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Jaundice

Yellowing of the skin

HCA UK's experts can help to diagnose and treat a range of conditions, including jaundice

About

Jaundice causes yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes. It occurs as a result of the build-up of a yellow substance called bilirubin in your body, which is a by-product produced during the normal breakdown of old red blood cells.

There are three types of jaundice:

1. pre-hepatic jaundice
2. intra-hepatic jaundice
3. hepatic jaundice

Need to know

  • Symptoms of jaundice icon plus

    Jaundice can be caused by the following conditions: - pancreatitis - hepatitis - sickle cell disease - Gilbert’s syndrome - alcoholic liver disease The most common symptoms of jaundice are: - yellow skin - yellowed whites of the eyes In some cases, you may also have skin that is itchy, your urine (pee) is darker wee and stools (poo) is paler than usual. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should urgently arrange to see your GP or consultant who can assess your condition as they could be signs that your body isn’t functioning properly.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your GP or consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and diagnose which type of jaundice you have based on what’s disrupting the normal removal of bilirubin from your body. Tests they recommend may include: - urine test to measure levels of urobilinogen (a substance produced when bacteria inside the digestive system break down bilirubin) - blood test (to test liver function) - ultrasound, MRI or CT scan to detect abnormalities within the liver - biopsy of the liver to assess liver tissue
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment options for jaundice depend on the extent of the condition, the underlying cause and your overall health and fitness.These may include: - medication to treat the underlying infection - blood transfusions - liver transplant - removal of the gallbladder - removal of part of the bile duct system and pancreas
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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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