An Overview of Toxic Hepatitis

Although there are different types of hepatitis, the basic meaning of hepatitis is that the liver becomes swollen or inflamed. However, certain types of hepatitis are not necessarily transferred through blood or other bodily fluids.

In fact, some hepatitis can be caused by an overabundance of toxins in the body, because of a lack of proper function by the liver, or because of medications and drugs that build up in the blood stream, or even because of certain environmental conditions.

Toxic hepatitis can be just as deadly, if not more so, than other forms of hepatitis, if the toxins cannot be discovered. Once the toxins are inside your body, the liver swells, reducing its capacity to rid your blood of those toxins. As such, the toxins build up even more, causing the liver to become even more inflamed, damaging both the liver and some of the surrounding tissues.

Many different causes of toxic hepatitis exist, whether by medication, or by herbs and vitamins, or by caustic chemicals. Certain antibiotics can cause an inflammation of the liver, as well as acetaminophen, which is a common pain reliever. Certain cholesterol drugs that contain statins can also poison the liver.

Even the drug methyldopa, which is for high blood pressure, can cause poison to build up within the body, thus damaging the liver. Mistletoe and high dosages of vitamin A can also cause problems for the liver, particularly if ingested repeatedly over a period of time. Phosphorous and chloroform have also been known to stimulate an inflammation of the liver.

The symptoms of toxic hepatitis follow those of many other forms of hepatitis, or liver failure in general. These symptoms include jaundice, nausea, vomiting, white or light-colored stools, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.

Typically, risk factors for this disease do not exist, since it can not be contracted hereditarily or contagiously. The only way to obtain the disease is to be exposed to poisons. However, alcoholics do tend to be more sensitive to these poisons, since their liver is already overworking to process all of the alcohol.

Although there is no specific test to determine if a person has toxic hepatitis, doctors can perform thorough inquiries as to what your past history has been like, whether you are an alcoholic, your workplace conditions, and any medications and over-the-counter drugs you might be taking.

If the doctor concludes that you do have toxic hepatitis, the only thing you can do is to wait it out, since no medications or cures exist for this type of hepatitis.

Depending on the level of severity, the symptoms should go away within a few days to a few weeks, as long as the poison has been identified and removed from your environment, whether medications or poisons from the workplace. If the case is particularly severe, liver damage can occur which will invariably result in liver failure, at which point a liver transplant is needed in order to evade death.

Overall, if the poison can be identified, this type of hepatitis is one of the least harmful of the hepatitis ailments. With a little rest and patience, someone who has contracted toxic hepatitis should be back to feeling better within weeks, if not days.