The Journey of Hepatitis C Treatment Recovery
Last updated: December 2021
Editor's note: Treatment length time and side effects may vary from person to person. If you have questions about your treatment plan, please reach out to your doctor.
Getting on the other side of hepatitis C treatment and being cured is what hepatitis C patients long for. We crave energy and good health.
But recovery is not instant. For me, my hepatologist shared helpful information with me as I recovered from treatment.
Improved treatments ushered in a variety of treatment options, shorter treatment lengths, and fewer side effects. Standard treatment time can range from 8 to 12 weeks. DAA (direct-acting antiviral) hepatitis C treatment has a high cure rate of over 95 percent in the majority of cases.1
Prior to beginning my treatment many years ago, my hepatologist told me recovery from treatment with the new DAA (direct-acting antiviral treatments) could take a few months or longer depending on the patient’s liver and medical condition.
Hepatitis C treatment recovery and the length are different for each patient. He recommended I be patient in the process and focus on the cure. My hepatologist explained that certain factors might affect recovery.
What factors can affect recovery
- If liver damage is present (no damage, mild, fibrosis or cirrhosis) and what stage it is
- If cirrhosis (severe scarring) is present, is it compensated or decompensated
- Other medical conditions you might have
- Additional medications and their side effects
- Past hep C treatment experience
Once the hepatitis C virus is eliminated from the body (being cured with treatment), the recovery phase can begin. My hepatologist told me that it’s important to remember recovery is not instant.
Your liver and body have been fighting a battle and need time to restore energy and regenerate healthy liver tissue (depending on the level of liver damage). He mentioned that recovery can sometimes take longer if the patient has severe scarring.
Hepatitis C treatment can cure the hepatitis C virus, but not cirrhosis (severe scarring). If you have cirrhosis and take medication for that condition, do not stop, or alter those medications unless your doctor advises.
What can speed up recovery time
As I recovered from treatment, my hepatologist told me that I could experience fatigue, as well as a suppressed immune system. He suggested I try the following to speed up my recovery.
- Drinking at least 64 ounces of pure water daily (soda’s and coffee do not count)
- Eating nutritious healthy meals and snacks and avoiding processed foods
- Mild exercise like walking, stretching, and using light weights (which help rebuild stamina and strength)
- Receiving the annual flu shot and if age-appropriate, the pneumonia shot
- Connecting with a support group for encouragement
My advice is to have patience in the recovery process. Remember treatment did not happen overnight and neither does recovery. You will get there, my friend!
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