Hepatitis C Specialist

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C services offered in South Bend, Plymouth and LaPorte, IN

Chronic hepatitis C can cause years of liver damage before you start experiencing symptoms. For fast, accurate hepatitis C screening, visit one of Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc’s offices in Plymouth, La Porte, or South Bend, Indiana, or visit the satellite office at The South Bend Clinic on North Eddy Street. The board-certified gastroenterologists offer effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C in addition to cutting-edge diagnostics. To benefit from their expertise, call your nearest Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc office today.

Hepatitis C Q & A

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a viral liver disease that causes mild short-term illness and long-term complications.

Following exposure to the hepatitis C virus, the acute illness develops within six months. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, but if you have any, they might include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)

Over 50% of people with acute hepatitis C develop the chronic form of the disease. Chronic hepatitis C might make you feel tired or depressed, but nothing serious until you suffer serious liver damage. It can take a long time, even 20 years or more, for liver damage to reach this advanced stage.

Untreated chronic hepatitis C can cause potentially life-threatening conditions like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.

How is hepatitis C transmitted?

Hepatitis C passes between people via contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. Many hepatitis C patients catch the disease by sharing needles when taking illegal drugs. You could also pick up hepatitis C from a needlestick injury in a hospital or clinic. Mothers can pass hepatitis C to their babies.

Less common transmission routes include sharing toothbrushes, razors, or other personal items that could have infected blood on them; and getting a tattoo or body piercing from an unregulated provider. Hepatitis C is also a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Recovering from hepatitis C doesn’t make you immune, so you can catch it again even if you’ve had it before. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there’s no vaccine for hepatitis C. 

How is hepatitis C treated?

Treating acute hepatitis C (if it’s making you sick) involves self-care measures like rest, plenty of fluids, good nutrition, and over-the-counter medications to manage your symptoms. 

However, half of the people who have the infection don’t know they’re sick — you might be unaware you’ve been infected until a routine blood test detects the virus. If you know you have the infection, it’s important to visit Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc regularly to monitor your liver.

If you develop chronic hepatitis C, your provider at Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc can prescribe medications that you take for two to three months. These medicines cure over 90% of patients. 

To find out more or arrange a hepatitis C screening, call Michiana Gastroenterology, Inc today or book an appointment online.