Jaundice, a condition characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes, is often a sign of an underlying health issue affecting the liver. In this article, we will delve into the types, causes, symptoms, and diagnostic methods associated with jaundice, shedding light on this common yet sometimes misunderstood condition.

Jaundice manifests as a condition where the skin, whites of the eyes (sclera), and mucous membranes adopt a yellow hue. This discolouration results from elevated levels of bilirubin, a yellow-orange pigment found in bile, a fluid secreted by the liver. Bilirubin is generated as a result of the decomposition of red blood cells.

Types of jaundices:

  • Hepatocellular Jaundice: This form of jaundice arises from damage to liver cells, known as hepatocytes. Conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver infections can instigate hepatocellular jaundice. The compromised liver function results in insufficient processing and elimination of bilirubin.
  • Haemolytic Jaundice: Haemolytic jaundice is a consequence of an increased breakdown of red blood cells, leading to elevated bilirubin production. Conditions like haemolytic anaemia, where red blood cells are destroyed at an accelerated rate, can precipitate this type of jaundice. The surplus bilirubin overwhelms the liver’s ability to effectively process and excrete it.
  • Obstructive or Cholestatic Jaundice: Cholestatic jaundice emerges when an obstruction occurs in the bile ducts, disrupting the normal flow of bile. Causes may include gallstones, tumours, or inflammation of the bile ducts. This obstruction hinders the excretion of bilirubin, causing its accumulation in the bloodstream and the ensuing manifestation of jaundice.

Causes by Jaundice:

  • Jaundice results from an excess build-up of bilirubin, a yellow pigment formed during the breakdown of red blood cells.
  • Liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer contribute to bilirubin accumulation.
  • Conditions obstructing the normal flow of bile, such as gallstones or bile duct disorders, can lead to jaundice.

Symptoms for Jaundice:

  • Yellow skin and the whites of the eyes (sclera) can take on a brownish hue in more prominent issues of jaundice.
  • Yellow shade inside the mouth
  • Dark or brown-coloured urine
  • Pale or clay-coloured stools
  • Itching (pruritis) usually occurs with jaundice

Diagnosis of jaundices:

  • A comprehensive diagnosis involves a detailed medical history, physical examination, and various diagnostic tests.
  • Blood tests are pivotal for measuring bilirubin levels and identifying potential liver abnormalities.
  • Imaging studies, including ultrasound or CT scans, aid in visualizing the liver and detecting obstructions or abnormalities in bile ducts.
  • In certain cases, a liver biopsy may be recommended to assess the extent of liver damage.

Treatment for Jaundice:

  • Managing the Underlying Condition: Treating the underlying reason for jaundice is crucial. For example, In patients attributed to hepatitis, healthcare providers might suggest antiviral drugs as part of the treatment plan. If caused by a blockage in the bile duct, surgery might be necessary.
  • Medications: In certain cases, medications can help. For example, for obstructive jaundice caused by gallstones, medications might be given to dissolve the stones.
  • Phototherapy: This is often used in newborns with jaundice. Exposure to specific lights can help break down the excess bilirubin in the baby’s body.
  • Blood Transfusion: If jaundice is severe and generated by conditions like haemolytic anaemia, a blood transfusion might be necessary.
  • Dietary Changes: Changing your diet can help manage specific types of jaundice. For instance, avoiding alcohol can be crucial if liver damage is the cause.
  • Liver Supportive Therapies: For jaundice due to liver problems, certain supportive therapies might be recommended, such as a liver-friendly diet, hydration, and avoiding substances that can further damage the liver.


Understanding the causes, symptoms, and diagnostic, and treatment methods associated with jaundice is essential for early detection and effective management. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of jaundice, seeking medical attention promptly is crucial to determine the underlying cause and initiate appropriate treatment. This article serves as a guide to empower individuals with knowledge about jaundice, promoting proactive health awareness and timely intervention