Hep C is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver and can be divided into six different genotypes from one through six. A hep C specialist, including a hepatologist or gastroenterologist, can help with the treatment of the virus.
A gastroenterologist specializes in the digestive system, including the liver, intestines, gallbladder, and pancreas. On the other hand, a hepatologist specializes specifically in the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder; hepatology is a sub-specialty of gastroenterology.
How to Choose a Hep C Specialist
You can choose to go see either specialist, but you should first see your doctor to be tested for hep C in order to determine the genotype of hep C you are affected with. The results will show how much damage has been done to your liver before you see a hepatologist or gastroenterologist.
It is recommended that you choose a specialist who has had experience in treating patients with hep C.
Whatever hep C specialist you see will prescribe you medications that can help treat your symptoms of hep C. Usually, these medications are newer direct-acting antivirals and have fewer side effects than the older methods used to treat hep C. Any medications that you may choose for the treatment of your hep C should be approved by your country’s federal health organization, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Be sure to let your doctor or specialist know if you feel as though you are suffering from any side effects of the hep C medication that you are taking. Additionally, your doctor should know which medications are appropriate to treat your specific genotype of hep C.
It is important to remember to take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor or hep C specialist. Hep C medications can sometimes be costly, so you should check with your health insurance provider in case they may cover some of the cost.
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