Hepatitis C is a viral illness that causes liver inflammation and, in rare cases, severe liver damage. Because the virus spreads by contact with contaminated blood, some individuals are more susceptible to infection, including exposed healthcare personnel and drug addicts. Overall, the disease’s symptoms and effects are the same for both sexes. Nonetheless, the virus may have varying symptoms in women.
Twenty percent of all hepatitis C infections are considered to resolve spontaneously without treatment. However, ongoing monitoring data indicates that 37 percent of women with acute HCV will obtain clearance, compared to just 11 percent of males. It is considered that the female hormone estrogen directly inhibits the virus’s reproduction capacity, particularly during the latter phases of its life cycle. On the other hand, progesterone and testosterone do not seem to inhibit HCV replication.
Hepatitis C seldom manifests symptoms until its late stages. Frequently, a person may not realize they have hepatitis C until a blood test for another ailment reveals that their liver enzymes are elevated. While hepatitis C tends to proceed more slowly in females than males, this does not mean women should be less concerned. On the contrary, some factors might hasten HCV’s course, including alcohol consumption, obesity, and co-infection with hepatitis A or B.
As hepatitis C advances, skin issues, blood abnormalities, and weight loss may manifest. A functioning liver is essential for good health since it supports several other bodily systems. The liver produces bile, a compound required to break down lipids, as one of its functions.
The gallbladder stores bile, which is subsequently sent to the beginning of the small intestine as necessary. The combination of bile with stomach acids and pancreatic digestive juices enables the intestines to absorb nutrients into circulation. HCV may significantly impair the capacity of the liver to generate bile. Inadequate bile production may make fat digestion difficult and painful.
In its chronic form, HCV is often accompanied by nutritional problems caused by reduced liver metabolic activity. In reality, prevalence estimates for malnutrition and malabsorption in individuals with chronic liver disease range from 65 to 90 percent.
Malabsorption may result in nutritional or selective deficiency of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals. People with malabsorption often lose or have difficulty maintaining weight despite appropriate food intake, As the hepatitis C-related liver damage (cirrhosis) worsens, nausea and loss of appetite become more severe. Also, advanced cirrhosis may cause blood vessel pressure to build up in the liver.