When a liver is damaged, it can struggle to handle red blood cells as they break down. Bilirubin, a brownish-yellow substance, which comes from the breakdown of these cells, can build up in the body. As bilirubin level elevate, it can cause the skin, mucous membranes, and of the white of the eyes to appear yellowish. This discoloration is called jaundice.

Jaundice can happen at any age and may be a sign of an underlying disease.

What causes jaundice?

  • Blood diseases
  • Genetic syndromes
  • Liver diseases, (hepatitis or cirrhosis)
  • Blockage of bile ducts
  • Infections
  • Medicines

How is jaundice diagnosed?

Yellowing skin and eyes are the most obvious symptoms of jaundice, but a variety of tests may also confirm a diagnosis:

  • Physical examinations (looking for signs of swelling of the liver and legs, ankles, or feet which might indicate cirrhosis of the liver)
  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Liver function blood tests or liver biopsies
  • Ultrasounds, X-rays with contrast, MRIs, or CT scans

How is jaundice treated?

Treatment for jaundice will depend on the cause of the condition. Once our team has identified the underlying disease, we can determine the most appropriate treatment option for you.

If you have concerns about jaundice, request an appointment at San Bernardino Gastroenterology Associates.