Jaundice causesCauses of jaundice; Cholestasis
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. Newborn jaundice occurs in very young infants.
Newborn jaundice occurs when a baby has a high level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates when it replac...
Jaundice is often a sign of a problem with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas. Jaundice can occur when too much bilirubin builds up in the body. This may happen when:
- There are too many red blood cells dying or breaking down and going to the liver.
- The liver is overloaded or damaged.
- The bilirubin from the liver is unable to properly move into the digestive tract.
Conditions that can cause jaundice include:
Infections of the liver from a virus (
, and hepatitis E) or a parasite
Hepatitis A is inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the liver from the hepatitis A virus.
Hepatitis B is irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the liver due to infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Other types of viral hepatitis ...
Hepatitis C is a viral disease that leads to swelling (inflammation) of the liver. Other types of viral hepatitis include:Hepatitis AHepatitis BHepat...
- Use of certain drugs (such as an overdose of acetaminophen) or exposure to poisons
Birth defects or disorders present since birth that makes it hard for the body to breakdown bilirubin (such as
, Rotor syndrome, or Crigler-Najjar syndrome)
Gilbert disease is a common disorder passed down through families. It affects the way bilirubin is processed by the liver, and causes the skin to ta...
- Liver damage
- Gallstones or gallbladder disorders
- Blood disorders
- Cancer of the pancreas
- Bile build-up in the gallbladder because of pressure in the belly area during pregnancy (jaundice of pregnancy)
Berk PD, Korenblat KM. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman' sCecil Medicine . 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 147.
Lidofsky SD. Jaundice. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 21.
Review Date: 8/14/2015
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist at Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.