What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver and its cells. The liver is an essential organ that aids the removal of toxins from the blood, stores vitamins, and produces hormones. Other exemplary functions of the liver include:
- bile production to help digest food
- excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, etc.
- breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into simpler forms
- activation of enzymes, which are specialized proteins essential to body functions
- storage of glycogen, minerals, and vitamins
- synthesis of blood proteins, such as albumin
The inflammation due to hepatitis can disrupt the function of the liver.
Hepatitis is mainly caused by a viral infection, but there are possible causes of hepatitis, as well. For instance, autoimmune disorders, prolonged use of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is also a cause of hepatitis that occurs when the body produces too many antibodies against your liver tissue.
There are three most common types of hepatitis - A, B, and C. Infection with any of these viruses can pose a threat of life-threatening conditions. Though each type of hepatitis tends to be different, the signs may appear to be similar.
You may be able to prevent some of the complications of hepatitis by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Types of Hepatitis
Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.
Hepatitis A is a short term condition while other forms of hepatitis are likely to be chronic except hepatitis E, but it is likely to be severe in pregnant women.
It is triggered by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). You may get infected from this virus by consuming food or water which is contaminated or by faeces from an infected hepatitis person.
It is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as semen, vaginal secretions, blood, etc. Also, having sex with an infected person, or sharing personal hygiene products, or using the injected drug may also put you at risk of hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C is triggered by the hepatitis C virus or HCV. It is transmitted mostly through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through infection or sexual contact
Hepatitis D is a more serious form of infection caused by the hepatitis D virus or HDV. HDV is contracted via direct contact with infected blood. Likely, this rare form of delta hepatitis is triggered in conjunction with hepatitis B infection because alone, the virus hepatitis D may not multiply.
It is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus or HEV. Hepatitis E is mainly found in those who practice poor hygiene or ingest faecal matter via the contaminated water supply.
Signs and Symptoms
Usually, after the virus has been in your body for several days, symptoms can be experienced by the body. But not everyone with hepatitis experiences signs of hepatitis. However, if signs and symptoms do appear, they may look like:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Dark-coloured stools
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Severe itching
These signs usually remain mild and go away within a few days or weeks. However, hepatitis A results in a severe illness that lasts several months.
Hepatitis A is triggered by a virus that affects liver cells and results in inflammation. This may disrupt the function of the liver and cause signs and symptoms to appear. The virus that results in Hepatitis A may spread through different sources, such as consuming contaminated food or drinks.
The most common causes include:
Alcohol and other toxins
Binge alcohol consumption can also damage the cells in the liver. Liver damage due to excessive alcohol consumption is called alcoholic hepatitis. The waste produced out of alcohol is hard to be processed by the liver. Likely this may injure the cells of the liver. If not taken care of, you can also expect permanent damage to the liver or even liver failure and liver cirrhosis.
Autoimmune system response
When you have an autoimmune disorder, the immune system mistakenly attacks the liver in response to infection. The ongoing inflammation due to faults in the immune system may also hinder liver function. This happens more in women than in men.
Other causes include overuse of medications and exposure to chemicals or poisons.
A person is at increased risk of hepatitis if he or she:
- Travels or work in the places where hepatitis A is common
- Attend or work in a child care centre
- Come in direct with another person who has hepatitis A
- Has sexual contact with an infected person
- Is HIV positive
- Have a clotting-factor disorder, such as haemophilia
- Uses any type of illegal drugs
Ayurvedic treatment for hepatitis
In Ayurveda, the liver is called Yakriti, which is dominated by Pitta dosha. This means most liver conditions are the onset of aggravated Pitta.
Vitiated Pitta also results in excessive bile secretion or an obstruction in the bile flow. This affects the digestive fire or agni or enzyme activities that facilitate absorption, digestion, and metabolism.
Hepatitis is also a cause of vitiated Pitta, followed by cirrhosis and fatty liver.
In Ayurveda, liver diseases come under the aegis of Kaamla. Kaamla is a disease of channels called Raktavaha. So conditions that obstruct the functioning of Raktavaha also induce liver disorders, including hepatitis.
At AyuKarma, we employ procedures and therapies to help our patients fight types of hepatitis. The treatment by us is highly effective in controlling the infection and subsiding the signs and underlying cause of liver damage.
We use an ayurvedic procedure called Panchakarma along with Shodana Chikitsa and Shamana Chikitisa, and Kayakalpa.
As the patients are bound to the ayurvedic treatment, they also need to work on a Satvik diet and lifestyle modifications as recommended by our skilled ayurvedic physicians. To get the maximum benefits out of treatment, we suggest our patients follow our guidance at every step.
For more information, you can also reach out to us at AyuKarma.