Jaundice is a condition where the skin, mucus membranes or eyes turn yellow. The yellow colour comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Everyday, some red blood cells in your body die and are replaced by new ones. The liver removes the old blood cells forming bilirubin. The liver helps break down bilirubin so that it can be removed by the body in the stool.
When too much bilirubin builds up in the body, jaundice may result. Jaundice can be a symptom of many health problems. Jaundice is often a sign of a problem with the liver, gallbladder or pancreas. Infections, use of certain drugs, cancer, blood disorders, gallstones, birth defects and a number of other medical conditions can lead to jaundice.
The most common signs of jaundice are: yellowing of the skin, eyes and mucus membrane (the lining of the body's passageways and cavities, such as the mouth and nose); pale-coloured stools (faeces); and dark-coloured urine.
Newborn Jaundice: Newborn babies are often born with the symptoms of jaundice. At a very young age, the various systems the body uses to remove bilirubin from the body aren't fully developed. Newborn jaundice tends to not be a cause for concern. It usually resolves within two weeks without treatment.
Always seek immediate medical advice if you develop the above signs of jaundice. They are an important warning sign that something is wrong with the normal processes of your body. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible.