Recurrent Hepatitis

What is Recurrent Hepatitis?

Recurrent hepatitis is a condition in which the liver becomes inflamed or damaged multiple times within a short period. This condition is usually caused by a virus such as hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E. In some cases, it can be caused by alcohol or other substances. It can also be caused by autoimmunity—when the body’s own immune system attacks the liver. Recurrent hepatitis can cause serious health problems and is considered a chronic disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Recurrent Hepatitis

The signs and symptoms of recurrent hepatitis may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Itching

Diagnosis of Recurrent Hepatitis

To diagnose a recurrent hepatitis infection, a healthcare provider will first conduct a physical exam and ask for your complete medical history. Other tests to diagnose recurrent hepatitis may include:

  • Blood tests to detect abnormal liver enzymes, virus antigens, and antibodies.
  • Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.
  • Liver biopsy to examine tissue samples from the liver.
  • Liver function tests to evaluate levels of certain chemicals in the blood.
  • Hepatitis viral load test to determine the amount of virus in the blood.

Treatment of Recurrent Hepatitis

The treatment of recurrent hepatitis depends on the cause of the disease, presence of any other medical conditions, and the seriousness of symptoms. Generally, treatments for recurrent hepatitis include:

  • Antiviral medications to reduce the amount of virus in the body and slow the progression of the disease.
  • Immune-suppressing agents to control overactive immune responses that cause inflammation.
  • Liver transplant for severe chronic hepatitis and for acute hepatitis that is not responding to other treatments.
  • Surgery to repair a damaged liver.

Prevention of Recurrent Hepatitis

Because hepatitis is mostly caused by viruses, preventative measures should be taken including avoiding close contact with people who have the virus and practicing good hygiene. Vaccines are also available to protect against certain types of hepatitis such as hepatitis A and B.