Hepatitis C Symptoms

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, Mar. 28, 2017

How would I know if I have hepatitis C?

You can have hepatitis C and not know it. In fact, 80% of people with the disease do not feel or see anything different. Most of the time, hepatitis C is diagnosed accidentally, usually during a routine exam or when giving blood. A test is often the only way to know if you are infected. The hepatitis C virus is detected with a blood test that looks for antibodies to the infection.

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Most common hepatitis C symptoms

  • No symptoms at all
  • Nothing looks different or feels different

Less common Hepatitis C Symptoms

  • Flu-like feeling
  • Skin or eyes look yellowish (jaundice)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belly pain
  • Dark urine and pale bowel movements

People with acute hepatitis C who do show signs usually feel like they have the flu.

Flu-like symptoms for acute hepatitis C may show up any time from 2 weeks to 6 months after being infected. Flu-like symptoms may include feeling tired, a lack of hunger, vomiting, belly aches, itchiness, feverish, muscle and joint pain. Jaundice (yellowish skin and eyes) and dark urine are other signs of liver problems from acute hepatitis C.

What are the symptoms of chronic hepatitis C?

Chronic hepatitis C means that you have had an infection for more than 6 months and it did not clear up in its acute stage. Most people with chronic hepatitis C can live without feeling anything at all for 10, 20, 30 years. Over time, about 1 in 4 people living with chronic hepatitis C will develop very serious liver problems, including liver failure or liver cancer.

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