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Hepatitis

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Hepatitis specialists at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders specialize in the detection and treatment of mild to chronic liver inflammation often triggered by infection.

 

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, typically caused by a viral infection. Certain medical conditions, toxins, some medications and heavy alcohol use  can also cause hepatitis. Types of hepatitis include viral, autoimmune and alcoholic hepatitis.

 

Hepatitis may be present in your gastrointestinal (GI) system from weeks to decades before symptoms develop and may be incidentally found on lab work. If you have had any risk factors, such as exposure to infected blood, water or food, inadequate sanitation or unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner, consult an Underwood Center gastroenterologist.

 

Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 5 by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

Definitive Diagnoses for Hepatitis

The causes of hepatitis can be complex. Our team may perform blood and imaging tests, and sometimes a liver biopsy, to reach a conclusive diagnosis and give specialized care after we interpret the results.

Hepatitis Causes & Conditions We Treat 

We work together across center locations to treat every complexity of the conditions below: 

  • Acute alcoholic hepatitis
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Viral hepatitis 

Hepatitis Detection & Treatment

What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis ?

The symptoms of hepatitis can include any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pale- or clay-colored stools
  • Unintended weight loss

What are the different types of hepatitis?

The types of hepatitis include the following, based on the cause of liver inflammation:

  • Alcoholic hepatitis – excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Autoimmune hepatitis – associated with an existing autoimmune disorder
  • Hepatitis A – consumption of food or liquid contaminated with the stool of an infected person
  • Hepatitis B – direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids 
  • Hepatitis C – direct contact with infected bodily fluids, IV drug use, transfusions, tattoos 
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – a buildup of fat in the liver

How is hepatitis diagnosed ?

Your doctor will choose one or more of the following diagnostic procedures, based on a discussion of your symptoms:

  • Biopsy – examination of liver tissue samples
  • Liver-related blood tests – blood tests to monitor liver function
  • Imaging – ultrasound, CT scan or MRI 

How is hepatitis treated ?

Treatment depends on the type of hepatitis you have and its severity. Your doctor may recommend any of the following therapies:

  • Directly acting antivirals – oral medications specific to the type of hepatitis infection
  • High-calorie diet – to counteract unintended weight loss
  • Immunotherapy – anti-inflammatory medicine targeted towards autoimmune disorders
  • Liver transplant – for acute liver failure

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    Sherrie and Alan Conover Center for Liver Disease & Transplantation at Houston Methodist

    Our specialists improve liver disease patients’ lives through prevention, early diagnosis and advanced disease management.

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