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Symptoms - Hepatitis C

Many people with hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. They may develop symptoms later on as their liver becomes damaged and starts failing.

Early symptoms

About 1 in 3 or 4 people have symptoms during the first 6 months of a hepatitis C infection. This stage is known as acute hepatitis C.

If symptoms do develop, they usually happen a few weeks after infection.

Symptoms may include:

For about 1 in 4 people infected with hepatitis C, their immune system will kill the virus in a few months. They will not have more symptoms unless they become infected again.

In the remaining cases, the virus can stay inside the body for many months or years. This is known as long-term (chronic) hepatitis C.

Later symptoms

The symptoms of chronic hepatitis C can vary. In many people, symptoms may be barely noticeable. In others, they can have a big impact on their quality of life.

The symptoms can also go away for long periods of time and then return.

The most common problems include:

If left untreated, the infection can eventually cause the liver to become scarred (cirrhosis) and liver failure to develop.

Complications of hepatitis C

When to get medical advice

If you do not have any symptoms of hepatitis C but you think there's a risk you're infected, you can:

Many people who have hepatitis C do not have any symptoms so it's important to get tested.

See your GP if you have any of the later symptoms of hepatitis C. They may recommend having a blood test to check for hepatitis C.

None of these symptoms mean you definitely have hepatitis C. But it's important to get them checked out.

Diagnosing hepatitis C


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 8 February 2023
Next review due: 8 February 2026