Information for Patients
Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. The type of hepatitis is named for the virus that causes it; for example, hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Drug or alcohol use can also cause hepatitis. In other cases, your body mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the liver.
Some people who have hepatitis have no symptoms. Others may have
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dark-colored urine and pale bowel movements
- Stomach pain
- Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes
Some forms of hepatitis are mild, and others can be serious. Some can lead to scarring, called cirrhosis, or to liver cancer.
Sometimes hepatitis goes away by itself. If it does not, it can be treated with drugs. Sometimes hepatitis lasts a lifetime. Vaccines can help prevent some viral forms.
Infections and Pregnancy
During pregnancy, some common infections like the common cold or a skin infection do not usually cause serious problems. But other infections can be dangerous to you, your baby, or both. Some infections may lead to preterm birth and low birth weight babies. Others can cause serious illness, birth defects, and lifelong disabilities, such as hearing loss or learning problems.
Some of the infections that can be dangerous during pregnancy include
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Group B strep (GBS)
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Urinary tract infections
- Yeast infections
- Zika virus
To try to prevent infections,
- Don't eat raw or undercooked meat
- Don't share food or drinks with other people
- Wash your hands frequently
- Don't empty cat litter. Cats can transmit toxoplasmosis.
If you do get an infection during pregnancy, contact your health care provider about how best to protect you and your baby. Only some medicines are safe during pregnancy.