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Hepatitis C Symptoms

Hepatitis C symptoms can occur as early as one to three months after coming into contact with hepatitis C, but most people are asymptomatic (have no symptoms).

Those with a long-term (chronic) infection often do not show symptoms until significant liver damage has already occurred.

Itchiness from a hepatitis C infection. 

Symptoms of hepatitis C:

  • Fever
  • Itchiness
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Jaundice
  • Light or clay-colored stool
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Upper abdominal pain (on the right side)
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Loss of appetite

The Impact of Hepatitis C On the Body

While hepatitis C mainly affects the liver, it is a multisystem disease, meaning it can affect every organ in the body.

Almost everyone who progresses to the chronic phase develops at least one condition that impacts an organ other than the liver. In many cases, the development of a non-liver disease is the first sign of hepatitis C.

Non-liver diseases related to hepatitis C:

  • Arthritis
  • Ulcerations in the mouth, genitals or eyes
  • Eye disorders (dry eyes)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Severe fatigue
  • Lung abnormalities
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
  • Renal disease
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Type 2 diabetes
    People with HCV are three times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance can reduce response to treatment and accelerate disease progression.


The most common non-liver disease associated with hepatitis C is cryoglobulinemia, a disorder that causes abnormal proteins in the blood to clump together. Cryoglobulinemia can affect joints, skin, muscles, kidneys and nerves.

Abdominal pain from cryoglobulinemia.

Symptoms of cryoglobulinemia:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Purple, blotchy rash
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain (arthralgia)
  • Ankle/leg swelling
  • High blood pressure
  • Color change in hands or feet
  • Gangrene, skin ulcers

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