Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Hepatitis E - Topic Overview

What is hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E is a virus that can infect the liver.

Unlike other forms of hepatitis, the hepatitis E virus doesn't lead to long-term illness or serious liver damage. Most people get well within a few months.

Recommended Related to Hepatitis

5 Reasons to Get Tested for Hepatitis C

As far as viruses go, hepatitis C is among the sneakiest. Once it's in your blood, it travels to your liver, where it may settle in for a silent, long-term stay. This can lead to cancer or cause the organ to fail if you don't treat it. In fact, hepatitis C is the top reason for liver transplants in the U.S. If you think you’ve been exposed, here are five reasons to get tested right away:

Read the 5 Reasons to Get Tested for Hepatitis C article > >

How is hepatitis E spread?

People usually get hepatitis E by drinking water or eating food that's been contaminated by feces (stool) from someone infected with hepatitis E. But people also can get hepatitis E from contact with an animal, such as eating undercooked meat from or touching an infected pig.

It's uncommon to get the disease directly from another person. There's no evidence that you can get hepatitis E by having sex with someone or by getting a blood transfusion.

It's very unlikely that you would get infected more than once with the hepatitis E virus.

What are the symptoms?

After you've been exposed to the virus, it can take from 2 to 7 weeks before you see any signs of it. Symptoms usually last for about 2 months.

Common symptoms are:

  • Feeling very tired.
  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Nausea and loss of appetite.
  • Pain on the right side of the belly, under the rib cage (where your liver is).
  • Yellow skin (jaundice), dark urine, and clay-colored stool.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Fever.

How is hepatitis E diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and where you've eaten or traveled. You may have blood tests if your doctor thinks you have the virus. These tests can tell if your liver is inflamed and whether you have antibodies to the hepatitis E virus. Having these antibodies in your blood proves that you have been exposed to the virus.

How is it treated?

Hepatitis E goes away on its own in most cases. To help yourself get better faster:

  • Slow down. Cut back on daily activities until all of your energy returns. As you start to feel better, take your time in getting back to your regular routine. If you try to do it too fast, you may get sick again.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Fruit juices and broth are other good choices, if you can tolerate them.
  • Eat a healthy mix of foods. Even though food may not appeal to you, it's important for you to get good nutrition.
  • Don't drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. They can make liver problems worse.
  • Make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you're taking, including herbal products. Don't start or change any medicines without talking to your doctor first.

If your symptoms are severe or if you're pregnant, talk to your doctor. You may need to be treated in a hospital.

1 | 2
Next Article:

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