Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin, mucus membranes, and eyes. The coloring comes from the byproduct of old red blood cells in the body, known as bilirubin. Having jaundice is often a symptom of other conditions and problems that the body may be experiencing. It is commonly seen in adults, although infants can experience jaundice as well. Each day, the red blood cells in your body die and are then replaced with new ones. As the liver replaces these cells, it forms bilirubin. The liver is responsible for breaking down this component so that it will be removed from the body when you release your stool. However, if there is too much of a presence of this substance in your body, it can create jaundice. It is usually a sign that there is a problem with your pancreas, liver, or gallbladder.
Birth defects, blood disorders, cancer, gallstones, and infections are known to cause jaundice. Some medications are known to cause jaundice and list it as a side effect on the label. The symptoms that are associated with jaundice include pale or clay colored stools, dark urine, yellow inside of the mouth, yellow skin, yellow within the white part of the eyes, and sometimes nausea. If you are not experiencing yellowing within your eyes, then you may not have jaundice, but rather some type of overdose on beta carotene. Depending on if you have other conditions, there are additional symptoms, such as fatigue, weight loss, and vomiting. In order to truly determine if you have jaundice, you will need to be examined by a doctor.
In most cases, your doctor will run a series of tests to determine what may be causing you to have jaundice. This assumes that you are not experiencing jaundice as a side effect of medication. If your jaundice is due to medication, your doctor will likely either change the dosage or recommend a new medication to try instead. Medicinal related jaundice tends to go away once you have changed dosages or have eliminated that medication completely. If your jaundice is a result of a condition that you have, your doctor may have to provide you with a different treatment plan. Jaundice that occurs as a result of the issue of liver problems, for example, may require surgery or various treatments that are more specific to your condition. Often times, jaundice leaves on its own.