Hearing the words “hepatitis c” creates a cringe within many, whether or not those who hear it know the full effects. Hep C virus HCV is a liver infection that can lead to severe liver damage. Surprisingly, about 3.9 million people in the US have this infection, but many may not know it. This is because the disease causes few symptoms, some being more extreme, and others being able to hide in daily pain.

Here are signs and symptoms of hepatitis c for your reference. Most minor symptoms can last anywhere within the range of 2-12 weeks:

1. Clay colored stool or dark urine
One of the most visible symptoms of hepatitis c is the discoloration of the human excrement. Poo will become a strange, fake looking color that represents clay instead of stool. Urine will also become discolored, becoming a very dark shade of yellow. A sign that there are a lot more toxins being processed through your system.

2. Fever and fatigue
Similar to the flu, hep c comes with a fever and fatigue that can lead to an exhaustion that will make day-to-day tasks difficult to finish. It’s common, with the fever, to feel like you are either always extremely cold, or burning hot.

3. Jaundice
Another of the more visible symptoms, jaundice causes the eyes to turn a dark yellowish color, almost like a dull yellow marble. It may turn the skin more yellow as well. Jaundice also includes the dark discoloration of urine.

4. Joint pain
Joint pain is one of the more easily masked symptoms if your hobbies or career may also cause this condition. With hepatitis c, the joints become swollen, and it can become difficult to carry out tasks that seem menial or simple.

5. Stomach issues
The stomach is a more highly affected area when it comes to hep c. Overarching all the symptoms is a loss of appetite, as it can become difficult to eat with all the accompanying symptoms. Stomach pain can often be a strong cause. Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms that can create this loss of appetite.

6. Fluid buildup
When you contract hepatitis c, an extreme symptom is a buildup of fluid within the stomach (abdominal cavity) and your legs, ankles, and feet (edema).

7. Gallstones
Gallstones are pieces of solid material that builds up in your gallbladder, located just underneath the kidney. They can range from the size of a grain of sand and the size of a golf ball.

8. Kidney failure
The kidneys filter your blood to make sure the proper nutrients and electrolytes are within the bloodstream. A more advanced type of hepatitis c will cause a shutdown of this organ, causing severe blood problems.

9. Problems with memory and concentration
It can become difficult to think properly and retain information while your liver is attacked by hep c. All the organs are connected, so naturally and attack on 1 will also affect the brain.

10. Muscle wasting and weight loss
Likely stemming from the more minor symptoms of fatigue and loss of appetite. Without energy to exercise or eat, it’s difficult to support muscle mass or the weight.