Talking to Your Doctor About Viral Hepatitis
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with hepatitis. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What type do I have?
- Is it possible to have more than one type?
- How did I get this?
- What medicines, dietary supplements, or herbal preparations should I stay away from that make it worse?
- Are there other substances I should stay away from?
- What can I do to keep from passing hepatitis on to other people?
- What are some of the short term and long term problems linked to having it?
- What symptoms should I watch out for and should I report?
About Your Risk of Developing Hepatitis
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk?
- How do I best prevent it?
- Does my job put me at risk?
- What can I do to lower my risk?
- Should I be vaccinated?
- Should I be screened?
- How often should I be screened if I do not have any symptoms?
About Treatment Options
- How do I best treat hepatitis?
What medicines can help me?
- What are the benefits and side effects of these medicines?
- Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over the counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Is it safe for me to have a baby?
- What kind of protection should I use when having sex?
- Are there habits I should have in order to keep from passing hepatitis to others?
- Why do I need to stay away from alcohol?
How do I find help to stop drinking?
- Should I exercise?
- When will I stop feeling so tired?
- Will my hepatitis go away?
- Will it become a long term problem?
- Will I get other long term liver problems?
- Will I get liver cancer?
- Will I need a liver transplant?
- How will I know that my treatment plan is working?
- Will I have immunity to hepatitis?
- What types will I be immune to?
Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T913216/Acute-hepatitis-B-virus-HBV-infection. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Acute hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T413896/Acute-hepatitis-C-infection. Updated November 15, 2018. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115624/Chronic-hepatitis-B-virus-HBV-infection. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Chronic hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115157/Chronic-hepatitis-C-infection. Updated January 31, 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed April 7, 2019.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114868/Hepatitis-A-virus-HAV-infection. Updated March 7, 2019. Accessed April 17, 2019.
Last reviewed February 2019 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 4/17/2019