Specialists in Gastroenterology

Board Certified Gastroenterologists located in St. Louis, MO

Up to 7 million Americans have hepatitis B or C, and about half don’t know they’re sick. At Specialists in Gastroenterology, the board-certified gastroenterologists manage and treat hepatitis B and C, as well as other serious liver diseases, with caring attention to your individual needs. Click the online appointment maker or call the office in St. Louis, Missouri, to arrange a consultation with a GI expert today.

Hepatitis Q & A

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are viral liver diseases that can lead to serious illness and even death. 

Hepatitis B and C, two of the most common forms of hepatitis among Americans, are leading causes of cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver transplants, and liver cancer. 

How do you get hepatitis?

The hepatitis B virus passes person to person through blood or body fluid. This includes mother-to-baby during birth, during sexual intercourse, or through sharing drug needles. 

The hepatitis C virus passes mainly through blood contact with shared drug needles. Less commonly, it may pass through sex, childbirth, health care exposure, and other situations. 

It’s possible to spread either virus through shared items like toothbrushes, fingernail clippers, or razors. Trace amounts of blood — even those so small that they're invisible to the human eye — can spread the virus.

What are the signs of hepatitis?

Many hepatitis B and C sufferers don’t have any symptoms, particularly early on. That helps to explain why so many sufferers aren’t diagnosed. 

After a long period of hepatitis infection, you’re more likely to have symptoms like:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Poor appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools
  • Jaundice

You can't rely on symptoms alone to diagnose hepatitis B or C, as many other diseases have similar symptoms. Specialists in Gastroenterology diagnoses hepatitis through a blood test. You may also need a liver biopsy to determine the severity of your cirrhosis.

What is the treatment for hepatitis B and C?

Treatment varies with the type of hepatitis and your symptoms. Chronic hepatitis B treatment generally includes antiviral medications and regular monitoring. Hepatitis B isn't curable, but it's very manageable. 

For hepatitis C, treatment usually involves oral antiviral medication that’s customized for virus genotype. Current medications are almost 100% effective in curing hepatitis C. 

The earlier you start treatment, the better, as it can help you avoid cirrhosis and other serious complications. 

For hepatitis B and C treatment, you need a liver disease specialist. You can count on Specialists in Gastroenterology for expert care for all liver diseases. Call the office or schedule your appointment online today.