Jaundice is not a disease, but a sign of illness. Jaundice may be the result of many diseases such as gallstones, various forms of hepatitis, liver or pancreatic tumors and, rarely, cirrhosis of the liver. In some cases, the jaundice may also be induced by some medications – for example, strengthens the suppressor.
If you have a jaundice, skin and sclera are yellow because of increased bilirubin, yellowish-brown blood substances. Bilirubin is a waste product of degradation of old (worn out) red blood cells. Bilirubin goes from the bloodstream to the liver, accumulates in the bile duct as a bile, passes through the bile duct into the intestine and is finally excreted into the stool (it gives the brown color to the stool).
If the liver does not function properly – e.g. due to an infection such as hepatitis – there is no extraction of bilirubin from the bloodstream, so it accumulates in the blood, causing the skin and sclera to turn yellow. Strong itch is also possible. The stool is no longer yellow, but light gray.
Jaunice can also develop and if the bile duct is clogged – e.g. with a gallstone. Bilirubin accumulates in the bile and then pours back into the bloodstream. Another form of the jaundice is the so-called haemolytic jaundice, which is the symptom of hemolytic anemia. A jaundice may also be a side effect of a medication.
If, for any reason, you get a jaundice, contact your doctor immediately for a thorough examination. Treatment will depend on the root cause.