Hepatitis B?
Anyone can get hepatitis B, but some people are more at risk than others depending on their vocation and lifestyle. Hepatitis B is spread through bodily fluids, including blood and semen, making it more transmittable to healthcare workers and those who are sexually promiscuous. Common ways hepatitis B is spread include from mother to infant, from a sexual partner, from shared needles, from shared toiletries (i.e., razors or toothbrushes), direct blood contact, or sharp instruments.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?
The reason why hepatitis B can be spread so easily is that chronic sufferers rarely exhibit any symptoms and could be spreading the disease without even realizing it. Those who have contracted acute (short-term) hepatitis B will often suffer from
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
- Dark-yellow urine
- Fever that won’t go away
- Gray-colored stools
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
- Joint pain
Generally, these symptoms will show up approximately 90 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. This said, the virus can lay dormant for as long as five months. Acute patients are usually sick for about six months. Chronic patients most exhibit some of the symptoms at some point.
Can Hepatitis B Be Treated?
Unfortunately, acute hepatitis B does not have a medicinal cure. Those who suffer from acute hepatitis B should get plenty of hydration, nutrition, and rest. Acute patients suffering from severe symptoms might need to be hospitalized. Chronic sufferers can take prescription medication to help with their condition, but it’s important to note that this medication only helps with the symptoms; it does not provide a cure. Anyone with hepatitis B should stop drinking and take care of his or her liver.
Call Eagles Landing OB/GYN if you would like to schedule a hepatitis B screening. The earlier we detect this viral condition, the sooner we can recommend the appropriate treatment plan.