Causes and Symptoms of Jaundice

Do you feel yellow tinge to your skin and the whites of your eyes? Do you ever experience fatigue, abdominal pain and weight loss along with yellowing of mucous membranes? If yes, then, you probably are suffering from jaundice. Continue reading to know more about the causes and symptoms of jaundice.

Jaundice is the condition that is characterized by an increased quantity of orange-yellow pigment “Bilirubin”, a waste material, in your blood. It then gives the yellowish appearance to your skin, mucous membranes and whites of eyes.

Causes of Jaundice

Jaundice may indicate serious medical illness with the problem in the functioning of your liver, red blood cells (RBCs), gall bladder, or pancreas. It includes three major types that indicate where the problem is.

  • Pre-hepatic Jaundice
  • Hepatic Jaundice
  • Post-hepatic Jaundice

The cause of jaundice is the increased concentration of bilirubin in your body. The question arises, how does its level increase? Let’s have a look!

RBCs after completing their normal life span migrate towards the liver, where they are broken down by a normal degrading process resulting in the formation of a yellow pigment “Bilirubin”. After its production, bilirubin undergoes metabolic processes to be removed from your body. Jaundice occurs when the liver fails to metabolize bilirubin properly; as a result, bilirubin begins to accumulate in your body, giving yellow discoloration. Apart from liver improper functioning, it may be due to an increased breakdown of RBCs at one time.

Following are some underlying causes

  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Sickle cell anaemia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Biliary duct obstruction

Symptoms of jaundice

Jaundice is mainly caused by the development of bilirubin in the blood and can affect people of all ages. Given below are the main symptoms of jaundice, which helps you in diagnosing the jaundice

  • Yellowing of skin and eyes:

Jaundice changes the skin and sclera (whites of the eyes) colour into yellow. The main reason for yellowing is the build-up of bilirubin, which is yellow-orange bile pigment. Breakdown of the red blood cells is the foremost reason for the formation of bilirubin.

  • Dark urine and pale stool:

Because of the build-up of a high level of bilirubin in your body, a decreased amount of pigment is produced which gives colour to the stool and urine. In this way the colour of urine and stool change. Thus, it is recommended to consult a physician in case of any change in your stool and urine colour.

  • Abdominal pain:

As the jaundice is caused by the liver and gallbladder problems, thus, abdominal pain can be the result of jaundice. If you feel pain on the right side of the stomach with high fever, then you immediately need to seek medical assistance.

  • Weight loss:

As jaundice may be caused by liver disease, the case of infected liver, gluconeogenesis, and glycogenolysis slows down the production of carbohydrates and glucose. The body starts to take its energy from the fat and the protein part hence; you can suffer from weight loss.


Jaundice is not the disease itself, but it is the symptom of underlying diseases i.e. hepatitis. Late diagnosis of jaundice can decrease the survival chances. Thus, proper care is needed to get a healthy and prosperous life.

About the Author: Alina Petre

In her free time, Alina loves exploring new corners of the world, especially if they include a good wave to surf or a nice slope to descend.

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