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Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Jaundice

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Jaundice

What to Do If You Have Jaundice: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatment


What is Jaundice?

Jaundice is a medical condition in which some parts of the body along with the white part in the eyes turn yellow. This ailment in itself is not a disease but on the contrary an indication of some other underlying syndrome. Jaundice can affect people of all sorts irrespective of their age. However, it has been catching infants the most in the past few years leading to extreme illness.

There is no proven medication or vaccination for jaundice treatment but few precautions can be taken to prevent the disease. Aftercare plays a significant role in treating this condition.

The main cause of jaundice is a natural component of blood called bilirubin which is connected with haemoglobin. Bilirubin gets out of the body in its course time through regular excretion which helps maintain the level. However, when the blood component does not shed and exceeds in the amount it results in jaundice.

Any malfunction in the liver can cause the bilirubin to build up which shows on the skin as a yellow pigment. This can have a severe effect on both children and adults. When infants are affected with jaundice it can cause lifelong brain-related problems because of the presence of excess bilirubin. To put it briefly, jaundice is a symptom of the liver not functioning properly and up to its full potential. Let us now discuss jaundice symptoms.

Symptoms of Jaundice

The symptoms of jaundice can be easily identified as the yellow pigment is the most prevalent indication. The difficulty lies in understanding the reason behind liver failure resulting in jaundice. Some common symptoms to identify jaundice are as follows.

Yellowness on the Body Parts

As discussed, this is the most common symptom through which the condition can be easily identified. The excess of bilirubin in the bloodstream all over the body results in the skin looking as yellow. The blood component has a yellow hint to it.


The second most prominent indication of jaundice is excessive vomiting which happens in the initial stages of the ailment. The symptom arises as the liver is not able to perform at its best resulting in digestive problems and bowel obstruction.

 Loss of Appetite

Once a person is infected with jaundice, there will be a steep decline in appetite. The patient is likely to feel not hungry and full most of the time. This feeling arises because of poor digestion and preoccupied bile ducts in the stomach. However, it is advised to keep feeding the ill to restore the energy loss.

Unusual Weight Loss

Odd weight loss is yet another well-known sign of jaundice. When the patient is suffering from haemolytic jaundice, it significantly reduces the ability of the intestines to absorb important nutrients from the food eaten. Along with this, vomiting and loss of hunger also conclude abnormal weight loss.

Types of Jaundice

 Since this disease can be caused by many factors, it has been further divided into three types based on its cause. Each type affects a different part of the liver and has distinct consequences.

Haemolytic Jaundice

This type of jaundice happens when the liver is not able to keep up with the fast pace deposition of the blood corpuscles and an excessive amount of bilirubin coming in. Haemolytic jaundice affects most people with malaria as the parasites target the RBCs. Haemolytic jaundice is caused by the excessive disintegration of red blood cells which later can turn lethal.

Obstructive Jaundice

As the name suggests, this kind of jaundice is caused by the obstructions formed in the way of the liver preventing it to transport the excess bilirubin. Gallstones can be a significant example that causes severe malfunctioning in the liver.

Hepatocellular Jaundice

The third kind of jaundice can happen by an amalgamation of many factors. Alcohol abuse or any sort of liver problem can turn out to be a reason behind Hepatocellular jaundice. Hepatitis and similar virus infections can also damage the liver and make it weak.

Causes of Jaundice

There are many jaundice causes that can show up in the form of symptoms. The most common reasons behind the liver’s inability to function properly can involve diseases like malaria, hepatitis, cirrhosis, gallstones, and pancreatic cancer. All these ailments affect the liver in one way or another resulting in jaundice.

Jaundice Treatment

There is no one treatment available for curing jaundice but different methods can be adopted in accordance with the type of jaundice the patient is suffering from. Each kind of jaundice has an effect on discrete parts of the liver.

In the case of haemolytic jaundice, the patient should be taking iron supplements to restore the balance and in severe circumstances, surgical methods have to be performed. To treat Hepatocellular jaundice, antiviral medications can be taken to prevent the damage any further. In the worst-case scenario, a liver transplant has to be performed.

Obstructive jaundice is usually treated by surgical methods as the obstruction has to be removed to make the liver work properly again.


Jaundice is a liver-related disease and can be prevented if taken proper care of. Jaundice symptoms are easy to identify and one must consult a specialist to start the required treatment.

Dr. Sakshi Manchanda
Internal Medicine
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