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Hepatitis C Symptoms

Symptoms can occur as early as one to three months after coming into contact with the disease. However, 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 that 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:



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

Appointments & Referrals

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See what clinical trials for hepatitis C are currently underway at UC San Diego.

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