Skip to content

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

How Does Hepatitis C Affect Your Liver?

In most cases, you won't have symptoms of hepatitis C until your liver becomes really damaged. That can take a long time -- years or even decades.

If you have the disease for many years and don't get treatment, you may get cirrhosis. This is a condition that inflames and scars the liver.

Recommended Related to Hepatitis

Could I Get Hepatitis C?

More than 3 million Americans have a long-term infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Anyone who has this disease can give it to someone else through blood and other bodily fluids. Once you've learned what situations make you likely to catch it, though, you can take steps to protect yourself or get diagnosed and treated.

Read the Could I Get Hepatitis C? article > >

Symptoms of Cirrhosis

In cirrhosis, scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. If this continues unchecked, scarring blocks blood flow through the organ. That makes it hard for it to do its many jobs:

  • Remove harmful toxins from your blood
  • Fight infection
  • Digest food and process nutrients, hormones, and drugs
  • Make proteins to control blood clotting
  • Store energy

When this happens, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Sore muscles
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Dark-yellow urine
  • Light-colored stools
  • Joint pain

When Cirrhosis Gets Worse

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on November 11, 2014

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Types, symptoms and treatments.
liver illustration
Myths and facts about this essential organ.
 
woman eating apple
What you need to know.
doctor and patient
What causes it?
 
Hepatitis C Treatment
Article
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool
 
liver illustration
Quiz
passport, pills and vaccine
Slideshow
 
Scientist looking in microscope
Slideshow
Fatty Liver Disease
Article
 
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Article
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection