Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Many individuals with hepatitis B do not experience any symptoms and may not even realize that they are infected. The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B are more likely to occur in adults. They usually appear within 4 months after exposure to the virus and the early signs are similar to flu-like symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of hepatitis B include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Pain in the abdomen that is mainly on the right side where the liver is located
  • Jaundice (where skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow)
  • Pale discoloration of the stools
Hepatitis A and hepatitis C may sometimes trigger symptoms that are very similar to those of hepatitis B.

An acute type of hepatitis, fulminate hepatitis, must be treated immediately since it can be life threatening. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe fatigue

Hepatitis B often leads to dehydration due to the persistent nausea and vomiting. Dehydration may result in symptoms such as irritability, headaches, problems in urination, difficulty in concentration and lack of urination, or low urine output despite frequent urination.

Liver damage, which is a complication of hepatitis B, may lead to the following signs:

  • Persistent jaundice
  • Fluid retention in the abdomen or legs
  • Weight gain
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose or rectum
  • Blood in the stools
  • Confusion and sleepiness
  • Coma, in the advanced stages

  1. Robert P. Perrillo, Robert G. Gish, Marion Peters, Emmet B. Keeffe, Alfredo Alberti, Maria Buti, W. Graham E. Cooksley, Michael W. Fried, Stephanos J. Hadziyannis, Yun–Fan Liaw, Nikolai V. Naoumov, Eugene R. Schiff, Chloe L. Thio, Naoky Tsai, Solko Schalm, Chronic Hepatitis B: A Critical Appraisal of Current Approaches to Therapy, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 233-248, ISSN 1542-3565, 10.1016/S1542-3565(05)00983-3.
  2. Emmet B. Keeffe, Acute hepatitis A and B in patients with chronic liver disease: prevention through vaccination, The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 118, Issue 10, Supplement, October 2005, Pages 21-27, ISSN 0002-9343, 10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.07.013.
  3. Samer S. El-Kamary, Michelle D. Shardell, Mohamed Abdel-Hamid, Soheir Ismail, Mohamed El-Ateek, Mohamed Metwally, Nabiel Mikhail, Mohamed Hashem, Amr Mousa, Amr Aboul-Fotouh, Mohamed El-Kassas, Gamal Esmat, G. Thomas Strickland, A randomized controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of silymarin on symptoms, signs and biomarkers of acute hepatitis, Phytomedicine, Volume 16, Issue 5, May 2009, Pages 391-400, ISSN 0944-7113, 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.02.002.