Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E, but it can also be caused due to toxins (notably alcohol, certain medications, some industrial organic solvents and plants), other infections and autoimmune diseases.
Hepatitis is acute when it lasts less than six months and chronic when it persists longer. Some types of hepatitis will pass without causing permanent damage to the liver. Other types can persist for many years and cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and, in the most serious cases, loss of liver function (liver failure), which can be fatal. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.
Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, or may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, malaise or extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anorexia and abdominal pain.
Signs and symptoms
There are five main types of hepatitis that are caused by a virus, A, B, C, D, and E.
The clinical presentation of infectious hepatitis varies with the individual, as well as with the specific causative virus. Some patients may be entirely asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic at presentation. Others may present with rapid onset of fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). The classic presentation of infectious hepatitis involves 4 phases, as follows:
- Phase 1 (viral replication phase) – Patients are asymptomatic during this phase; laboratory studies demonstrate serologic and enzyme markers of hepatitis
- Phase 2 (prodromal phase) – Patients experience anorexia, nausea, vomiting, alterations in taste, arthralgias, malaise, fatigue, urticaria, and pruritus, and some develop an aversion to cigarette smoke; when seen by a health care provider during this phase, patients are often diagnosed as having gastroenteritis or a viral syndrome
- Phase 3 (icteric phase) – Patients may note dark urine, followed by pale-colored stools; in addition to the predominant gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and malaise, patients become icteric and may develop right upper quadrant pain with hepatomegaly
- Phase 4 (convalescent phase) – Symptoms and icterus resolve, and liver enzymes return to normal
Ayurveda Perspective & Management of Hepatitis
In Ayurveda, the liver is called Yakrit. Pitta is the predominant humor of the liver. Most liver disorders are aggravated conditions of Pitta.
Excessive bile production or a blockage in the flow of bile usually indicates high pitta, which in turn affects the agni or enzyme activities responsible for absorption, digestion and metabolism.
Aggravation of the Pitta causes the liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and fatty liver.
Kaamala is the term mentioned in Ayurveda to describe the wide range of liver diseases including Hepatitis. Kaamala is a disease of the Raktavaha srotas (a system which includes liver, spleen, blood vessels, and reticuloendothelial tissue) and dominant of pitta dosha. Kaamala is caused due to impairment of pitta dosha and rakta dhatu.
Ayurveda describes various types of kaamala (hepatitis or jaundice) based on the stage or depth of the symptoms. They are:
- Shakhasrita – is caused by the aggravation of all the doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), and is a kind of obstructive jaundice.
- Koshta shakhsrita – results from very high pitta derangement and considered as severe jaundice or hepatitis, difficult to cure.
- Kumbha kamala – is a neglected or untreated stage of jaundice or hepatitis. It can become incurable if not attended immediately. It can be compared with Cirrhosis of liver.
- Haleemaka – is an advanced or neglected stage of Paandu roga that occurs when both the vata and pitta are out of balance.
At CHARAKA, we are providing highly effective treatment for various type or Hepatitis including hepatitis B & hepatitis C. Our treatment is useful in controlling the infection & replication of the virus, preventing further damage to liver. Hepatitis B patients show better response than Hepatitis C.
Our treatment involves Shodana chikitsa (detoxification through Panchakarma procedures), Shamana chikitsa (Palliative researched Ayurvedic medicines) and Kayakalpa (rejuvenation).
Diet restrictions, life style modifications and de-addiction are also the essential factors practiced for the best possible results.