Only some people with hepatitis B experience symptoms, which usually develop 2 or 3 months after exposure to the hepatitis B virus.
Many people infected in adulthood will not experience any symptoms and will fight off the infection without realising they had it.
But they'll still be able to pass the virus on to others while they're infected.
Symptoms of hepatitis B can include:
- general aches and pains
- high temperature
- a general sense of feeling unwell
- loss of appetite
- feeling and being sick
- tummy pain
- yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- dark urine and pale, grey-coloured poo
Hepatitis B in adults will usually pass within 1 to 3 months. This is known as acute hepatitis B and rarely causes any serious problems.
Occasionally, the infection can last for 6 months or more. This is known as chronic hepatitis B.
Chronic hepatitis B mainly affects babies and young children who get hepatitis B. It's much less common in people who become infected later in childhood or when they're an adult.
The symptoms of chronic hepatitis B tend to be quite mild and may come and go. Some people may not have any noticeable symptoms.
But without treatment, people with chronic hepatitis B can develop problems like scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).