You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases, you may be referred immediately to a specialist. Doctors who specialize in treating hepatitis B include:
- Doctors who treat digestive diseases (gastroenterologists)
- Doctors who treat liver diseases (hepatologists)
- Doctors who treat infectious diseases
What you can do
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
- Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Someone who accompanies you may help you remember the information you receive.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Listing questions for your doctor can help you make the most of your time together. For hepatitis B infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- Has the hepatitis B damaged my liver or caused other complications, such as kidney problems?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Should my family be tested for hepatitis B?
- How can I protect people around me from hepatitis B?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Aug. 29, 2014
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Have you ever had a blood transfusion?
- Do you inject drugs?
- Have you had unprotected sex?
- How many sexual partners have you had?
- Have you been diagnosed with hepatitis?
- Lok ASF. Clinical manifestations and natural history of hepatitis B virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Lok ASF. Diagnosis of hepatitis B virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Patient information: Hepatitis B (the basics). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2014.
- Hepatitis B FAQs for the public. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/B/bFAQ.htm. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Hepatitis B. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/#. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Lok ASF. Overview of management of hepatitis B and case examples. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2014.
- Wang XY, et al. Emerging antivirals for treatment of hepatitis B. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;20:1777.