Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a condition in which the body's own immune system attacks the liver. The disease occurs most frequently in women. People with AIH often have other immune system diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and/or thyroid problems. However, many environmental factors and medications may also cause AIH.
Symptoms of AIH are often vague and very similar to other liver problems. Fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, and pale-colored stools are some of the symptoms that may emerge.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Anyone who suspects they may have AIH should make an appointment with a hepatologist. Diagnosing this disease can be difficult because it mimics so many other liver problems, but consulting a hepatologist with a thorough and complete medical history of recent illnesses, medications and other medical problems is the first step toward diagnosis. Appropriate blood tests are the next step.