Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B usually occur 90 days (or 3 months) after exposure to the hepatitis B virus.1 Hepatitis B symptoms can range from mild to severe, but most individuals with chronic hepatitis B remain symptom free for as long as 20 or 30 years.1 The most common symptoms are:1

  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or feeling sick to your stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Yellow skin or yellowing of the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Clay or whitish coloured bowel movements
  • Pain in your joints
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

However, it is important to remember that nearly all infants and children, and about 70% of people infected in adulthood, do not develop hepatitis B symptoms.2,3 The older you are, the more likely you are to have symptoms of hepatitis B.3  However, even if you don’t have any hepatitis B symptoms, you can unknowingly pass the virus to others.

If you feel you have symptoms of hepatitis B or find you may be at risk it is important to talk to a medical professional about getting tested. He or she may recommend you take a simple diagnostic blood test.



1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis B FAQs for the Public. Available at Accessed May 2011.

2 Baby Center. Hepatitis. Available at Accessed July 2012.