Hepatitis C symptoms females do not usually show up right away after exposure to the hep C virus. There is a big window of 2 weeks to 6 months for symptoms to crop up. Sometimes, many women don’t even know they have the virus for decades. The symptoms of hepatitis C in males are different than females.
Hep C Disease Lower Risk for Women
Overall women that have hepatitis C are at a much lower risk than their male counterpart to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Science doesn’t know why this is the case. It is theorized it could be that estrogen (female hormone) protects the female physiology from the hepatitis C virus.
However, women can pass on the hepatitis C virus during pregnancy and child birth. Good news is the rates are very low about 4% to 6%, that is 4 to 6 out of 100 births. Doctors recommend that a child born to a mother with hepatitis C should be tested for hepatitis C at 18 months. Some disagree if the tests are accurate at this stage of the child’s growth and development.
Most common Hepatitis C Symptoms Female:
Hepatitis C Symptoms Female
- Feeling tired, sleepy or drowsy
- Stomach (abdominal) pain
- Vomiting or a feeling of nausea
- Bruising very easily
- Bleeding very easily
- Loss of appetite (feeling queasy)
- Skin feels itchy
- Swelling in legs (lower appendages)
- Spider like veins – spider angiomas
- Dark colored stools (intestinal bleeding)
- Yellowish skin and eye color
- Bloated feeling in the stomach (ascites)
- Weight loss
- Slurred speech (not speaking normally)
- Brain fog – not able to think clearly
1. Could You Unknowingly Have Hep C?
Important fact about women and hepatitis C is that there are approximately 250,000 women with hepatitis C in the US. They may not even know it.
Many women that gave cesarean births before 1992, were unknowingly given tainted blood, according to the Hepatitis C Support Project.
2. Hep C Progression Slow in Women?
Yes, many women do not experience the rapid progression of the hepatitis C virus compared to men. Overall physical deteriorating health effects like cirrhosis and liver cancer is much slower in women than men.
Overall women are less likely to experience the severity of liver disease from hep C. However, there is a small chance (4% to 6%) that they can pass on the hep C virus during pregnancy and child birth.
Finally, there are physiological differences for hep C symptoms female and hep C symptoms male, can be attributed to estrogen (female hormone) that is more protective than testosterone (male hormone).
3. Hep C Testing for Women
If you think you have hep C symptoms as a female, get tested right away. Just because hep C progresses slower in women does not mean you have time to wait.
Go to Personal Labs, for hep C testing, its about $62. If you test positive, make sure you get a genotype test for the hepatitis C virus. This is also very important.
4. Hep C Virus Genotype Test
The genotype for the virus tells your health care professional to decide which hepatitis C treatment is best for you. You can get familiar with hepatitis C facts here.
5. Hep C Treatment
New hepatitis C treatment drugs are available and have a 99% cure rate. Yes, forget the days of peg-interferon injections that have horrible side effects.
Today, the new direct acting antivirals (DAAs) like Sovaldi (sofosbuvir 400mg), Harvoni (ledipasvir 90mg & sofosbuvir 400mg), Epclusa (velpatasvir 100mg & sofosbuvir 400mg) and Daklinza are available at a fair price of less than $800.
More answers on hepatitis C from CDC