The symptoms of acute viral hepatitis are often the same regardless of the virus that causes it. This means that diagnosis of a particular kind of viral hepatitis can't be made from the symptoms alone. For this, you need a physician and laboratory blood tests.
The Big List of Acute Viral Hepatitis Symptoms
Initial Symptoms (Not in any particular order):
- General malaise (a vague symptom where you feel uncomfortable and a little tired)
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
- Arthralgia (joint pain)
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Anorexia (having no appetite)
- Changes in your normal sense of smell and taste accompany anorexia (For example, smokers sometimes develop a temporary distaste for smoking)
- Unusual sensitivity to bright light (photophobia)
- Nausea and vomiting (these are very common symptoms)
- Diarrhea (less common)
- Constipation (less common)
- Fever (usually low-grade and most common in hepatitis A and E)
- Upper-right abdominal pain (pain in the upper belly on the right side, usually mild and constant)
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored stools
Fulminant Hepatitis SymptomsA small number of people with acute viral hepatitis (caused by any of the hepatotropic viruses) will develop fulminant hepatitis. This is most common for hepatitis B and is possible with hepatitis C, but rarely happens. For fulminant hepatitis, the symptoms are different, and life-threatening:
To learn more about hepatitis and the viruses that can cause it, please follow the links below:
- Hepatitis A Virus
- Hepatitis B Virus
- Hepatitis C Virus
- Hepatitis D Virus
- Hepatitis E Virus
- Diagnosing Hepatitis
Berenguer M, Wright TL. Hepatitis C. In: M Feldman, LS Friedman, LJ Brandt (eds), Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8e. Philadelphia, Elsevier, 2006. 1688-1689.
Dienstag JL. Acute Viral Hepatitis. In: AS Fauci, E Braunwald, DL Kasper, SL Hauser, DL Longo, JL Jameson, J Loscaizo (eds), Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 17e. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2008. 1941-1942.
Friedman LS. Liver, Biliary Tract, & Pancreas. In: LM Tierney, SJ McPhee, MA Papadakis (eds), Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment, 46e. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2007.
Perrillo R, Nair, S. Hepatitis B and D. In: M Feldman, LS Friedman, LJ Brandt (eds), Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8e. Philadelphia, Elsevier, 2006. 1654-1655.
Sjogren MH. Hepatitis A. In: M Feldman, LS Friedman, LJ Brandt (eds), Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8e. Philadelphia, Elsevier, 2006. 1641-1642.