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Acute & Chronic

Hepatitis may start rapidly (acute) or more slowly (chronic).

Acute hepatitis typically makes the affected person feel sick - as if they have the flu - often with loss of appetite and sometimes diarrhoea and vomiting (particularly with Hepatitis A). In many cases, it causes a brown discolouration of urine, loss of colour in the stools and a yellow colour of the skin and eyes (jaundice). Most affected people eventually recover completely. The acute form may last from a few days or weeks to several months.

Chronic hepatitis usually causes no symptoms or mild non-specific symptoms such as loss of energy and tiredness - most people don’t know that they have it. In some people, chronic hepatitis can gradually damage the liver and after many years, cause it to fail. The chronic form may last from six months to many years after infection. Since the liver also produces blood clotting factors, some people with chronic hepatitis develop bleeding problems.

Last Review Date: December 4, 2020