Jaundice in Hattiesburg, MS
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What is jaundice?
Though jaundice is most commonly seen in infants, it can also develop in adults. This condition causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to turn a color yellowish color. This results from elevated levels of bilirubin, a yellow-orange substance in the liver. Although the condition normally doesn’t require treatment, it’s important to visit an experienced gastroenterologist at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC when you start to notice your eyes or skin becoming a yellowish hue, since the root cause could warrant treatment. For additional information about treating jaundice in Hattiesburg, MS, connect with our team to request a consultation today.
What causes jaundice?
Jaundice develops when a person has raised levels of bilirubin, an orange-yellow compound created in the liver during the breakdown of RBCs (red blood cells). The exact reason for jaundice depends on whether it happens before production, in the process, or after the production of bilirubin.
Causes of jaundice before the production of bilirubin (unconjugated jaundice) are:
- Reabsorption of a severe bruise (pooling of blood outside the blood vessel)
- Hemolytic anemias (RBCs are broken down before the end of their normal lifespan)
Causes of jaundice during the production of bilirubin include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Viruses (such as Epstein-Barr)
- Hepatitis A, B, or C
- Some medications
- Alcohol use
The reason for jaundice after bilirubin production may be because of bile duct obstruction due to:
- Bladder inflammation
- Multiple cancers
Some patients additionally deal with jaundice related to diseases of the liver. This could happen when there is:
- Liver inflammation (or long-term hepatitis)
- Acute hepatitis A, B, or C
- Pyoderma gangrenosum (a skin problem)
What are the symptoms of jaundice?
Jaundice is often diagnosed accidentally — actually, in most cases, there are no symptoms present. Even so, numerous people could present symptoms that point to the root cause of jaundice. During your visit to our Hattiesburg, MS location, if you experience symptoms like fever, chilling, abdominal aches, yellow-colored skin, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, or flu-like symptoms, you may be experiencing jaundice resulting from an infection.
However, when your jaundice is caused by an infection, it's possible to have an unexplained drop in body weight or itchy skin. If you are experiencing jaundice that is connected with cancer, the most common symptom is abdominal pain.
How is jaundice diagnosed and treated?
Jaundice is often detected unexpectedly when addressing different symptoms or conditions. Jaundice could be found when looking for signs of liver disease. Symptoms related to this typically include:
- Visible blood vessels
- Bruises on the skin
- Red color on the palms and fingertips (palmar erythema)
Urine testing and blood tests could also reveal bilirubin levels. Additionally, our Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC staff can request a liver exam to assess your liver health and function.
Once detected, we will start to target the root cause of jaundice. Because jaundice itself doesn’t require treatment, our staff will likely treat the side effects related to it. A number of the side effects we treat include:
- Being bloated
- Throwing up
- Abdominal pain or upset stomach
- Loose bowel movements
Uncover the root cause of your jaundice
If you have noticed a yellowish color developing in your eyes or skin, you’re dealing with abdominal discomfort, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, or vomiting, this could be a sign of jaundice. Although jaundice itself normally doesn’t require treatment, the underlying cause of the condition could — which include gallstones, inflammation of the liver or bladder, long-term hepatitis, and even cancer. The talented GI providers at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC are experienced in addressing jaundice along with several different types of liver conditions that could be connected to it. To receive further information about jaundice and how to address it, contact our Hattiesburg, MS location to request a consultation.
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