Hepatitis C infection usually causes no symptoms until late in the course of chronic infection. In its earliest stages, beginning about one to three months after exposure to the virus, the following signs and symptoms occur in a small proportion of infected people:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fever
  • Muscle and joint pains

Signs and symptoms of chronic infection typically become evident after years and are the result of liver damage caused by the virus. These may initially include the symptoms of acute infection. Then, over time, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Bleeding easily
  • Bruising easily
  • Itchy skin
  • Fluid accumulation in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
  • Spider-like blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas)

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the above signs and symptoms.

Jan. 15, 2015

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