Since many of the signs of hepatitis-nausea, vomiting, malaise, decreased appetite, headache, and fever-are common signs for other diseases, your doctor will need to rely on a medical history, physical exam, and blood tests to diagnose hepatitis. For viral hepatitis, blood tests are particularly helpful in diagnosis.
History and Physical Exam
When taking a medical history, your doctor will ask questions about travel to regions where hepatitis is widespread, food preparation, sexual partners, intravenous drug use, and past surgeries and blood transfusions.
During the physical exam, your doctor will pay particular attention to your:
- skin, for evidence of jaundice (yellowing);
- abdomen, to see if the liver is enlarged or tender; and
- eyes, also for evidence of jaundice.
If you have jaundice, your doctor must rule out other diseases that can cause this same symptom. These diseases include:
- severe preeclampsia (swelling of the face and/or hands, high blood pressure, and protein in the urine);
- cholestasis of pregnancy (a condition in which bile flow from the liver is suppressed);
- acute fatty liver of pregnancy; and
- a type of hepatitis other than A, B, C, D, E, or G-such as hepatitis caused by toxins (alcohol or drugs), autoimmune disorders, or cytomegalovirus (CMV)