Hepatitis B: causes, symptoms and treatment

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Hepatitis B: causes, symptoms and treatment
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Hepatitis are most commonly viral infections that affect the liver. They can be caused by a virus, intoxication or form of medication.  The causes, symptoms and treatments are different depending on the type of hepatitis and the sufferer.  We are going to focus on Hepatitis B which affects are 240 million people. 

What are the causes of Hepatitis B?

Of all the types of hepatitis, Hepatitis B is the most common of the most deadly around the world with almost 700, 000 deaths per year.  Contracting Hepatitis B is 50 to 100 times more significant than Aids.  It can also be contracted during unprotected sex.  Nevertheless it is important to know that organic fluids carry hepatitis and can therefore transmit this disease.
Hepatitis can be contracted during:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Sharing of syringes
  • Blood transfusions
  • Sharing of piercing
  • Between a mother with Hepatitis B and her child.

In the majority of cases, people with hepatitis B can fight the infection.  This is the case for people with acute states of the illness.  However 5% of sufferers remain chronically infected.  This means that they stay carriers of the infection and can transmit this infection throughout their lifetime.


What are the symptoms?

As mentioned above, people suffering from hepatitis B can fight the infection.  After an acute phase causing severe fatigue in the person, the symptoms will fade. The patient will also be immunized against this form of hepatitis and won’t be infected anymore. Hepatitis symptoms may be silent or flu-like, but during this time, the infection wreaks havoc in the patient’s body. We can notice the follow types of symptoms: 

  • Fever or cold sweats 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Jaundices 
  • Dark coloured urine.

Nevertheless, if this disease is not detected quickly or is wrongly diagnosed, complications can sometimes be fatal.  Carriers of the illness can develop:

  • Chronic Hepatitis:  This is the most common complication. If the infection is fought off after six months this can be called the chronic development of hepatitis.  Chronic hepatitis is usually treated in 3 years.
  • Fibrosis and cirrhosis: The liver will destroy it’s cells to defend itself against the infection caused by hepatitis. By destroying them, it will become hard and fibrous (fibrosis) which will then cause scaring. When there is extreme scarring it is called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis will eventually prevent the free flow of blood in the organ which will ultimately result in the loss of the liver.
  • Liver Cancer: The liver is invaded by metastases and is gradually dying. This type of complication is predominantly present in patients with hepatitis as well as the excessive consumption of alcohol.
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What treatments are available?

In 95% of cases, Hepatitis B can be treated without any pharmaceutical intervention and without any complications. You need to rest and eat healthily.
The best way to treat hepatitis B is to not get it in the first place. This infection can be avoided by using protections during sex, by avoiding the transfer of blood with earings or syringes. Vaccines against hepatitis have been available since 1982 and screening tests are offered to pregnant women and to people with HIV.


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