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Hepatitis C Symptoms, Causes & 8 Treatments

Hepatitis C is an infectious liver disease caused by a virus. While the disease does not attack the immune system like many other viral infections, it does cause an inflammatory response within the liver, leading to serious health conditions such as cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and even death. Causes of Hepatitis C include drug use and having multiple sexual partners. Hepatitis C symptoms include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, joint pain, jaundice and swelling. (1) Conventional hepatitis C treatment includes medications to help prevent the disease from becoming chronic. Natural hepatitis C prevention methods include protected sex, a healthy lifestyle and helpful supplements.

Causes of Hepatitis C

  • Drug use, sharing needles
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Mothers passing the virus to their infants during childbirth

Hepatitis C Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding easily
  • Taking longer for bleeding to stop
  • Bruising easily
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Joint pain
  • Sore muscles
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Swelling of the belly
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Yellowed eyes and skin
  • Itchy skin (2)

Hepatitis C Treatment

1. Supplement with Zinc

Zinc is an important part of hepatitis c treatment because it plays a key role in healthy liver function. Studies have shown that zinc supplementation can help improve hepatitis C symptoms, including weight loss, hair loss and digestive issues. (3)

2. Consume Probiotics

Probiotics help fight off the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that causes disease. An overload of unhealthy bacteria in the intestines can cause liver disease. Supplement with probiotics or fill your diet with probiotic foods as a form of hepatitis C prevention. (4)

3. Use Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It protects the liver from injury by elevating glutathione levels and preventing free radical damage in the body. Research has shown that black seed oil can protect the liver from damage and postpone the progression of chronic liver disease. (5)

4. Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating a well-balanced diet is an important part of hepatitis C prevention and treatment. Loss of appetite and weight loss are common symptoms of hepatitis C. To ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats and probiotic foods. Stay away from sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed foods that can damage the liver.

5. Get Plenty of Vitamin D

While a Vitamin D deficiency isn't listed among the causes of hepatitis C, it is common for people with chronic hepatitis C to also have a Vitamin D deficiency. Spending time outdoors or supplementing with Vitamin D can help improve immune function, mood and concentration. Vitamin D can even help fight against diabetes, which is also common in people with hepatitis C. (6)

6. Avoid Alcohol and Drug Use

In patients with liver disease, the liver is not able to break down alcohol quickly enough. Drinking alcohol and using drugs leads to inflammation and toxicity in the body. Injecting drugs and sharing needles is one of the leading causes of hepatitis C. Avoid alcohol and drug use to help prevent further liver damage. (7)

7. Exercise

Gentle exercise can help provide relief from symptoms associated with hepatitis C. Try yoga, pilates, biking or walking in nature. Exercise benefits both your body and mind, which is important when struggling with a hepatitis C diagnosis.

8. Take Precautions

  • To help prevent a hepatitis C diagnosis or keep the disease from spreading, it's important to take precautions, such as:
  • Do not donate blood, organs, tissue or semen if you have hepatitis C
  • Use protection when engaging in sexual activity
  • Do not share any personal items that may have blood on them, such as razors or toothbrushes
  • If you have an open cut or sore, cover it until it has healed completely