HomeHealth-and-wellnessHealth ConditionsTreatment of Jaundice and its impact

Treatment of Jaundice and its impact

Steve’s skin and eyes had started to become yellow. He immediately visited his doctor who informed him that he had jaundice. The doctor informs him that many treatments can help him and prescribes him some medicine.

Steve wants to learn more about jaundice and its treatments, therefore he researches on this topic. He finds a lot of vital information about jaundice and its various treatments, which are as follows:

What is jaundice?

Jaundice is a medical condition in which the skin, whites of the eyes, and mucous membranes turn yellow. This yellow tinge is because of the high level of bilirubin. Bilirubin is created from the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver. It is a yellow-colored waste material that stays in the bloodstream after iron is removed from the blood.

Many babies have jaundice during the first week of their life. It is usually not dangerous and goes away after 1 or 2 weeks. However, Jaundice can happen at any age. There are a number of underlying reasons that can cause jaundice like Hepatitis, alcohol, autoimmune disorders,  gallstones, pancreatic tumor, medicines, and genetic syndromes. 

The most common symptoms of Jaundice are a Yellow tinge to the skin and eyes, pale feces,  weight loss, fatigue, vomiting, itchiness, and dark urine.

In adults, Jaundice can be a result of liver dysfunction, abnormal heme metabolism, gallstones, pancreatitis, etc.

Jaundice is related to liver function. To prevent jaundice it is recommended to maintain a healthy liver by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and not consuming excess alcohol.

Treatments of Jaundice

The treatments for jaundice in babies – Most babies with jaundice do not require treatments. Their conditions usually get better in 10 to 14 days. However, If the baby’s condition gets worse or doesn’t improve over time, treatments may be required. The treatments include:

Enhanced Nutrition

 Frequent feeding or supplementation may be recommended by the doctor for preventing weight loss in babies and providing them with adequate nutrition. Increased feeding helps in removing excess bilirubin through stool and urine.


Phototherapy is the treatment of jaundice with a special type of light. It helps in lowering the levels of bilirubin in the baby’s blood by the process of photo-oxidation. Photo-oxidation makes it easier for the baby’s liver to break down and remove the bilirubin by adding oxygen into it so that it dissolves easily.

There are 2 kinds of phototherapy, conventional and fibre optic. In conventional phototherapy, the baby is laid under a halogen or fluorescent lamp with their eyes covered. In fibreoptic phototherapy, the baby is laid on a blanket that has fibre optic cables, the light from the fibre optic cables shines on the back of the baby. Both these treatments aim to expose the baby’s skin to as much light as possible.

Phototherapy is stopped when bilirubin levels drop to a safe level. It is not unusual for babies to still appear jaundiced for some time after phototherapy is completed. Bilirubin levels may rise again 18 to 24 hours after stopping phototherapy. Although rare, this requires follow-up for those who may need more treatment. Phototherapy is very effective and considered very safe for newborn jaundice but it does have a few side effects like diarrhea and a temporary rash.

Exchange Transfusion

Another treatment of newborn jaundice is exchange transfusion. If the baby has a high level of bilirubin they may need a complete blood transfusion. During exchange transfusion, a baby’s blood is removed through a thin plastic tube and replaced with matching blood from a donor. The new blood doesn’t have bilirubin and the overall level of bilirubin level in the blood drops.

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg)

 Jaundice may be related to blood type differences between mother and baby. This condition results in the baby carrying antibodies from the mother that contribute to the rapid breakdown of the baby’s red blood cells.

 Intravenous transfusion of immunoglobulin, a blood protein that can reduce levels of antibodies may decrease jaundice and lessen the need for an exchange transfusion, although results are not conclusive.

Treatment in adults

Here’s how some of the conditions that cause jaundice might be treated  in adults:

Alcohol-related cirrhosis or hepatitis: Alcohol is the culprit of such jaundice. Stopping consumption of alcohol is the required treatment.

Anemia: Anemia-induced jaundice may be treated by boosting the amount of iron in the blood by taking iron supplements or eating iron-rich foods.

Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is the end-stage of chronic liver disease and has many different causes. Treating jaundice from cirrhosis will depend on the type of liver disease present, but could include the use of corticosteroids or diuretics.

Gallstones: Removal of gallstones is the required treatment for jaundice caused by gallstones.

Drug toxicities: Drugs like over the counter , prescription medications illegal drugs may cause jaundice by harming the liver. In this circumstance the drugs need to be stopped completely and another medication may need to be provided to counteract the overdose. 

Liver cancer: Radiation and chemotherapy as well as other medications for supportive therapy can help in treatment.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC): This liver disease is associated with ulcerative colitis. Treatment is largely to manage symptoms, such as antibiotics and cholestyramine or diphenhydramine for itching. Surgery might be needed to open the bile ducts and place a stent to keep them open. A liver transplant is done in severe cases.


Jaundice is a common occurrence in infants with an estimated 80% of babies being affected in the first week of their life. In Adults, jaundice is caused by underlying reasons that need to be treated to cure it. Causes of jaundice can vary from non serious to potentially fatal. If you experience any symptoms associated with jaundice, visit your doctors.


What foods should be avoided in jaundice?

Foods that should be avoided in jaundice include refined carbohydrates, canned and smoked foods, Saturated and trans fat, raw or undercooked fish or shellfish, beef, pork, and alcohol.

Can jaundice be prevented?

Since jaundice has many causes, it is difficult to provide specific prevention measures. Some general prevention methods for jaundice are:

1. Avoid overconsumption of alcohol.
2. Manage cholesterol.
3. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
4. Avoiding hepatitis infection.

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