No Alcohol with Hepatitis C

Drinking with hepatitis C is like throwing fuel on a flame. This may not be a popular opinion. Some of you might even think that it’s too restrictive. I can tell you that as sure as there are stars in the sky, that drinking alcohol while you have the hepatitis C virus will cause increased damage to your liver. On the flip side, stopping drinking can help your liver to heal faster. I’m living proof.

An occasional drinker before my diagnosis

I never drank in my young adulthood. When I was in my early 50’s, I tried my first glass of red wine over the holidays. I felt so sophisticated, plus I loved the taste and the relaxed feeling. I had what I called a 2-inch rule. I would only allow someone to fill my glass with 2 inches of wine. Anything more than that and I would pass out. It made me kind of sad because I loved the flavor and I couldn’t enjoy it very often. I have to admit that after a lifetime of abstinence, I really felt all cool and grown up drinking from a wine glass.

Over the next 2 years, I had an occasional glass of wine with certain meals or while traveling. I got tipsy fast and fell asleep. I blamed my low tolerance to my body’s pure bloodstream. Turns out, it was just the opposite. My body was overwhelmed, only I didn’t know it. So I drank several times a year. I’m too much of a tightwad to drink wine in restaurants, and would only have it at home or a friend’s house. I wasn’t addicted. I just relished an evening with good friends, a nice meal, and a glass of wine. Then I was diagnosed with hepatitis C.

My doctor mistook my brain fog for being drunk

When I was first hospitalized with a swollen stomach, called ascites, the doctor didn’t know what was wrong with me. He thought I was an alcoholic. I was pretty brain fogged out. I had been bleeding from varices so my hemoglobin was low. My platelets were way low. My liver enzymes were all sky high. I acted drunk since I had hepatic encephalopathy.

My liver failed. It was tuckered out. I was dying.

What I knew for sure was that no matter what was causing my liver to fail, I would never do anything that would hurt my liver again. That meant no more wine. I would Never. Ever. Ever. Drink again.

When I learned that the hepatitis C virus was breeding in my liver, I vowed to help it as much as I could.

Making the decision to ditch alcohol

The hepatitis C virus circulates in our bloodstream. It chooses our liver to be it’s breeding ground. Day and night it keeps our liver filled with inflammation. Our liver cells are working to defend themselves by creating bands of connective tissue. While there is nothing you can do to reduce the viral load, you can help to keep inflammation down by doing everything you can to help your liver. One of the easiest things you can do is to stop drinking. If you need help with that, contact a local AA, counselor, pastor, or doctor. Look to friends and family to support your decision to drink NO alcohol with hepatitis C and liver disease. You will be glad you did.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (3)
  • Gezond
    9 months ago

    Hi Everybody, I was just checking if I can find info regarding Epclusa and Alcohol. I have just ginished the cure of Epclusa, I wa wondering if I can have 1 or 2 beers before I got ghe result of blood test? Is there any impact of alcohol on virus replication? please share some information as soon as you can

    Thx

  • Lauren Tucker moderator
    9 months ago

    Thanks Gezond for reaching out this is a great question, however, I do encourage you to speak with your Dr (if you haven’t already done so.) Additionally, I thought this article on alcohol and Hep C might be helpful- https://hepatitisc.net/living/no-alcohol/ Keep us posted. Best, Lauren (HepatitisC.net Team)

  • Gezond
    9 months ago

    I spoke to the nurse, the response is the same:Alcohol is not good for the liver . But I wanted scientific details, or check if there is any research than on that question.

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