Hepatitis C

in Northern Colorado

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Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection that may not cause symptoms for extended periods. Screening is particularly important for this infection because of its insidious nature. Thankfully, there are numerous options available to manage and treat this infection.  

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that is spread via contact with an infected person’s blood. It occurs as a result of the hepatitis C virus, otherwise known as HCV. This infection can lead to serious complications for patients, including damage to and swelling of the liver.


Early diagnosis is extremely helpful for treating the infection.

What Are the Causes of Hepatitis C? 

People of any age can come into contact with the hepatitis C virus. Several factors can create higher risk situations for patients, including: 

  • Injecting or otherwise consuming illicit substances 
  • Being a biological child of someone who has been diagnosed with hepatitis C 
  • Working in healthcare or other situations in which exposure to needles is common 
  • Being a sexual partner of someone who has been diagnosed with hepatitis C 
  • Having an HIV diagnosis 

Any exposure to the blood of someone who has been diagnosed with hepatitis C creates a risk for the infection to be transmitted. 

What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C? 

The first stage of infection with hepatitis C is known as an “acute phase,” during which symptoms are typically not observed. Chronic hepatitis C, on the other hand, may also be symptomless for a long period, but symptoms will typically begin to appear after the liver has begun to sustain damage. There are a range of symptoms, including: 

  • Being unusually prone to bleeding and bruising 
  • Tiredness and general fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and the skin 
  • Change in the color of urine 
  • Itching 
  • Accumulation of fluid in the stomach area 
  • Swelling in the limbs, particularly the legs 
  • Unexplained changes in weight 
  • Hepatic encephalopathy, or slurring of speech 
  • Confusion 
  • Blood vessels taking on a spider-like appearance 

Hepatitis C can also lead to liver scarring or cirrhosis. This typically occurs after many years of having the virus. Liver failure and cancer are also possible if the infection is left without treatment. 

For some patients, a hepatitis C infection does not reach the chronic stage and their bodies can clear out the infection. This can be aided by the use of antiviral medication. 

How is Hepatitis C Treated? 

Prevention is important for hepatitis C. Practicing safe sex and getting piercings and tattoos from reputable establishments can reduce the risk of contracting this virus. 

Medical treatments for hepatitis C are recommended for those with chronic hepatitis C. As the medical field has developed, several medications have become available for use, many of which are taken in the form of a pill (Mavyret, Harvoni, Epclusa, Vosevi). These medications are extremely effective, significantly improving the chance of recovery for the patient. 


Next Steps

Schedule Appointment

Contact Us Today to Talk About Hepatitis C

If you’re concerned about symptoms you may be experiencing, Our team at Centers for Gastroenterology can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our experienced physicians or PAs. For your convenience, you may view and download our patient forms before your appointment.



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