for Veterans and the Public
Hepatitis - Liver Basics
The word "hepatitis" means inflammation or swelling of the liver. Hepatitis is often caused by a virus (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C), but the inflammation can also be triggered by medications, alcohol, and even some genetic diseases. (Genetic diseases are ones that are passed down from your biological parents.)
Sometimes liver inflammation gets better on its own, but sometimes treatment with medications is required to stop the inflammation.
If you have hepatitis, you need to be very careful not to do things that might irritate your liver even more. Alcohol irritates the liver, even in someone who doesn't have any other liver problems.
For a comparison of the major types of viral hepatitis, see the ABCs of Hepatitis fact sheet.