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What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver (the largest organ in the body). There are several types of hepatitis. While some types aren't serious or chronic, other types cause lifelong health problems and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

The most common types of hepatitis are:

  • Alcoholic hepatitis – Caused by drinking too much alcohol
  • Autoimmune hepatitis – Caused by the immune system attacking the liver
  • Drug-induced hepatitis – Caused by ingesting harmful amounts of certain prescription, over-the-counter or herbal medicines, vitamins or dietary supplements
  • Viral hepatitis – Caused by a viral infection

Most people with hepatitis have viral hepatitis. There are several types of viral hepatitis. The most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.


Symptoms depend on the type of hepatitis. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

General hepatitis symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite – Little to no desire to eat
  • Nausea – A feeling of sickness in your stomach that may lead to vomiting
  • Abdominal pain – Discomfort in the stomach
  • Jaundice – Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

Treatment Options

Treatment for hepatitis depends on the type, symptoms and extent of liver damage. Treatment options include:

  • Not drinking alcohol – If you have alcoholic hepatitis, your doctor or an addiction specialist can help you stop drinking alcohol to slow liver damage. Learn more about our Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Program.
  • Medicine – Doctors treat some types of viral hepatitis with antiviral medicine. They can also treat some symptoms and complications with medicine.
  • Liver transplant – Liver transplant surgery is a possible option if hepatitis leads to liver failure.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of hepatitis, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat hepatitis.