9 Symptoms of Jaundice

Jaundice is a condition that appears as a side effect with certain medical issues such as gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, or hepatitis. It is a serious sign that something has gone wrong in the body, and it should not be ignored. It will not go away until the underlying health condition has been properly treated. Jaundice is caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood system. Bilirubin is a byproduct from your body breaking down old hemoglobin from the red blood cells. Under normal circumstances, the bilirubin would be filtered through the liver, bound to bile, and then transferred to the small intestine where it would eventually be expelled from the body with other waste. When the bilirubin can’t be properly filtered to transferred to the small intestine, it remains in the blood stream.

If jaundice persists then it can cause a condition called kernicterus. Kernicterus is a type of brain damage caused by high levels of bilirubin. This is caused by the amount of bilirubin in the system getting to such a high level that it gets moves out of the bloodstream and into the brain. If you experience the signs and symptoms provided below, it is important that you set up and appointment with your doctor.

1. Yellow Skin

Yellow skin is one of the hallmark signs of jaundice. When bilirubin builds up in the blood, it gets deposited into the fat and skin calls as the blood moves through the body. Bilirubin is yellow, so as it builds up more and more, the skin takes on a yellow color. For darker skin tones, this may be more noticeable on the palms of the hands and on the bottom of the feet. The yellow tint will become more and more noticeable as the bilirubin builds up in your system.

You may notice that your skin becomes itchy as the bilirubin builds up in your skin. This is because the bilirubin binds to bile when attempting to filter through the liver. The itchiness may grow in intensity as your skin becomes more yellow. Not everyone with jaundice will experience itchiness as the condition progresses.

Once the underlying health issues are managed, jaundice will begin to clear up on its own. It will take the body about a week or two to successfully filter out and expel the excess bilirubin. You can set up an appointment with your doctor to discuss possible diagnoses and a viable treatment plan for the underlying health issue.