Hepatitis C Definition and Transmission
Hepatitis C is a serious liver infection caused by a virus. While many infected with hepatitis C do not know it, around 3 million Americans have the disease. Most people with the hepatitis C virus do not exhibit any symptoms and they are not aware of it for many years, until they discover severe liver damage and inflammation.
The hepatitis C virus is spread by blood or bodily fluids. It is most commonly spread by sharing infected needles, but it can also be spread by sexual intercourse (typically if you already have an STD like HIV). A blood test can confirm if you have hepatitis C.
Find out more about other sexually transmitted diseases here.
Symptoms of Hepatitis C (Hep C)
Again, many people with hepatitis C do not demonstrate physical symptoms until many years later. There are some symptoms that occur a few months after being exposed to the hepatitis C virus, including:
- Stomach pain
- Muscle pains and aches
- Dark-colored urine
- Jaundice, or yellow colored skin and eyes
If you exhibit any of the above symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Because hepatitis C causes liver inflammation and damage, symptoms of liver damage will appear years after one is infected with the virus. These symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Bleeding and bruising easily
- Swelling in the legs
- Strange, spidery-looking blood vessels
- Hepatic encephalopathy, which is a condition caused by liver damage that results in slurred speech and drowsiness
Treatments for the Hepatitis C Virus
There are antiviral drugs that can clear the hepatitis C virus out of your bloodstream. However, these antiviral treatments take a long time to take effect (around 12 weeks) and often have side effects like fatigue and headache. One antiviral pill, Harvoni is an effective daily drug that has performed well, yet it is expensive. Talk to your doctor to see discuss hepatitis C treatment options and work on a plan that fits your lifestyle and insurance coverage best.
<h2>Schedule an appointment with Advanced Urology in the Chicago area</h2>
Don’t wait to see a doctor if you worry that you’ve been exposed to the hepatitis C virus. The experts at Advanced Urology Associates specialize in sexually transmitted diseases in both men and women. For more information, call us at 815.409.4930. We offer services near Chicago, Joliet, Frankfort, New Lenox, Morris, and Naperville, Illinois.
Please visit any of our locations in the Chicagoland area:
Advanced Urology Morris
1401 Lakewood Dr. Unit 3
Morris, IL 60450
Advanced Urology Silver Cross Location
1890 Silver Cross Blvd.
Pavilion A, Ste. 430
New Lenox, IL 60451
Advanced Urology AUA Prostate Cancer Center
1541 Riverboat Center Drive
Joliet, IL 60431