Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin, mucus membranes, and whites of the eyes.

Jaundice occurs when excess bilirubin builds up in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow-brown colored substance in bile. Bile is a liquid that carries waste products and bilirubin away from the liver. It also helps break down fats in the small intestine. It is formed during the body's normal process of breaking down red blood cells.

There are several reasons why too much bilirubin can build up in the blood. They include:

  • Excess breakdown of red blood cells, which can occur in:
  • A blockage in or near the liver that prevents the flow of bile, such as:

    Liver, Gallbladder, and Bile duct
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  • Liver damage caused by:
  • In babies, insufficient amounts of a certain liver enzyme during the first two weeks of life
  • Inherited metabolic disorders, including Gilbert, Crigler-Nager, and Dubin-Johnson syndromes