It is characterized by yellowish discoloration of eyes and urine.
It occurs because of increased production or defective drainage of bile components like bilirubin. Bile is formed in the liver and excreted into the small intestine via biliary system.
The causes of jaundice are multiple and are usually classified into three groups with varying treatment based on the specific group.
Common causes include alcohol intake, infections including liver-specific viruses, medication toxicity especially TB medications, blood disorders, blockage of bile flow due to biliary stone disease /cancer.
It is important for the general public to realize that jaundice is a significant symptom and that an expert doctor is needed to differentiate between the various types of jaundice. All types of jaundice cannot be managed by medical measures. Some types may require surgical or interventional management.
It is important to consult an expert in Gastro/Hepatic diseases as early as possible since some forms of jaundice may not be amenable to cure if detected late in the disease course.
Also, people should avoid native medications (usually self-medicated) as it may add insult to injury.
Article by Dr. Arvind
Gastroenterologist, Kauvery Hospital