Patient Info

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). You can contract the hepatitis B virus if you come in contact with the blood or other body fluids, such as vaginal fluids, semen and saliva, of an infected person. Viral transmission can occur by any of the following ways:

  • Unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Acupuncture or getting a tattoo with an unclean needle
  • Sharing drug needles
  • From mother to baby

In the initial stages of the hepatitis B infection, symptoms may not appear. When symptoms show, they may include loss of appetite, mild fever, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine and yellowing of skin. Acute hepatitis B may resolve by the body’s immune system within weeks or months, but chronic hepatitis B does not resolve and may not show any symptoms at all. With time, hepatitis B begins to show symptoms of liver damage or cirrhosis.

Your doctor diagnoses hepatitis B with the help of blood tests. Mild forms of acute hepatitis do not require any treatment as your immune system will fight the infection. Your doctor will recommend bed rest, advise you to eat healthy foods and drink adequate fluids. Chronic hepatitis B treatment includes antiviral medication. You may need a liver transplant if liver failure occurs.

Hepatitis B can be easily avoided by not sharing needles with others, getting yourself vaccinated for hepatitis B virus and not coming in contact with blood or bodily fluids of others.