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Author Topic: What type of doctor treats Hep-C?  (Read 11804 times)

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Offline Mike

  • Member
  • Posts: 999
What type of doctor treats Hep-C?
« on: August 22, 2014, 05:53:54 pm »
Being diagnosed with Hepatitis-C (Hep-C), which is a viral infection that can cause liver inflammation and progressive liver disease, can be a scary experience for those who recently learned that they are infected.

Simply put, a Hep-C infection can cause a lot of emotions to surface and be devastating for some.

After the initial diagnosis, the next questions are usually: can it be treated and cured? If so, what type of physician can effectively treat the infection?

The answer is two fold:

Most Hep-C infections are diagnosed by a primary care physician (your family doctor), and many of these professionals are able to, and quite competent, in treating a Hep-C infection. 

Moreover, as treatments become more effective, shorter and more manageable (less side effects from the treatment medication), more and more primary care physicians will develop the skills and competence to treat an active infection.

However, a large percentage of patients are referred to a physician who specializes in treating Hep-C. There are 3 types of physicians who may specialize in Hep-C treatment:

•   Gastroenterologist: Gastroenterology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine. These physicians specialize in internal medicine, with specific knowledge of the digestive system and the organs that are part of this system. The liver is a critical part of the digestive system, as it aids in metabolism and digestion. Because of this, gastroenterologist are very knowledgeable  regarding liver function, liver disorders and treating Hep-C

•   Infectious Disease Specialists: An infectious disease physician treats illness caused by all types of microorganisms, which include viruses and bacteria. Infectious disease physicians are trained to treat diseases caused by the hepatotrophic viruses, such hepatitis A, B and C viruses, as well as heptic diseases caused by bacteria. However, infectious disease physicians are not trained to treat caused by alcohol, which are treated by other types of specialists.

•   Hepatologist: A hepatologist is a gastroenterologist who receives additional training in treating liver diseases. These physicians are sub-specialists and are experts in all the diseases that affect the liver, including hepatitis.

Any of these specialist can treat and manage viral hepatitis, including Hep-C.

It is worthy to note, that not all individuals will need to be treated by a specialist, as many primary care physicians and, in some cases, nurse practitioners, have the skills, knowledge and competency to effectively treat and manage a Hep-C infection.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 05:58:40 pm by Mike »
Genotype 1a
Treated 2001 with PEG and RIBV
Treated in 2014 SOL+PEG+RIBV
Cured July 2014

Offline Feeling hopeless

  • Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: What type of doctor treats Hep-C?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2014, 11:23:14 am »
Mike I have a question, why would some Drs recommend no treatment if you have an active viral load? I know when I come back (if I come back) with a positive active infection I will want treatment. It boggles me as to why they wouldn't want to treat. My ultimate goal would to have a negative undetectable viral load as soon as I possibly could. I am so depressed about all this and my stomach is in knots. Tues/Weds feels like an years away! I just want to get to the bottom of this. I am truly saddened. Also reading some people needed 3-4 treatments and YEARS of an active infection is so disheartening and discouraging. Please help shed some light.
Again feeling so scared :(

Offline lporterrn

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,969
  • LucindaPorterRN
    • LucindaPorterRN
Re: What type of doctor treats Hep-C?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2014, 12:47:20 pm »
Hi Feeling Hopeless - I thought I'd address this. What you are reading doesn't apply anymore. The old treatment vs the new treatment is like the difference between the days when we had penicillin and when we got it. Penicillin was a game changer. We are 7 weeks away from an entirely new approach for curing hep C.

In the meantime, try to distract yourself with more pleasurable activities until you hear the results. The 'what-ifs" just raise anxiety and can be very draining. Summer is almost over - go out and enjoy it - winter will be here before you know it.
Lucinda Porter, RN
1988 Contracted HCV
1997 Interferon nonresponder
2003 PEG + ribavirin responder-relapser
2013 Cured (Harvoni + ribavirin clinical trial)

Offline Pelham123

  • Member
  • Posts: 70
  • Genotype 2 - Tx Sovaldi/Riba
Re: What type of doctor treats Hep-C?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2014, 01:29:51 pm »
Good post, Mike.  My gastroenterologist is treating me.  However, he doesn't seem to treat the side effects from the treatment.   He refers me either to another doctor (e.g. dermatologist, general practitioner, eye specialist, etc.)   

Lesson learned:  If I had known that up front, I would have organized my 'army of support doctors', and let them know that I was going to be taking ribavirin and found out if they were going to be available, or on vacation during my 12 weeks of treatment.

Is this your experience as well?

Offline Mike

  • Member
  • Posts: 999
Re: What type of doctor treats Hep-C?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2014, 08:48:45 pm »
Hi Pelham,

My gastroenterologist handled the side effects. However, I didn't really have any  this time that I couldn't manage with OTC meds.

Best wishes, Mike
Genotype 1a
Treated 2001 with PEG and RIBV
Treated in 2014 SOL+PEG+RIBV
Cured July 2014


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