liver diseases Data Verified


Published on Jan 29, 2019 and last reviewed on Mar 22, 2022   -  6 min read


Inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis, which is mainly caused by a viral infection. Sometimes, it can be an autoimmune condition or a result of medications, drugs, alcohol, and toxins.


Overview of Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis, which is mainly caused by a viral infection. Sometimes, it can be an autoimmune condition or a result of medications, drugs, alcohol, and toxins. The liver is present on the right side of the abdomen and helps in carrying out crucial functions in the body.

Functions of the Liver:

The liver helps in,

Viral Hepatitis:

There are five types of viral hepatitis which are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, and it is caused by Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses respectively.

Hepatitis A


It is a highly contagious liver disease caused by drinking or eating something contaminated with the Hepatitis A virus. The infection usually spreads when the virus present in the fecal matter of an infected person gets mixed in your food, even a minimal amount of it. As it is not airborne, it does not spread through sneezing and coughing. It can also spread by having sexual intercourse with an infected person. People who eat uncooked shellfish which has been contaminated with sewage water, travel to countries where hepatitis A infection is common, and have a chronic liver condition are at risk for developing hepatitis A infection.

Treatment and Prevention of Hepatitis:

There is no specific treatment available for hepatitis A infection. The body will clear itself off the virus. Mostly, the liver damage heals within six months. Just symptomatic treatment is given for nausea and other symptoms. Avoid taking medicines and alcohol during this infection, as it might cause more damage to your liver.

Hepatitis A vaccine is available, which helps prevent this infection. It is given in two shots, one initially and the second after six months. Apart from the vaccine, follow some precautionary measures like wash and peel all fruits and vegetables, do not eat raw fish and meat, wash your hands properly before eating, and boil water before drinking.

Hepatitis B


Hepatitis B is caused when the Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through infected body fluids like blood, vaginal secretions, and semen. It can be transferred from mother to her baby during birth, sharing a razor with an infected person, sharing needles, and having sexual intercourse with an infected person.

Treatment and Prevention:

If you have tested positive for Hepatitis B virus, the doctor will give you a vaccination and an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin. If you develop symptoms, you need to be on bed rest and keep yourself hydrated. Avoid taking medicines that might harm the liver further. Avoid taking alcohol. If the infection is gone, you will be an inactive carrier lifelong.

In chronic hepatitis, the infection is active for more than 6 months. In such cases, medicines like Entecavir, Tenofovir, Lamivudine, Adefovir, and Interferon alfa are prescribed.

Hepatitis B vaccine is the best way to prevent this infection. It is given in three shots. People who are at risk of contracting this virus should get the vaccination. People that are at risk are homosexual men, people with multiple sexual partners, IV drug users, health care workers, etc.

Hepatitis C


Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that is caused by the Hepatitis C virus. This virus is also spread through blood and body fluids of an infected person. The ways you can get infected are by sharing needles, through sex, at birth from mother to her child, getting a tattoo with contaminated equipment, organ transplant, etc.

Treatment and Prevention:

An acute infection of Hepatitis C does not require any treatment apart from rest and hydration. In case of a chronic infection, your doctor might prescribe medicines like Interferon, Ribavirin, Daclatasvir, Sofosbuvir-Velpatasvir, Ledipasvir-Sofosbuvir, Glecaprevir, and Pibrentasvir.

As of now, there is no vaccination available for hepatitis C. It is best to prevent this infection by using a condom during sex and avoid sharing needles, razors, and other injectable equipment.

Hepatitis D


The Hepatitis D virus causes hepatitis D or delta hepatitis. But not everyone can get infected by this virus. You can only get infected with this virus if you have already had hepatitis B infection. The infection is highly contagious and can spread through blood and body fluids like vaginal secretions, semen, and urine of an infected person. It can also be transmitted to the baby from the mother at birth.

Treatment and Prevention:

There is no known vaccination available for this infection. But as it only affects people with Hepatitis B infection, Hepatitis B vaccine helps in preventing Hepatitis D indirectly.

There is also no cure for this disease. If you have been tested positive for Hepatitis D, your doctor might give you Interferon, which is a type of protein that prevents the virus from spreading. As of now, this disease is not curable, thus avoid sharing razors, toothbrushes, needles, and other personal items.

Hepatitis E


Like hepatitis A, hepatitis E is also transmitted by consuming food contaminated with an infected person’s fecal matter. It is more common in places that have a lack of clean water. You can also get infected by eating uncooked pork or deer meat.

Treatment and Prevention:

Most people recover from this illness in 4 to 6 weeks on their own. Just drink a lot of water, eat healthily, rest, and avoid alcohol.

There is no vaccine available. Drink water after boiling it, wash shellfish properly before eating, wash hands properly after using the bathroom, and avoid eating undercooked meat.

Noninfectious Hepatitis:

Autoimmune Hepatitis


The body’s immune system attacks the liver cells causing inflammation of the liver. It is believed to be caused by genetic and environmental factors.


The treatment option is to slow or stop the immune system from attacking the liver cells. This is achieved by taking Prednisone and Azathioprine.

Alcoholic Hepatitis


Excessive alcohol consumption might cause short or long term liver damage.


Avoid drinking alcohol. A low-sodium diet should be taken along with vitamins and diuretics. Corticosteroid drugs might be prescribed to reduce liver swelling.

Symptoms of Hepatitis:

Symptoms develop only after a few weeks after getting infected, and some people do not develop any signs or symptoms. The usual symptoms are:

Diagnosis of Hepatitis:

If you develop hepatitis symptoms, it is best you consult your doctor. The doctor will take a complete history to determine any risk factors for you to develop hepatitis. If he or she suspects hepatitis, you will need to perform the following tests-

Complications of Hepatitis:

The recovery time taken for different types of hepatitis is different. Most people recover without any permanent complication. Sometimes, chronic hepatitis causes liver damage beyond repair. In such cases, liver transplantation is done. Talk to your doctor about the medicines and food that might worsen your liver condition. Take rest and drink a lot of fluids.


Last reviewed at:
22 Mar 2022  -  6 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

How long will it take to cure my mother, who is suffering from Hepatitis C?

Query: Hi doctor, My mother is 59 years old, with type 2 diabetes for the past 15 years. She is taking medications for diabetes, blood pressure and multivitamin Centrum Her diabetes and BP are under control. Before four months, she had severe vomiting, fever and body pain. We approached a hospital and did ...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Hepatitis B Virus or Hepatitis C?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.