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Q. Is my weight loss due to hepatitis B?

Answered by
Dr. Noushif M
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am a 28 year old male. I would like to describe the series of events to you and need your advice as I have been most disturbed post this event in my life. It has been eight months since my first ever sexual encounter, but I am still tensed and lost. I am too scared to get a blood test done for hepatitis B as I fear the worst. It was a protected sex with a CSW for a less than half a minute. Four months later, I had a heavy meal at a local restaurant. I also had a strong beer. Later, I felt heavy, bloated and fullness in the stomach. Note: I have always had this gastric problem coming and going as my lifestyle is that of a software engineer with no physical activity. I had mucus in my stools, and it increased slightly in the next few days. There was no loose motion. But, I use to pass gas and stools both at a time, and I saw the stool very closely. It had a little pink spot. I think it was blood and panicked. I also started to have pains and cramps in both sides of the stomach, in the hip region and sometimes in the center of the stomach. Then again, a few days later I had stomach bloating because I had skipped meals as I was not hungry. This worsened the trouble, but I had more beer and smoked a lot and had vomiting sensation. The stools were loose, and I saw a light red tinge in it. I was sure it was blood. Again, I had a pain in the side of the stomach and at the center and below the right rib. I had a burning sensation in the anus. I then consulted my general physician and told him all these. He told me that I had IBS and gave me Pre Pro IBS for six days and then I was taking it, and mucus stopped, and stools also were hard.

Four days later, I had the same symptoms, and he advised me to take Taxim OZ twice a day for five days with Pre Pro IBS tablets as I had some infection. He also advised me to take liver function test and abdominal scan. Two weeks after that, I took the liver function tests, and I have attached the reports of the same. Last week, I took the abdomen scan, and it was normal with just fatty liver observation. From the past few months, the pain and cramps have reduced. Some days back, I again started to feel pains below my ribs on the right side now and then. Also two weeks back, I was around 79.3 kg, but now when I checked, I was only 78. Is it because of hepatitis B as I have read online that it causes weight loss. Even my stool color keeps changing from yellow to pale, and also the texture keeps varying. I keep reading and always check hepatitis B symptoms on the internet, and I am very disturbed and unable to focus on my work. I am losing my mind. Please help me relax and alleviate my anxiety. As it has been eight months after the exposure, should I stop worrying? When do people get symptoms for hepatitis B infection?

#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

From your detailed summary, I can understand how anxious and tensed you are.

  • Firstly, the lab tests you forwarded including liver function tests are absolutely normal (attachment removed to protect patient identity).
  • Hepatitis B will not get spread by the activity you had. It depends on a lot of factors and the percentages and chances which you get on the internet sources will just make you anxious. Do not get tensed about it.
  • You need to get the following blood tests to be doubly sure.
  1. HBsAg.
  2. Anti HBs titer.
  • After this, you can get a vaccination for hepatitis B, so that safety is ensured.
  • The color of the stools varies depending on a lot of factors. The nature of food you consume, water content, the extent of digestion, etc.
  • The red spots are usually from local trauma resulting from hard stools or constipated bowel. You have to avoid constipation by modifying your diet. Avoid constipating foods. Increase water intake to around 2 to 3 liters a day.
  • The stomach complaints are also partly related to constipation and also due to gastritis.
  • I suggest you have some acid-suppressing medicines like Pantoprazole 40 mg tablets once daily for two days whenever you plan a drink.

I have tried to clear your concerns. Please revert with your doubts so that I can guide you further.

For more information consult a general surgeon online --> https://icliniq.com./ask-a-doctor-online/general-surgeon

Hello doctor,

Thank you for your valuable time. As you told me, I have to go for a check for hepatitis B blood test. I am so very scared and tensed about that. But, I keep getting so many questions. My mind is full of fear and confusion. Please help me by answering the below as I have some questions running in my mind. The exposure I had was a very short one and I think I have touched the outer surface of the condom with my palm after I inserted it into the partner's vagina. Is there any chance of transmitting the virus from my palm if I had touched the same hand else were on my body, for example on the tip of my penis? Secondly, what are the factors and main transmission route for hepatitis B? I have read it is majorly transmitted by sex. Thirdly, are the current symptoms of pain under right rib, lower abdominal burning sensation, urge to pass stool, bloating and nausea show any indication? All these started five months back. Also, I have read that people with a normal LFT can still have hepatitis B infection in their body and still show no symptoms. Is it true? Lastly, I have lost weight. I am really worried as I have read hepatitis B can cause weight loss.

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I will place my comments in the same sequence as of your queries.

  • Hepatitis B transmission occurs via a cut surface of the body or through blood. Mere contact will not aide its transmission. For example, when an injury happens during sex to the genitals of the partner and you, there is a 20 to 30 % chance of transmission. But, this depends on the infectivity status and the viral load of the partner. Your description of contact seems of less significance.
  • Hepatitis B spreads by blood transfusion, surgeries, unprotected sex, anal sex, etc. It is blood to blood transmission. It most commonly happens following an injury or wound which gets in contact with infected blood.
  • You are right. A normal LFT (liver function test) can be present in people with hepatitis B. Those with infection can have different courses. It can raise the immunity, or the person can become a carrier, an infected person, or can develop acute hepatitis. All these depend on various factors. The symptoms which you have now and stool color variations are unlikely due to hepatitis B. However; blood tests can help in completely ruling this out.
  • The blood tests which I have suggested are preliminary screening tests. If they are positive, we can go ahead with further tests to check the viral load, etc. Please keep in mind that hepatitis B can be treated well. It is not a dreadful disease.
  • We always recommend Anti HCV (hepatitis C) and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) tests to be done along with this as this completely screens contaminant viruses.
  • I can understand your concerns regarding weight loss. Hepatitis B can cause this, but it may not always be due to the same. Have a good diet. Stay free of unwanted concerns regarding this. You can gain back your weight slowly. There is no point in getting anxious unnecessarily. Online sources will give broad and complicated information rather than those about you. So, better to relax and avoid unnecessary browsing.

Please consider the blood tests and revert with the reports.

For more information consult a general surgeon online --> https://icliniq.com./ask-a-doctor-online/general-surgeon


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