Fatigue, an intense tiredness or fogginess, do these sound familiar? These are the the most common hep C symptoms.
As your liver becomes more damaged and loses its ability to function properly, you might experience other symptoms such as feeling depressed, loss of appetite, feeling sick, weight loss or sudden weight gain, bruising easily, itchy skin and light coloured or dark, tarry-looking stools. However some people may have advanced liver disease with no symptoms at all.
Early symptoms, those that appear in the first six months of infection, only affect one in every three to four people. This stage is known as acute hepatitis C. They usually appear a few weeks after infection.
- A high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
- Loss of appetite
- Tummy (abdominal) pains
- Feeling and being sick
In 25% of cases, the virus will be destroyed by the patient’s own immune system and they will have no further symptoms a few months after infection, unless they become infected again.
Patients who do not clear the virus themselves have a chronic infection of hepatitis C.
The symptoms of a long-term (chronic) infection with hepatitis C can vary widely. Some people experience very few (if any) symptoms, others can be impacted significantly by the disease.The symptoms can also disappear for long durations and then reappear periodically.
Some chronic symptoms include:
- Constantly feeling tired (fatigue)
- Problems with short-term memory, concentration and completing tasks such as mental arithmetic – known as “brain fog”
- Joint and muscle pain
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Depression or anxiety and mood swings
- Indigestion and abdominal pain
- Itchy skin
The infection is known to cause liver scarring (cirrhosis) if untreated for a long period of time. Signs of cirrhosis include jaundice, vomiting blood, dark stools, and a build-up of fluid in the legs or abdomen.
For more information on your symptoms see NHS Choices