Jaundice is a condition in which the skin, eyes and mucous membranes turn yellow. This yellow color is caused by a high level of bilirubin, a yellow-orange bile pigment. Bile is a fluid secreted by the liver. Bilirubin is formed from the breakdown of red blood cells.

Jaundice can be caused by a problem in any of the three phases in bilirubin production.

Before the production of bilirubin, you may have what's called unconjugated jaundice due to increased levels of bilirubin caused by:

Reabsorption of a large hematoma (a collection of clotted or partially clotted blood under the skin).

Hemolytic anemias (blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before their normal lifespan is over).

During production of bilirubin, jaundice can be caused by:

Viruses, including Hepatitis A, chronic Hepatitis B and C, and Epstein-Barr virus infection (infectious mononucleosis).


Autoimmune disorders

Rare genetic metabolic defects

Some Medicines like oral contraceptives or anabolic steroids

After bilirubin is produced, jaundice may be caused by obstruction (blockage) of the bile ducts from:

Gallstones or CBD Stones

Inflammation (swelling) of the gallbladder

Gallbladder cancer

Pancreatic tumor


Most of the times yellowish coloration of the skin and the eyes are the most obvious symptoms of jaundice but sometimes there may not be any obvious symptoms. The appearance of the symptoms depends on how quickly or how slowly the disease is developing inside the body.

If you have a short-term case of jaundice (usually caused by infection), you may have the following symptoms and signs:



Abdominal pain

Flu-like symptoms

Change in skin color

Dark-colored urine and/or clay-colored stool.

If jaundice isn't caused by an infection, you may have symptoms such as weight loss or itchy skin. If the jaundice is caused by pancreatic or biliary tract cancers, the most common symptom is abdominal pain. Sometimes, you may have jaundice occurring with liver disease if you have:

Chronic hepatitis or inflammation of the liver

Pyoderma gangrenosum (a type of skin disease)

Acute hepatitis A, B or C

Polyarthralgias (inflammation of the joints)


Doctors diagnose jaundice by checking for signs of liver disease such as:

Bruising of the skin

Spider angiomas (abnormal collection of blood vessels near the surface of the skin)

Palmar erythema (red coloration of the palms and fingertips)

Urinalysis (urine testing) that's positive for bilirubin shows that the patient has conjugated jaundice. The findings of urinalysis should be confirmed by serum testing. The serum testing will include a complete blood count (CBC) and bilirubin levels

Your doctor will also do an exam to determine the size and tenderness of your liver. He or she may use imaging (ultrasonography and computer tomographic (CT) scanning) and liver biopsy (taking a sample of the liver) to further confirm diagnosis.


Since there are many causes of jaundice, it's hard to provide specific prevention measures. Some general tips include:

Avoid hepatitis infection

Moderate alcohold consumption

Maintain a healthy weight

Manage your cholesterol


Jaundice usually doesn't require treatment in adults (it's a more severe problem in infants). The causes and complications of jaundice can be treated.

What are some of the complications/side effects of jaundice which require treatment ?



Stomach pain


Upset stomach



Healthy Gut
Happy Living

Our unhealthy lifestyle takes a heavy toll on the gastrointestinal health. Acidity and heart burn are the most oommon problems suffered by even young people.

These are lifestyle diseases and require lifestyle modification. The doctor needs to spend time and understand the unique problem of each patient to be able to suggest the right kind of lifestyle changes.

Dr. Mayank Chugh
Acidity & Gastric Diseases Specialist




Upper GI Endoscopy

Upper GI Endoscopy



Critical Care

Critical Care

Endoscopy Suite

Latest Technology

Medanta Medicity Gurgaon