Jaundice

What Is Jaundice?

Jaundice, also called hyperbilirubinemia, is yellowing of the skin, white portions of the eyes, mucous membranes. It is caused by an increase in the levels of a chemical called bilirubin.  Bilirubin is a waste material in the blood. Jaundice occurs when the bilirubin level in the blood exceeds the safe limit of  2.5-3 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Jaundice is not a disease in itself, but e visible sign of an underlying disease process.

Some medical conditions leading to jaundice can be life-threatening. It can happen to anyone starting from the newborn baby to old age people.

What Is Jaundice?

Jaundice, also called hyperbilirubinemia, is yellowing of the skin, white portions of the eyes, mucous membranes. It is caused by an increase in the levels of a chemical called bilirubin.  Bilirubin is a waste material in the blood. Jaundice occurs when the bilirubin level in the blood exceeds the safe limit of  2.5-3 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Jaundice is not a disease in itself, but e visible sign of an underlying disease process.

Some medical conditions leading to jaundice can be life-threatening. It can happen to anyone starting from the newborn baby to old age people.

What Are The Symptoms Of Jaundice?

  • Yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes and white portion of the eyes.
  • Pale stools, dark urine
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite
  • Vomiting, fever, loss of weight

What Are The Causes Of Jaundice?

The underlying conditions that may cause jaundice are as follows:

  • Acute inflammation of the liver: Bilirubin build-up can be caused if the ability of the liver to conjugate and secrete bilirubin is impaired.
  • Cholestasis: The flow of bile from the liver is interrupted and instead of being excreted the bile containing conjugated bilirubin remains in the liver.
  • Obstruction of the bile duct: In this, the liver doesn’t dispose of the bilirubin.
  • Hemolytic anemia: If a large number of red blood cells are broken, the production of bilirubin increases.
  • Inflammation of the bile duct: The secretion of bile and removal of bilirubin is prevented, thus causing jaundice.
  • Gilbert's syndrome: This inherited condition impairs the ability of enzymes to process the excretion of bile.

The reasons which may lead to interruption of proper liver functioning are:

  • Alcohol or drug-induced liver damage, liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer, hepatitis A, B, C, D or E
  • ABO incompatibility reaction: It occurs when the wrong type of blood is given during a blood transfusion.
  • Breast milk induced jaundice
  • Sickle cell anemia, gallstones thalassemia, acute pancreatitis,
  • G6PD deficiency: It is a genetic abnormality which results in an inadequate amount of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase in the blood.
  • Yellow fever, Infectious Mononucleosis

What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Jaundice?

The type of treatment will depend upon the underlying cause for the same. E.g., if it is caused by anemia, then your doctor will prescribe you iron supplements or suggest an iron-rich diet. Similarly, hepatitis induced jaundice will require antiviral medicines.

The best is to prevent jaundice, which can be done by taking care of liver. Hence, do not drink too much of alcohol.

  • Drink lots of fluids. Take enough rest.
  • Follow the diet chart, diet restrictions prescribed by the doctor.
  • Eat a vegetarian diet as it is easy to digest.

What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Jaundice?

  • Do not take any medications on your own. Always consult a doctor.
  • In case of breastfeeding jaundice, do not stop breastfeeding. Continue it as before.
  • Avoid working under the sun, near the furnaces or any hot place.
  • Avoid taking the stress. 

What Are The Best Foods For Jaundice?

Eat more of whole-wheat flour, parboiled rice, or brown rice, mangoes, bananas, Indian gooseberries (amla), spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, lemons, radishes, raisins, almonds, dried dates, and cardamom.

Eat fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. High-fiber foods include berries, brown rice, kale, broccoli, almonds, oatmeal, and quinoa.

Herbal tea, green tea are known to improve liver function.

Silymarin and antioxidants present in milk thistle help repair damaged liver cells.

Papaya, orange peels, honey, pineapple, and mango etc. have naturally digestive enzymes, which help in reducing bilirubin.

What Are The Worst Foods For Jaundice?

  • Avoid spicy, oily, hot, and heavy foods as they are difficult to digest.
  • Avoid mustard oil, refined flour, polished rice (white rice), asafetida, mustard seeds, peas, preserved and canned foods, pastries, cakes, chocolates,
  • Completely cut down on alcoholic beverages, and aerated drinks.
  • Saturated fats are harder for the liver to process. Hence avoid eating meats, especially red meat.
  • Reduce your sodium and sugar intake.

