What Does Chronic Hepatitis C Do to the Liver?

Chronic hepatitis C can lead to scarring of the liver. Fibrosis (fye-BRO-sis) and cirrhosis are different levels of scarring that can occur.

Fibrosis is a scarring process that occurs as hepatitis C damages the liver. When the scarring spreads, the liver has a hard time working.

Cirrhosis occurs when most of the liver tissue has been replaced by scar tissue. This damage to the liver cannot be repaired.

Cirrhosis can result in:

  • Problems with blood flow through the liver
  • Swelling of the spleen (spl-EE-n)
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • Bleeding into your stomach and dark, tar-like stools
  • Too much fluid in your belly, called ascites (uh-SY-teez)
  • Buildup of waste products, which may cause confusion and changes in your sleep
  • Buildup of bilirubin due to the liver working poorly and not removing it
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