Hepatitis Home > Early Symptoms of Hep C

Some of the possible early signs and symptoms of hep C can include feeling tired, nausea, loss of appetite, fever, or abdominal pain. However, symptoms do not always occur. Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with the hepatitis C virus do not have any early hep C symptoms, or even later symptoms. Even without any noticeable symptoms, the liver is still trying to fight off the infection. This results in inflammation and scarring of the liver (fibrosis).

Early Signs and Symptoms of Hep C: An Overview

Most people do not have early symptoms of hep C (hepatitis C). In fact, most people (about 80 percent) who are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms -- even after many years. You can look and feel perfectly healthy, yet still be infected with the disease and infect others. Most patients do not have hepatitis C symptoms until there is already cirrhosis, or even liver failure.

Changes in the Liver During Early Stages of Hep C

In the early stages of hepatitis C, the liver first becomes inflamed, or swollen. The virus is damaging your liver cells, which alerts your immune system to send in several of its defenses.
While the liver tries to repair itself, scar tissue is forming at the same time. This is called fibrosis.

Specific Early Hep C Symptoms

Although most people with fibrosis feel perfectly fine, if a person does have early hep C symptoms from this fibrosis, he or she may:
  • Feel tired
  • Feel sick to his or her stomach
  • Not feel like eating
  • Have a fever
  • Have stomach pain
  • Experience a dull pain or feeling of heaviness on the right side.
Early signs and symptoms of hep C may also include yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or dark urine.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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