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Hepatitis C

Also called: HCV

Summary

Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. One type, hepatitis C, is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It usually spreads through contact with infected blood. It can also spread through sex with an infected person and from mother to baby during childbirth.

Most people who are infected with hepatitis C don't have any symptoms for years. If you do get symptoms, you may feel as if you have the flu. You may also have jaundice, a yellowing of skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, and pale bowel movements. A blood test can tell if you have it. Usually, hepatitis C does not get better by itself. The infection can last a lifetime and may lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. Medicines sometimes help, but side effects can be a problem. Serious cases may need a liver transplant.

There is no vaccine for HCV.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Diagnosis and Tests

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

Living With

  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (American College of Gastroenterology) - PDF

Related Issues

  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (American College of Rheumatology) Also in
  • (Hepatitis Foundation International) - PDF
  • (AIDS.gov)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF Also in
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (AIDSinfo) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Immunization Action Coalition) - PDF Also in

Health Check Tools

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts