Patient Comments: Hepatitis C - Diagnosis

Question:

What kinds of tests did you have to diagnose hepatitis C? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: snowdancer, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I have had hepatitis C since 1976. When I got it, I was very ill. I lost 20 pounds in two months, and I was told that I had a form of hepatitis that was not A or B. (They didn't have a name for it, so they would call it B.) In 1996, after they discovered C, I had my family doctor test me for it, and it was confirmed as hepatitis C. I was 22 when I got it. I am now 54 and have had a pretty healthy life so far, with only a few complications from my disease. I am frightened to take the interferon/ribovarin treatment because of the side effects, and also because I have genotype 1A known not to respond well to treatment, especially after 34 years with the virus. I had a biopsy a month ago, I was found to be free of cirrhosis and cancer, although I do have some scarring due to inflammation. I've been taking herbals for three years, selenium, milk thistle, omega 3, licorice root, esther c, and generally feel well with a good energy level. My white blood cell count is excellent, my viral load is two million, and my platelets are good. I seem to be in good health other than the hepatitis C. I don't drink or do things to damage my health, and I eat nutritious foods known to be good for your liver and digestive system. You can live a long time with this disease and remain active and healthy if you just use common sense and self-discipline. I'm hoping to make it into my 70s. Oh, and people think I'm only in my 40s when they meet me.

Comment from: newdad, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 16

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in September of 2008. I went in for a routine physical. I asked for the blood test, as my family has a history of diabetes/heart problems. My doctor performed a biopsy at the end of December and determined I was at the end of stage 0/beginning of stage 1. I just had blood work done this month. My AST is 45 and ALT is 78. Everything else is within limits. My wife and I are searching, debating, and researching when/how my course of treatment should go. So as of now, treatment is on hold.

Comment from: chimom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 08

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, stage II, genotype 1 in 5/06 at age 52 after feeling lousy for a couple of months. Never in my wildest dreams did the idea of having Hepatitis C come up in my mind. The doctors estimated that I had the virus for 20 years. I began the peginterferon-ribavin therapy, which lasted 48 weeks. It was a grueling treatment. I never had felt so exhausted 24/7. Some days I had to tell myself to put one foot in front of the other so I could walk. I chose to take my shots Thursday nights, took every Friday off work, and slept for two days. I would come home from work and fall sleep sitting up on the sofa. My family, doctor, and co-workers were wonderful and I would not have been able to complete the treatment if it was not for them. There were times when I almost quit. The first six weeks of treatment were hell, and I asked my doctor if I could have a note to take a couple of weeks off work to take care of me. His comment was "if you can't handle this, then maybe we should discontinue treatment." I convinced him to give me the note, and found another doctor in his practice. The new doctor called me when I had questions, was supportive, and was the complete opposite of the first doctor. Finding the right doctor is essential in getting through this treatment. I have achieved sustained virological response within three months from when I started treatment. Almost three years later, I am still virus free. I consider myself cured.

Comment from: greyhound515, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 03

I was diagnosed year ago after insisting I was not "depressed." I just could not get my 33-year old butt out of bed in the mornings even after 12-15 hours of sleep. I was in fantastic shape back then! I did the interferon, did not know to drink more water than I could ever stand and I learned about treatment side effects from a friend who was a research chemist I did great for maybe 7 years, then the virus came back. I did the combo treatment and now I am blessed with chronic diarrhea (IBS), depression/bi-polar, migraines, and now have Diabetes and high blood pressure. The government still doesn't believe me to be disabled. The good news is I have been okay since then other than occasionally pooping my pants. My hep C has been unavoidable for 7 years now though so I am remaining optimistic.

Comment from: Pj in Denver, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C last year in January of 2008. The doctor said I had one of the highest viral loads he'd ever seen. I had felt sick for almost five years and kept asking my doctor what could be wrong. I was tired, my digestion was sluggish, I felt bloated and my joints hurt. "You're getting older" was the answer. I thought, “Man, I'm only 40! Does everyone feel this bad at 40?” Finally, being tested for something else showed the hepatitis C. After I was told what the Interferon and Ribavirin was all about and what I would feel like, let alone that the high viral load meant I stood a minimal chance at best of getting rid of it with the only method doctors have, I decided to treat myself first. I went 90% organic, dropped all alcohol and caffeine, started taking Milk Thistle and Alpha Lipoic and having regular colonics to detox my liver and gall bladder. Now, more than a year later, I have almost no sign of the virus. (It's non-detectable.) I feel better than I have in years! I look better too. I urge everyone out there to at least look into alternative, holistic methods before poisoning your entire system to get at this virus. Quality of life is something to consider, even in the short-term.

Comment from: daledo one, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 26

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C years ago when I gave blood. I was told that I had been exposed to hepatitis C by the presence of antibodies, but I might never even progress to chronic hepatitis. About a year ago, I started getting sores on my legs. My regular doctor said he thought it was a reaction to methadone pills I take for chronic neck pain. All along, I was told it might be related to the hepatitis C somehow, even though all the hepatitis tests they did showed no sign of hepatitis C. Now, all of a sudden, I'm told I have major liver damage and cirrhosis and I can't be treated because of it.

blood test hepatitis C std lab
Comment from: bettyb, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C two years ago after having extreme tiredness and lack of energy. After seeing a gastro-doctor he said my hepatitis C was not causing these conditions, that I was extremely depressed. He said I would have to recover from that before I could be treated for hepatitis C because of the side effects from the medicine. Now he says that I am too old (71) and the quality of my life would be better if I did not take the medicine. I have always suffered from depression and anxiety. I had a blood transfusion in 1982 and 1989. I do have some liver scaring, but I'm healthy otherwise.

