Hepatitis B: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

April 30, 2024

Hepatitis B: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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The term “hepatitis” refers to liver inflammation. The function of the liver may be impacted by inflammation or injury. Hepatitis can be caused by heavy alcohol consumption, pollutants, certain drugs, and certain medical disorders. However, a virus is usually the cause of hepatitis. 

Caused by the hepatitis B virus, hepatitis B is an infection of the liver. This article will provide comprehensive information on the causes, symptoms, and hepatitis B treatment options.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Hepatitis B?
  2. Types of Hepatitis B
  3. Symptoms of Hepatitis B
  4. Causes of Hepatitis B
  5. Hepatitis B Treatment
  6. Conclusion
  7. Frequently asked questions

What is Hepatitis B?

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the source of the dangerous liver infection known as hepatitis B. Being infected with chronic hepatitis B raises the chances of liver cancer, cirrhosis, and liver failure which leaves the liver permanently damaged.

The majority of cases of hepatitis B are short-term, often known as severe, lasting less than six months. Conversely, in certain cases, the infection progresses to a chronic stage, lasting longer than half a year. Even in cases where symptoms are severe, most adults with hepatitis B recover completely. A chronic hepatitis B infection is more common in infants and young children.

Hepatitis B cannot be cured, however, it can be prevented with a vaccine.

Types of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be categorised into two types:

  • CHRONIC HEPATITIS B: This is a long-term hepatitis B virus infection. The majority of people with chronic hepatitis B had an acute infection that they were unable to recover from. The likelihood of developing a chronic hepatitis B virus infection increases with age of infection. Though the risk decreases with age, over 90% of infected newborns go on to have a lifetime illness.

Serious health problems such as liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death can result from chronic hepatitis B.

  • ACUTE HEPATITIS B: This is a temporary disease that often manifests within the first six months following hepatitis b virus exposure. Acute hepatitis B often presents with either no symptoms at all or very minor ones. However, some patients require hospitalisation due to severe symptoms. Some individuals who come into contact with the hepatitis B virus before reaching adolescence are immune to the virus and don’t require hepatitis B treatment.

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

When first infected, the majority of people show no symptoms. Some patients experience symptoms of an acute disease that last for several weeks. Severe acute hepatitis can cause liver failure, which can be fatal. Infected individuals who are 30 years of age or older are more likely to experience symptoms. In most cases, symptoms appear 90 days after hepatitis B virus exposure, however, they can also appear up to 6 months later. 

The symptoms may include:

  • Black urine
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eye whites
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Light coloured stool (light or clay coloured stool)
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

Causes of Hepatitis B 

Hepatitis B is contracted by coming into touch with a hepatitis B virus-infected person’s blood, spit, semen, or other bodily fluids. Even in the absence of symptoms, a hepatitis B virus carrier can spread the infection. Typically, this can occur in the following ways:

  • Distributing syringes, needles, or other injectable supplies.
  • From a pregnant woman to her unborn child during pregnancy and delivery.
  • Giving or receiving razors, toothbrushes, or medical supplies (such as glucose monitors).
  • Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person.
  • Contact with blood from needlesticks or sharp objects used by an infected person.
  • Sexual contact with an infected person.
  • Being in an institution that struggles to control infections.

Hepatitis B virus can be transmitted through saliva, sharing food, water, or utensils, coughing, sneezing, or nursing.

Hepatitis B Treatment

A visit to the doctor is advisable once you have contracted the virus. To avoid infection, the doctor might advise to receive preventative care. Examples of such care include: 

  • Receiving the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of exposure: Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG), a substance derived from human blood that contains antibodies against the hepatitis B virus. 
  • Chronic hepatitis B treatment for chronic hepatitis B may or may not be necessary. As these patients seem to respond best to the medications employed, the doctor will probably only treat them if one displays symptoms of liver disease. Although these sets of hepatitis B treatments don’t heal it, they strengthen the immune system to slow down the virus’s rate of reproduction and prevent further harm to the liver. 


It is extremely contagious to have hepatitis B. It has a lot of major side effects, some of which are potentially fatal.

However, there are numerous alternatives for therapy as well as strategies to avoid infection, such as receiving a vaccination.

To avoid infection and find the best course of treatment, it’s crucial to speak with a doctor if experiencing one or more symptoms of hepatitis B. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible to prevent hepatitis B?

Indeed. Getting vaccinated is the best defence against hepatitis B. The vaccination against hepatitis B is both secure and efficient. To be completely safe, you must obtain every shot in the sequence.

2. Do symptoms arise from acute (short-term) hepatitis B?

Occasionally. Individuals with severe health issues (such as weakened immune systems) and the majority of children under five do not exhibit any symptoms. Acute hepatitis B symptoms can affect up to half of all older kids, teens, and adults.

3. Is it possible to transfer hepatitis B in the absence of symptoms?

Absolutely. Hepatitis B is a virus that can infect others even in cases where a person does not exhibit any symptoms.

4. Is it possible to protect a pregnant person with hepatitis B from passing the virus to their unborn child?

Yes. Babies born to hepatitis B carriers can avoid almost all occurrences of hepatitis B, but they must get the required vaccinations at the appropriate intervals. To prevent infants born to pregnant women with hepatitis B infection, healthcare providers should give the hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of the baby’s delivery. Adhere to your baby’s doctor’s advice for the best protection.

5. What is the best way to lower my chance of contracting hepatitis B?

Vaccination is the best defence against infection. Having had the vaccination, there is no need to be concerned about accidental exposure in daily activities.

Short-term risk reduction strategies include:

  • Having safe intimate relationships. 
  • Avoid sharing personal items like utensils, razors, toothbrushes, or other personal objects that could come into contact with blood.
  • Arranging trips overseas in advance. Consider getting vaccines done before travelling internationally, especially visiting areas with a high illness rate.
  • Preventative medical care.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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