What are the symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis?

Symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis involve a variety of body systems, and the effects can range from reduced energy level to skin irritation to abdominal and gastrointestinal symptoms. There can be marked variability in symptom intensity: near normal to extreme. You should seek medical attention for any one of these symptoms and seek immediate attention for symptoms associated with more serious stages and complications.

Gastrointestinal symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis

You may experience autoimmune hepatitis symptoms daily or not at all until the disease is more advanced. Some symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis directly affect the function of the gastrointestinal system. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Abdominal swelling, distention or bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pale or clay-colored stools
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Additional symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis

In autoimmune hepatitis, symptoms affecting other parts of the body can be just as prominent as those that more directly affect the digestive system. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Spider angiomas (red skin lesions consisting of small blood vessels that spread out in a pattern that resembles a spider web)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, autoimmune hepatitis can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Abdominal swelling, distention or bloating
  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions
  • Difficulty walking
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe fatigue
  • Vomiting blood or black material (resembling coffee grounds)


What is autoimmune hepatitis?

Autoimmune hepatitis is a type of liver inflammation in which the body’s immune cells attack healthy liver cells after mistaking them for disease-causing foreign substances. It affects children and adults at any age. It is often diagnosed in individuals who have been previously diagnosed with a different autoimmune disorder.

The liver assists the digestive system and carries out ... Read more about autoimmune hepatitisintroduction


What causes autoimmune hepatitis?

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system itself initiates inflammation because it cannot tell the difference between harmful invaders and healthy body tissue. Thus, in the case of autoimmune hepatitis, the body’s immune cells attack healthy cells in the liver after mistaking them for disease-causing foreign substances.

Autoimmune hepatitis is sometimes classified as type 1 or typ... Read more about autoimmune hepatitiscauses


How is autoimmune hepatitis treated?

The treatment of autoimmune hepatitis begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. If you have autoimmune hepatitis, your doctor will most likely start you on a course of corticosteroid therapy and, if needed, other immunosuppressants (medications that suppress the activity of the immune system). Following your treatment plan can slow or sometimes even stop the progression o... Read more about autoimmune hepatitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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