Comment from: Deborah, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2000. I was in stage 2 then. I tried the interferon and ribavirin. It didn't work, so in 2007, after being diagnosed in stage 4, I tried the Copegus. That didn't work either. So now I just try to take care of myself. I also just got over anal/rectal cancer. Now it is the quality of life I look forward to, knowing there is nothing out there to help me. I can certainly tell you everything there is to know about hepatitis C though! Milk thistle is good; it certainly can't hurt you. I also use Liver Aid. You can buy it at your local drug store. I am 57 and hanging in there!

Comment from: Diane P., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

I was diagnosed with stage II hepatitis C in 2003 and was suffering with mental disorders at the time, so I could not take the interferon. Since then, I have taken milk thistle and believe that I haven't gotten much worse. Also in 2003, my brother was diagnosed with hepatitis C, stage IV with cirrhosis. During that year, he was hospitalized. We shared the same doctor, and in July of 2007, my brother passed away. He also took and swore by the milk thistle. My doctor will not give me another biopsy even though I have asked him numerous times. Once a year, I have a CT scan and ultrasound of my liver, to which all he will say is that this is chronic and there is nothing I can do unless you will take the interferon, which as stated before, I can't.

Comment from: Hep C patient, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 18

I'm a 37-year-old male. I was diagnosed a few years back with hepatitis C. I had Interferon and Ribavirin daily for 48 weeks. Eventually, the treatment worked, and now the virus is undetectable. I went through many different side effects: tiredness, anxious, depressed, sore joints, etc.

Comment from: Shutty, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 18

My husband was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1998 that was caused by Agent Orange that he was exposed to when he was in Vietnam. He had a liver transplant in 2002.

Comment from: Sarag, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I was diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis C in 1996. I received treatment for one year with Interferon 3mu SQ three times a week. My viral load disappeared and my liver functions normalized. My hepatitis C qualitative PCR has remained negative since completing treatment. My genotype is 2A. I felt pretty crummy throughout treatment with flu-like symptoms and I lost approx. 30 lbs (didn't really need to lose weight). I've been fine since and get my PCR checked every five years. I went on treatment against the advice of my primary care doctor. He felt that I wouldn't respond and felt the expense didn't justify it. My main reason for going on treatment was that I believed I could be cured and I didn't want to live with a chronic illness. Also, I had two small children and didn't want to run the risk of spreading it to them or to my husband. It was the best decision I ever made and I was glad that I'd read everything I could about the disease and understood the genotypes, tx responses, etc.

Comment from: VTK, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 06

Hepatitis C needs more attention drawn to it. I'm a chronic Hep C patient. Pegasys did not work for me, and I knew going in that it probably wouldn't. Type 1 has maybe a 25% success rate. I'm taking milk thistle daily now. Because I'm no chemist or herbalist, I don't want to misinform you of its usefulness. Since I've been taking milk thistle, I can only say some of the pain was lessened. Even if it's just a placebo effect, that's OK by me. Having hepatitis C is nothing to be embarrassed over. I'm confident mine came via the U.S. Navy from when I got some inoculations via the old "air gun" method. It doesn't matter where or how you got it. Speak up and speak loud. As a result of my condition, some friends decided they could have been exposed. Out of those friends, one of my friends came up positive for the disease. Now, he is looking at treatment.

Comment from: AS, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 26

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C as part of a routine employment exam in 2005. I started a course of Peginterferon and Ribavirin which continued for a year. At the last testing in 2007 I was still virus free below detectable levels. Recently I have had an increase in itching which seems to indicate chronic hepatitis C. I am beginning to get worried now.

blood test hepatitis C std lab
Published: June 25

HCV Genotype 1A. The first attempt was with Pegasys, I am allergic to Peg-Intron it was stopped after the second injection. Then Intron and Ribavirin was tried. I was virus free at 6 and 9 mos. The virus broke thru at one year and treatment was stopped and I have been classified as a non-responder.

Comment from: montanabln, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 16

I have very recently been put on combination therapy and have had so far administered to myself three injections and decided to administer them in the day time of my first day free from work. My reasoning behind daytime injection is to take the anxiety away from the injection and to see it as a "monster" I need to defeat. With this in mind my philosophy and tactic is as follows: Up to an hour before the injection 1 to 2 liters of water and a camomile tea to calm the nerves. After the injection I literally swallow 3 to 4 liters of water and go to the gym and ride a bike or do other physical activity. I have experienced so far no side effects from the therapy.

Comment from: BDCG, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 16

I am seeing a friend through pegylated/ribavirin treatment for Hep C. He is treating himself with daily injections of interferon, as well as a daily ribavirin pill, and with Neupogen once a week, and Epogen as needed.

Comment from: Bee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C two years ago by blood tests. I had swelling of the lower legs, fatigue and sore joints. I had all the aches and pains, but I figured it was due to my getting old! I was put on pegatron shots and pills, which at first starting worked like magic but then gradually stopped helping.

Comment from: Bobby, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 15

I have taken the injection and the pills and I am also African American. The virus was maintained for the year I took it, but it did not work.

Comment from: albatros, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 22

I started combination therapy but at my first injection I had an allergic reaction. I had a swollen face, red rush on my neck, and numb upper lips. I went to A&E and was advised to stop straight away taking my medication. There are no alternative therapies on offer so now I'm waiting for a liver biopsy to decide what to do next. Has anyone experienced this?

blood test hepatitis C std lab
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.