Top 6 Questions & Answers about Hepatitis C Treatment Recovery
Hepatitis C treatment recovery is unique for every patient, yet there are similar experiences. Here are the top 5 questions I hear regarding hepatitis C treatment recovery.
1. How long does recovery from hepatitis C treatment take?
A general recovery time can range from 3 months to 1 year. Recovery from hepatitis C treatment is unique for every patient, since every patient’s liver condition and treatment is different. Liver damage and other medical conditions need to be considered.
2. Why do I still feel so tired?
Fatigue is a common side effect of all treatment. Fatigue also linger during treatment and recovery. This is common.
Drink plenty of pure water, or water infused with citrus. Start a low-impact exercise routine like stretching, and short walks. Build up gradually. Good nutrition and exercise help boost energy.
Listen to your body and take rest breaks. A good balance of nutrition, exercise, and rest is important for recovery. Be patient in the recovery process. Just like treatment, recovery is one day, one week at a time. It will get better and you will regain energy.
3. After reaching SVR12, will I still need blood tests to check my viral load?
Standard, post-treatment blood tests to check viral load are done 12 weeks after treatment has been completed. Some liver specialists (hepatologists and gastroenterologists) follow up with a 24-week post treatment test. Due to new treatments with direct acting anti-viral drugs that attack the virus cell and prevent it from replicating, there is a less than 1% chance any of the hepatitis C virus returning.
4. I’ve reached SVR12, yet sometimes when I’m not feeling well, I wonder if it’s my liver... Is this normal?
This is a very common assumption. Personally, I had hepatitis C for 20 years, after finally receiving the cure. It took me a good 2 years after treatment was completed before I stopped wondering every time I felt tired, or sick if hep C was back or if my liver was “acting” up.
I’ve worked with a lot of patients over the years and nearly everyone in recovery has this same experience. If you feel unusually tired or sick, see your physician and have a blood test. It’s a proactive move that will help bring you some peace.
5. After I am cured of hepatitis C, will I still need ultrasounds every year?
Every patient’s liver condition is unique. Ask your doctor if you have any liver damage, and what follow up tests are important for your condition. Hepatitis C patients are at higher risk for fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and cancer. Blood work, ultrasounds, and MRI’s can help diagnosis nodules, or tumors, early, while also keeping watch on the condition of the liver.
Tests can be done either every 6 months to once a year, depending on what your doctor recommends for your condition.
6. Why do I need to take medications for cirrhosis after I’m cured of hepatitis C?
Receiving the cure for hepatitis C eliminates the virus and prevents further liver damage from occurring. The liver can regenerate from a certain amount liver damage, but it cannot regenerate from severe scarring (cirrhosis). Hepatitis C treatment does not cure cirrhosis.
It’s very important you continue all medications your doctor has prescribed for cirrhosis. Never stop or alter your medication unless your doctor advises.
Have you been diagnosed with cirrhosis?