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Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver. It’s usually the result of a viral infection or liver damage caused by drinking alcohol.

There are several different types of hepatitis, most of which are outlined below.

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Hepatitis A

This is a liver infection caused by a virus that’s spread in the faeces (poo) of an infected person.

It’s uncommon in the UK, but certain groups are at increased risk. This includes travellers to parts of the world with poor levels of sanitation, men who have sex with men, men who have anal sex with women and people who inject drugs.

Hepatitis A can be unpleasant, but it’s not usually serious and most people make a full recovery within a couple of months.

Some people, particularly young children, may not have any symptoms. But hepatitis A can occasionally last for many months and, in rare cases, it can be life-threatening if it causes the liver to stop working properly (liver failure).

Hepatitis B

This is an infection of the liver caused by a virus that’s spread through blood and body fluids.

It often doesn’t cause any obvious symptoms in adults and typically passes in a few months without treatment, but in children it often persists for years and may eventually cause serious liver damage.

Hepatitis B is less common in the UK than other parts of the world, but certain groups are at an increased risk. This includes people originally from high-risk countries, people who inject drugs, and people who have unprotected sex with multiple sexual partners.

We provide a hepatitis B vaccine for people at high risk of the condition at our clinics.

Hepatitis C

This is a virus that can infect the liver. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious and potentially life-threatening damage to the liver over many years.

However, with modern treatments it is often possible to cure the infection and most people with it will have a normal life expectancy.

It’s estimated that around 215,000 people in the UK have hepatitis C. You can become infected with it if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person.

Recently, we have seen an increase in hepatitis C amongst those who inject drugs.

If you think you may be suffering from hepatitis A, B or C, come and see us.