Hepatitis is inflammation (pain, swelling, and redness) in the liver that happens when the immune system attacks viruses, bacteria, and other substances to protect the body from harm. Viral hepatitis is caused by the hepatitis B and C viruses.
Hepatitis B and C are spread through infected blood or body fluids from blood transfusions, unprotected sex, contaminated needles, or childbirth. Some viruses, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV), can cause viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Chronic forms of viral hepatitis can lead to life-threatening cirrhosis (irreversible scarring) of the liver and liver cancer.
Symptoms of viral hepatitis vary. Some people have no symptoms, while others may have:
- Abdominal pain
- Body itching (pruritus)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss/lack of appetite
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
If you or a loved one have symptoms of viral hepatitis, contact an expert South Florida hepatologist (liver specialist) at University of Miami Health System for a full evaluation.
Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
Medical imaging such as abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans show blood flow, size, structure, and function of the liver and surrounding organs.
A liver biopsy is a small tissue sample taken from a needle for analysis at a lab. Liver biopsies are performed using ultrasound imaging to guide the needle to the right place.
Some of the urine and blood tests that help detect viral hepatitis and complications include liver function studies, cellular blood counts, electrolytes, and autoimmune antibodies.
Certain medicines, like injectable interferons, can help the body fight viruses. Oral antiviral medications may stop the virus from reproducing in the body, and other medicines can help manage symptoms such as itching and pain.
Lifestyle and Dietary Changes
If you drink alcohol, quitting can help reduce further liver damage. Your doctor may also recommend exercise, dietary changes, or nutritional counseling to help you identify the best (and worst) foods to help improve your symptoms and keep your liver healthy.
If your condition is advanced or doesn’t respond well to medicine therapy, a liver transplant may be an option.
Why Choose UHealth?
Researching breakthroughs in treating viral hepatitis. We’re actively conducting clinical trial research for new and safer medicines for viral hepatitis. We bring what we learn to you, faster.
Special expertise in related conditions. Our liver specialists and care teams treat viral hepatitis and have special expertise in related conditions, including liver cancer and cirrhosis. We can predict problems before they happen and, if necessary, begin treatment right away.
Seamless services from providers who care about you. Our hepatology teams provide treatment in the hospital or outpatient (clinic) offices in South Florida. We’re here for all your needs.
Questions? We're here to help.
Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.