Hepatitis is a collection of inflammatory conditions that affect your liver. Often caused by a virus, hepatitis can become chronic, and excessive alcohol consumption and autoimmune problems may also be the cause. Houston Regional Gastroenterology, with locations in Sugar Land and Humble, Texas, can evaluate your symptoms to diagnose and narrow down the type of hepatitis you may have. The practice offers treatment or management, depending on the type of hepatitis. Call today or book online for expert hepatitis care.
Hepatitis affects your liver, which is an essential organ that helps with digestion, filters toxins, excretes bilirubin, cholesterol, and hormones, synthesizes clotting factors and blood proteins, and stores glycogen (sugar) as well as several nutrients.
Hepatitis may be viral, or a non-viral trigger may cause it. Hepatitis can present with symptoms, but many people don’t even know they have the condition.
There are five types of viral hepatitis, with hepatitis B and hepatitis C being the most common. Hepatitis A is always a short-term condition, while B, C, and D are more likely to develop into a chronic problem.
The hepatitis A virus usually occurs when you come into contact with food or water contaminated by virus-containing feces.
Hepatitis B is transferred through contact with bodily fluids that contain the virus. Blood, vaginal secretions, and semen may contain hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C transmits through direct contact with infected fluids – usually via IV drug use (sharing needles) or sexual intercourse.
Hepatitis D is a serious liver disease contracted if you come in contact with infected blood. It’s a rare form and very uncommon in the United States.
Hepatitis E is contracted in places with poor sanitation and results from ingesting fecal matter contaminating a water supply. This form is rare in the United States, but it is possible if you travel to the Middle East, Asia, Central America, or Africa.
Overuse of alcohol can lead to liver damage and inflammation, or alcoholic hepatitis. In the long term, you may experience liver damage and failure. A drug overdose or exposure to poisons can also cause a toxic hepatitis reaction.
Hepatitis may also result from dysfunction in the immune system. Your immune system mistakenly views the liver as harmful and starts to attack the cells, hindering liver function.
Hepatitis A is usually a short-term illness, so it goes away on its own. Houston Regional Gastroenterology offers support for your symptoms. Antiviral drugs treat hepatitis B and C. You may receive medications and management, depending on the severity of the case, for other rarer forms of hepatitis.
If you have an autoimmune cause of hepatitis, your doctor may recommend steroidal and immune-suppressing drugs.
For expert treatment of liver inflammation or hepatitis, call Houston Regional Gastroenterology or schedule an appointment using the online tool.