Autoimmune Hepatitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Autoimmune Hepatisis is an autoimmune disease. The immune system of the body starts attacking the liver cells. It mostly affects the females, about 70% of the people suffering from autoimmune hepatisis are females. The disease is classified into Type I and II, with

Type I being more common in the North America.

It is caused due to certain genetic factors or because of some other autoimmune disorder. Some medicines can also trigger the symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis.

Symptoms of Autoimmune Hepatitis

The symptoms of the disease can be between mild and severe. The most common symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis are:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Enlarged liver
  • Itching
  • Jaundice
  • Skin rashes
  • Abnormality in the blood vessels
  • Joint pain
  • Grey or pale stools
  • Dark urine

In severe cases, the patient can experience some mental confusion and fluid in the abdominal region. Women with chronic case of autoimmune hepatitis may stop menstruating.

Diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis

The disease is diagnosed through the following tests:

Blood test:

A blood test carried out for liver enzymes will be helpful in detecting the disease.

Liver Biopsy:

A sample of liver tissue is examined to diagnose autoimmune hepatitis and its severity.

Treatment for Autoimmune Hepatitis


Once autoimmune hepatitis is detected the doctor can prescribe medicine according to the individual and the severity of the disease. The doctor may start with a dosage of 30 to 60 mg daily and lower it to 20 mg later. The common medicine to treat autoimmune hepatitis are prednisone and azathioprine.

Within 3 months of starting the medicines, the symptoms disappear in 70% of the cases.

Liver transplant:

Liver transplant is recommended for patients in the last stages of the disease. Liver transplants has a survival rate of 1 year in 90% of the cases and 5 year survival rate in about 80% of the cases.

The treatments yield positive results if the condition is diagnosed early.

Comments are closed.