Hepatitis B


This viral infection affects the liver. It causes the liver to swell, and damages liver cells. You can have a short-term hepatitis B infection that gets better without causing lasting harm. Or, you can have a chronic infection. This may cause permanent liver damage.


The virus that causes hepatitis B spreads from person to person. It can live in blood, semen and other bodily fluids. In many cases, it's passed from a mother to her baby during birth. It can spread through sex, drug needles and tattoo guns. You can get it by having close contact with an infected person's open sores. And, you can get it by using their razor, toothbrush or nail clippers.


Symptoms include fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Your abdomen may hurt. You may have loss of appetite, fever, weakness and joint pain. Your urine may be dark, and your stools may be clay-colored. And, your eyes and skin may look yellowish. A chronic infection can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.


Treatment depends on your infection. If you have a short-term infection, you may need only rest and plenty of fluids as you recover. But if you have a chronic infection, your doctor may give you medications and injections to fight the virus. Eventually, you may need a liver transplant. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.