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Jaundice | Cause | Prevention | Treatment | Medication

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Jaundice is a condition in which the skin, whites of the eyes, and mucous membranes turn yellow because of a high level of bilirubin, a yellow-orange bile pigment. Jaundice has many causes, including hepatitis, gallstones, and tumors. In adults, jaundice usually does not need to be treated. It is also known as icterus.

Risk factors:

Jaundice most often happens as a result of an underlying disorder that either causes the production of too much bilirubin or prevents the liver from getting rid of it. Both of these result in bilirubin being deposited in tissues.

Cause jaundice includes: Acute liver inflammation: This can impair the liver's ability to conjugate and secrete bilirubin, resulting in an erection.

Inflammation of the bile duct: It can prevent the secretion of bile and removal of bilirubin, which can cause jaundice.

Bile duct obstruction: This prevents the liver from disposing of bilirubin. Hemolytic anemia: The production of bilirubin is increased when large amounts of red blood cells break down. Gilbert syndrome: It is a hereditary condition that impedes the ability of enzymes to process bile excretion. Cholestasis: It impedes the flow of bile from the liver. Bile containing conjugated bilirubin remains in the liver rather than being excreted.

Rare conditions that cause jaundice include: Kriegler – Najjar syndrome: It is an inherited condition that implicates the specific enzyme responsible for the processing of bilirubin. Dubin-Johnson syndrome: This is an inherited form of chronic jaundice that prevents conjugated bilirubin from being secreted by liver cells. Pseudoejundis: It is a harmless form of jaundice. Skin yellowing is caused by an excess of beta-carotene, not by an excess of bilirubin. Pseudo carrots, pumpkins, or melons are usually produced by eating large amounts.

Common symptoms of jaundice include: A yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes, normally starting at the head and spreading down the body, pale stools, dark urine, itchiness. Accompanying symptoms of jaundice resulting from low bilirubin levels include fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss, vomiting, fever, pale stools, dark urine.

Complications: The itching that occurs with jaundice can sometimes be so intense that patients are known to scratch their skin, experience insomnia, or in extreme cases, even have suicidal thoughts. When complications occur, it is usually due to the underlying problem, not jaundice itself. For example, if jaundice occurs in a bile duct, uncontrolled bleeding may occur. The reason for this is that blockage leads to a deficiency of the vitamins needed for clotting.