Hepatitis C is a virus that may cause serious liver damage if left untreated. In the acute hepatitis C infection stage (when you first contract hep C), it often doesn’t present any symptoms at all. However, for other patients early symptoms of hepatitis C often include mild flu-like symptoms. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of hepatitis C to look out for:
Experts can’t pinpoint exactly why people get fatigued from hepatitis C. There are a few theories, however, fatigue is common with many viral infections. Medications that fight the hepatitis C virus can also cause fatigue. Newer medications known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) don’t cause as much fatigue as the old medicines used to, but it can still cause some amount of fatigue in some people.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection. For people who display symptoms, some of the earliest symptoms can mimic those of the flu. This includes a fever. Viruses release a chemical in your blood called pyrogens which results in a rise in your body temperature, known as a fever.
3. Fluid buildup in the abdomen
Damage to the liver starts a chain reaction. The liver produces many chemicals that are needed by the body, including albumin. Albumin is responsible for keeping the fluids in your blood from leaking into nearby tissues. When the liver is damaged, albumin production is compromised. This can lead to fluid buildup in the abdomen.
4. Abdominal pain
Abdomen pain can happen for two different reasons. Liver produces bile which is a fluid that is stored in the gallbladder. Without bile, the gallbladder can become inflamed, causing belly pain. Some of the pain can also come from fluid buildup in the abdomen.
5. Clay-colored poop
The chain reaction continues with poop discoloration. Bile is a yellowish-green color and flows through the large intestine to help breakdown waste. Interacting with enzymes in the large intestine turns bile brown. Bile gives poop its brownish color so a lack of bile can make poop clay-colored or even white.
When someone has hepatitis C for an extended period (in the area of 20 to 30 years), they can develop jaundice. This is a yellowing of the skin, nails, and eyes. It’s a symptom of a condition called cirrhosis which is a scarring of the liver. In this case, the scarring comes from hepatitis C.