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Most people (95%) who get infected with hepatitis B as an adult will have a short term (acute) illness, and their body will get rid of the virus naturally.

Symptoms of acute hepatitis B infection may be flu-like symptoms, muscle aches and pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), however many people will have no symptoms at all and not know that they have the infection.

People with chronic hepatitis B often experience no symptoms at all, or non-specific symptoms.

Most people with chronic hepatitis B have had the infection since birth or early childhood, and so may not know that the symptoms they experience are abnormal in any way. Symptoms vary and their severity and intensity may rise and fall over time.

In addition, the symptoms of hepatitis B may mask the symptoms of other emerging health problems.

Some of the symptoms that people with chronic hepatitis B may experience include:

  • Flu like symptoms: alternate chills and fevers
  • Pain in the liver region
  • Tiredness: chronic fatigue or sudden attacks of exhaustion
  • Night sweats
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea/indigestion
  • Increased perspiration
  • Poor concentration and forgetfulness
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Itching and skin problems
  • Depression, irritability, mood swings
  • Adverse reactions to alcohol
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome