Jaundice causes Definition Jaundice is a yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow color comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jaundice is a sign of other diseases.
This article discusses the possible causes of jaundice in children and adults. For information on jaundice in very young infants, see:
Causes of jaundice
Common causes of jaundice in older children and adults include:
Other causes of jaundice include:
Cancer of the pancreas
Disorders present since birth that makes it hard for the body to breakdown bilirubin (such as Gilbert syndrome, Dubin-Johnson syndrome, Rotor syndrome, or Crigler-Najjar syndrome)
Eating poisonous mushrooms or other poisons
Immune disorder that mistakenly attacks healthy liver tissue ( autoimmune hepatitis)
Liver damage caused by reduced oxygen or blood flow to the liver
The body destroys too many blood cells and the liver cannot handle them ( hemolytic anemia)
Use of certain drugs, including an overdose of acetaminophen
Gallbladder and bile duct disorders that can cause jaundice include:
Blocked or narrowed bile ducts (by infection, tumor, stricture, or gallstones)
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Bile build up in the gallbladder because of pressure in the belly area during pregnancy (jaundice of pregnancy)
Lidofsky SD. Jaundice. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds.
Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 20.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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