Hepatitis (A, B, C) - Diagnosis & Treatment

How is viral hepatitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical examination to look for signs and symptoms of viral hepatitis. This may including feeling your abdomen to check if your liver is swollen, or examining your skin and eyes to see if there is jaundice.

You will have to undergo a blood test to diagnose the type of viral hepatitis.

A liver scan is usually required to check the structure of your liver. If significant liver damage is suspected, you may also be recommended a liver biopsy to assess the extent of disease and its impact on your liver function.

How is viral hepatitis treated?

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A infection is usually short-lived and will resolve by itself. Your doctor may recommend you to rest and manage your symptoms by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding alcohol consumption
  • Taking anti-nausea or anti-diarrhoea medication, if necessary

Hepatitis B

Treatment of hepatitis B will depend on your symptoms and stage of the disease. In most cases, acute hepatitis B infection will clear within 6 months without any treatment.

If your infection persists, your doctor may recommend:

  • Antiviral medication to help you fight the infection
  • Blood tests, including liver function tests and liver scans to monitor your disease progression
  • Going for a liver transplant to replace your diseased liver with a healthy liver (for advanced cases)

It is best to avoid taking alcohol or traditional medicines, as they may contribute to further liver damage.

Hepatitis C

Treatment of hepatitis C aims to clear the virus from your body and prevent or delay it from developing further complications. This typically includes:

  • Taking oral antiviral medication to cure the virus
  • Undergoing regular screening for liver cancer every 6 months, especially for hepatitis C carriers who have liver cirrhosis
  • Going for a liver transplant to replace your diseased liver with a healthy liver (for advanced cases)
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