Hepatitis C is a type of viral hepatitis that can lead to serious liver damage and changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Because of the infection’s ability to be transmitted sexually and through blood to blood contact, hepatitis C can have an impact on the reproductive and sexual health of a woman.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is caused by a viral infection of the liver, which in turn can lead to serious side effects, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and liver failure. Hepatitis C is an extremely contagious liver disease that can range in severity, and many people who contract the disease often don’t feel the immediate effects of their symptoms until they’ve been infected with the virus for a long period of time.
Hepatitis C is primarily transferred through blood to blood contact with an infected person, but it can also be spread through sexual transmission, although it is not as common. People who share the needles of intravenous drugs can also spread hepatitis C if the needles are shared with someone who has already been infected with the virus.
Hepatitis C infection by source
Common symptoms associated with hepatitis C include flu-like symptoms that typically range from 2 weeks to 6 months after the person first contracts the virus. Other symptoms that indicate hepatitis C infection includes fatigue, achiness, nausea, lack of appetite, and liver tenderness.
For some people, the virus may resolve itself within the first six months of infection, and for others it can become a chronic problem that leads to long term health issues.
How are women affected?
Women are typically affected differently by hepatitis C than men because of the effect that the virus has on their reproductive systems. Hepatitis C can have many different effects on the menstrual cycle, and can affect the way women’s bodies respond to the treatment methods.
As a result, women who have been infected with hepatitis C also experience changes within their reproductive and sexual health as well, often needing to take extra precaution during their cycles.
Women infected with hepatitis C sometimes may experience changes in their menstrual cycles, such as shorter or missed periods. Effects on the menstrual cycle are also more prominent in women who experience advanced liver damage due to the virus, and women may also experience an irregular menstrual cycle during their treatment of hepatitis C.
Heavier to lighter periods, shorter to longer cycles, and differences in PMS symptoms are also possible side effects that can occur.
Hepatitis C is often characterized by serious damage to the liver. The liver serves as a vital organ necessary for the function of the menstrual cycle and balancing estrogen hormones. Damage to the liver can have a significant effect on a woman’s menstrual cycle as a result, in which liver damage as a result of the virus can cause irregular and missed periods for an extended period of time.
Can hepatitis C be transmitted through menstruation?
Menstrual blood is an aspect of menstruation. It is thought that hepatitis C can possibly be transmitted through menstrual blood, since the most common method of transmission is through blood to blood contact with an infected person. There is a theory that hepatitis C can be contracted through sexual contact with a woman who is menstruating at the time and has been infected with the virus, due to the presence of menstrual blood.
The risk can be heightened if their sexual partner has any open cuts or wounds on the body that can be exposed to the infected blood, and lead to contraction of the disease. It is important to use condoms during sexual activity to reduce the risk of transmission of hepatitis C through blood contact.
Taking standard yet necessary precautions is important for sexual partners if one is infected with hepatitis C, so using condoms, disposing of used tampons and pads properly, and exercising special caution when menstruating during sex is imperative.
Women who have hepatitis C and are close to the menopause stage may also experience sudden changes. Differences in menopausal symptoms have been reported from women with the virus, including differences in symptoms such as hot flashes and irregular bleeding and spotting.
Women who have chronic hepatitis C also often go through regular treatments that can induce menopause even if they are premenopausal. Menopause can accelerate the progression of liver fibrosis in women with chronic hepatitis C.
Despite the severity of the disease, hepatitis C can be cured. There are treatments that women can take in order to mitigate their condition, which is often dependent on the extent of damage to the liver and the type of hepatitis C. Even while taking treatments, women can experience changes to their bodies during menstruation.