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What Is Malaise?


Updated January 15, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

What Is Malaise?

Malaise is a feeling of discomfort or uneasiness.

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Malaise is a feeling of discomfort or uneasiness. It's a vague symptom that usually accompanies fatigue and is one of many possible symptoms of acute hepatitis (when they are present).

Why Does Hepatitis Cause Malaise?

Think of malaise as one of your body's warning systems. As such, the causes of malaise are a combination of normal physical and psychological mechanisms in your body that work together to let you know about a problem. Since the liver is interconnected with many other vital processes of your body, when it is sick, your entire body will be affected in some way. Malaise is the result of your body letting you know that something isn't right. However, malaise can happen in many common diseases and conditions and isn't specific to hepatitis. It can even be a side effect to medications (including antihistamines and beta blockers). However, malaise isn't usually a reported side effect with hepatitis therapies.

What If I Have Malaise?

It's common to have some malaise with many diseases, including hepatitis. However, if you have significant malaise (it keeps you from doing your normal activities) or have "regular" malaise for more than one week, you should talk to your doctor. Be sure to note if your malaise comes and goes or stays constant. Also, take note how long you've had the feeling and if it happens with other symptoms.

When Could I Feel Malaise?

It's probably most common to experience malaise at the beginning of your infection, after the incubation period. This symptom could disappear as quickly as it came, or it may hang around for one week, or more. However, remember that many people won't experience any symptoms--even malaise.

Can I Prevent Malaise?

It's not easy (or even desirable) to prevent malaise. This feeling could be your first indication that something is wrong and that you should follow up with your doctor to see if there's a problem. However, treatment of the cause (such as treating chronic hepatitis) can control the feeling and keep it from increasing. You may also be able to help relieve some feelings of malaise yourself by getting plenty of rest, eating a healthful diet, getting regular exercise and controlling your daily stress.


Medline Plus. National Library of Medicine: Malaise. Accessed December 16, 2009.

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