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What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis B?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Most adults with hepatitis B never develop any symptoms, especially at first since it often takes a few months for any to appear. Children are even less likely than adults to experience symptoms of hepatitis B, and those who do are likely to initially assume that they have the flu. This is because many of the symptoms are similar to those of influenza, including fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite. Not surprisingly, problems with the liver, such as pain and symptoms of jaundice, may also appear. Additionally, many patients with this type of hepatitis are uncomfortable in general due to severe itching and joint pain.

A lot of the initial symptoms of hepatitis B mimic signs of the flu, which can lead many people to put off medical treatment since they may assume that the issues will go away within days. For instance, nausea and vomiting are both to be expected in most cases. The stomach may hurt, especially after excessive vomiting, and the appetite may disappear altogether. An additional symptom that often sets in is fatigue, rounding out some of the most common symptoms, none of which seem particularly serious or unique to hepatitis B.

Of course, since this virus primarily affects the liver, that is where many of the symptoms of hepatitis B show up. Thus, many patients feel tenderness or even severe pain on their right side, just beneath the rib cage, as this is where the liver is located. Unfortunately, this is often another ignored symptom since many people are not aware of the location of this organ, so they may assume that they merely have a pain in their stomach. Jaundice also often appears in those affected by hepatitis B, bringing with it yellowed eyes and skin. Dark urine often follows these symptoms of hepatitis B, though this issue is still not particularly noteworthy since many people may just assume that they are a bit dehydrated.

Hepatitis B can also cause discomfort throughout the entire body. For example, many patients experience joint pain, though this is another symptom that a lot of people dismiss since it can also be caused by the flu, arthritis, or even working out too hard. On the other hand, some patients notice that the skin on their whole body itches, with no apparent signs of a rash or bug bites. In fact, this might be one of the few symptoms of hepatitis B that causes some patients to see a doctor, where they can be properly diagnosed.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGEEK, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

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Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGEEK, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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