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Hepatitis C Specialist

Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic

S. Radi Shamsi, MD

Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist located in Santa Monica, CA

Your liver runs more than 500 different functions in your body, including revving up your metabolism and filtering out waste. This is why it’s so important to care for your liver. But if you become infected with Hepatitis C, the virus can damage this organ. S. Radi Shamsi, MD, and his caring team at Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic in Santa Monica, California, will help you get through a Hepatitis C infection. In some cases, you can fully recover or have limited liver damage, which is why it’s so important to catch Hepatitis C early and protect your liver.

Hepatitis C Q&A

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis comes in many strains and while they’re all caused by different viruses, they all have one thing in common: Liver damage. Some types of Hepatitis have vaccines for prevention, but no vaccine exists for Hepatitis C.

This particular virus can be either acute or chronic. With acute Hepatitis C, you’ll likely get this short-term bug within six months after being exposed to the virus. In some cases, acute Hepatitis C leads to the chronic form, which can be long lasting.

With chronic Hepatitis C, you might be infected with the virus for your entire life, causing serious liver problems. In the most severe instances of chronic Hepatitis C, it can lead to permanent liver scarring (cirrhosis) or even liver cancer.

Does Hepatitis C have symptoms?

Yes, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely have symptoms. Many patients with Hepatitis C have no symptoms at all. Others sometimes experience:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Energy loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dark urine

Is Hepatitis C curable?

Sometimes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 15-25% of men and women who have Hepatitis C can fight the virus completely without any sort of treatment. This doesn’t mean you should avoid seeing your gastroenterologist, Dr. Shamsi, though.

Hepatitis C is easily diagnosed through a blood test. Once you have a positive diagnosis, Dr. Shamsi can treat you with medications. These antiviral medications help with both acute and chronic Hepatitis C.

Aside from medications, Dr. Shamsi will coach you on diet and lifestyle changes you should consider while living with Hepatitis C, including avoiding alcohol.  

Can I prevent a Hepatitis C infection?

There’s no guarantee, but there are things you can do to avoid the most common ways Hepatitis C is spread. Hepatitis C is highly contagious, so use a latex condom every time you have sexual intercourse. Avoid sharing personal hygiene items, such as razors, since these things can have someone else’s infected blood on them.

This is why it’s also important to get your manicures and pedicures done at a salon that uses disinfectants for all equipment.

The same is true when getting a tattoo or piercing; make sure the business practices the highest level of sanitation.

If you have to get a blood transfusion, you might want to have a Hepatitis C blood test done, just to ensure that you didn’t get the virus.