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What Is Jaundice?

Excessive accumulation of bile pigments in the bloodstream and body tissues causes yellow to orange and sometimes even greenish discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes, and mucous membranes. This condition is called jaundice. Jaundice is best seen in natural daylight and may not be seen under artificial lighting.

The degree of discoloration depends on the concentration of bile pigment in the blood, the rate of tissue diffusion and the absorption and binding of bilirubin by the tissue. Bilirubin enters tissue fluids and is more easily absorbed in areas of inflammation and edema.

The most common mechanisms that cause jaundice are excessive bile production by the liver, more is produced than can be easily excreted; congenital defects that can prevent the removal of bile pigments or cause excessive production; liver cells' inability to remove bile pigments from the blood due to liver disease; bilirubin extracted by the liver leaking back into the bloodstream (insufficiency), or obstruction of the bile ducts.

In a healthy newborn baby, jaundice may develop because the liver is not fully matured. This type of jaundice usually goes away within a few weeks when the liver starts working properly.

What Are The Causes of Jaundice?

Jaundice can occur when excess bilirubin accumulates in the body. This may occur for the following reasons;

Too many red blood cells die or break down and go to the liver (hemolytic jaundice)
If the liver is overloaded or damaged
If bilirubin from the liver cannot move properly into the digestive system
In the above cases, jaundice is usually a sign of a problem with the liver, gallbladder or pancreas.
It can also occur for the following reasons:
Infections and most commonly viruses.
Use of certain medications.
Cancer of liver, bile ducts or pancreas.
Blood disorders, gallstones, birth defects and some other medical conditions.

What Are The Symptoms of Jaundice?

Jaundice causes the white of the skin and eyes to appear yellow. Other symptoms may occur with jaundice. These may be;
Dark urine
White stool (Glassmaker paste-colored stool)
Loss of appetite
Weight loss
Mental changes such as fatigue or confusion

What Are The Treatment Methods?

Medical treatments of jaundice target the cause of jaundice. These treatments can be as follows:
Hepatocellular jaundice is treated with antiviral drugs and steroids.
Hemolytic jaundice is treated with iron supplements.

Further examinations are performed for the cause of hemolytic jaundice.

Blockage jaundice is treated with surgery and then medication to relieve the blockage.

There is also jaundice due to medication, that is, jaundice that occurs as a side effect of some drugs. In such cases, drugs are discontinued and alternative drugs are prescribed.

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