What Are The Medicines For Jaundice?

What Are The Tips To Manage Jaundice?

Some of the home remedies for jaundice are:

  • Add 1 tsp paste of basil leaves to one glass of radish juice and have it twice a day.
  • Take one-fourth cup juice of bitter gourd in the early morning daily.
  • Take one tsp pulp of Indian Aloe Vera with dry ginger powder and black salt and take it every morning.
  • Mix 1 tsp each of roasted barley powder and honey with a glass of water. Have this twice a day.

What Are The Symptoms Of Jaundice?

  • Yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes and white portion of the eyes.
  • Pale stools, dark urine
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite
  • Vomiting, fever, loss of weight

What Are The Causes Of Jaundice?

The underlying conditions that may cause jaundice are as follows:

  • Acute inflammation of the liver: Bilirubin build-up can be caused if the ability of the liver to conjugate and secrete bilirubin is impaired.
  • Cholestasis: The flow of bile from the liver is interrupted and instead of being excreted the bile containing conjugated bilirubin remains in the liver.
  • Obstruction of the bile duct: In this, the liver doesn’t dispose of the bilirubin.
  • Hemolytic anemia: If a large number of red blood cells are broken, the production of bilirubin increases.
  • Inflammation of the bile duct: The secretion of bile and removal of bilirubin is prevented, thus causing jaundice.
  • Gilbert's syndrome: This inherited condition impairs the ability of enzymes to process the excretion of bile.

The reasons which may lead to interruption of proper liver functioning are:

  • Alcohol or drug-induced liver damage, liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer, hepatitis A, B, C, D or E
  • ABO incompatibility reaction: It occurs when the wrong type of blood is given during a blood transfusion.
  • Breast milk induced jaundice
  • Sickle cell anemia, gallstones thalassemia, acute pancreatitis,
  • G6PD deficiency: It is a genetic abnormality which results in an inadequate amount of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase in the blood.
  • Yellow fever, Infectious Mononucleosis

What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Jaundice?

The type of treatment will depend upon the underlying cause for the same. E.g., if it is caused by anemia, then your doctor will prescribe you iron supplements or suggest an iron-rich diet. Similarly, hepatitis induced jaundice will require antiviral medicines.

The best is to prevent jaundice, which can be done by taking care of liver. Hence, do not drink too much of alcohol.

  • Drink lots of fluids. Take enough rest.
  • Follow the diet chart, diet restrictions prescribed by the doctor.
  • Eat a vegetarian diet as it is easy to digest.

What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Jaundice?

  • Do not take any medications on your own. Always consult a doctor.
  • In case of breastfeeding jaundice, do not stop breastfeeding. Continue it as before.
  • Avoid working under the sun, near the furnaces or any hot place.
  • Avoid taking the stress. 

What Are The Best Foods For Jaundice?

Eat more of whole-wheat flour, parboiled rice, or brown rice, mangoes, bananas, Indian gooseberries (amla), spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, lemons, radishes, raisins, almonds, dried dates, and cardamom.

Eat fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. High-fiber foods include berries, brown rice, kale, broccoli, almonds, oatmeal, and quinoa.

Herbal tea, green tea are known to improve liver function.

Silymarin and antioxidants present in milk thistle help repair damaged liver cells.

Papaya, orange peels, honey, pineapple, and mango etc. have naturally digestive enzymes, which help in reducing bilirubin.

What Are The Worst Foods For Jaundice?

  • Avoid spicy, oily, hot, and heavy foods as they are difficult to digest.
  • Avoid mustard oil, refined flour, polished rice (white rice), asafetida, mustard seeds, peas, preserved and canned foods, pastries, cakes, chocolates,
  • Completely cut down on alcoholic beverages, and aerated drinks.
  • Saturated fats are harder for the liver to process. Hence avoid eating meats, especially red meat.
  • Reduce your sodium and sugar intake.

What Are The Medicines For Jaundice?

What Are The Tips To Manage Jaundice?

Some of the home remedies for jaundice are:

  • Add 1 tsp paste of basil leaves to one glass of radish juice and have it twice a day.
  • Take one-fourth cup juice of bitter gourd in the early morning daily.
  • Take one tsp pulp of Indian Aloe Vera with dry ginger powder and black salt and take it every morning.
  • Mix 1 tsp each of roasted barley powder and honey with a glass of water. Have this twice a day.