Hepatitis D Symptoms
Symptoms of hepatitis D begin 14 to 180 days after infection with the hepatitis D virus. Among the symptoms that are especially common in the early stages of the disease are diarrhea, muscle pain, nausea or vomiting, and a low-grade fever. In a person who develops chronic hepatitis D, symptoms can include exhaustion, weakness, and a loss of appetite. Not everyone who is infected with the hepatitis D virus will have symptoms -- and a person can look and feel perfectly healthy but still infect others with the virus.
An Overview of Hepatitis D SymptomsWhen a person becomes infected with the hepatitis D virus (HDV), the virus begins to multiply within the liver. Fourteen days to 180 days later, a person may develop hepatitis D symptoms.
However, not everyone infected with the hepatitis D virus will actually have symptoms. Also, some of the people who do develop symptoms will have only very mild symptoms. You can look and feel perfectly healthy, yet still be infected with the disease and infect others.
Specific Hepatitis D SymptomsFor a person with hepatitis D, symptoms (especially early symptoms) may include one or several of the following:
- Excessive tiredness
- Not feeling very hungry
- Nausea or vomiting
- A low-grade fever
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Mild abdominal pain (or stomach pain)
- Dark urine
- Light-colored stool.
Oftentimes, these early symptoms may be confused with those commonly seen with the stomach flu (see Stomach Flu Symptoms).
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes) usually occurs several days after early symptoms of hepatitis D first appear. However, it may occur up to two weeks after symptoms begin. At this point, early symptoms tend to improve; but other new symptoms, such as abdominal pain (or stomach pain) on the right side, may appear.
One serious complication that can occur during this acute hepatitis D infection is fulminant hepatitis -- a serious condition that results in liver failure. Up to 5 percent of people who get infected with the hepatitis B virus at the same time as the hepatitis D virus will develop fulminant hepatitis. Up to 20 percent of people with chronic hepatitis B will develop fulminant hepatitis with an acute hepatitis D infection. Some factors that can increase the risk of developing fulminant hepatitis include:
- Being older
- Having severe liver disease (cirrhosis)
- Having had a liver transplant.