Stages of Jaundice and Symptoms of Liver Problems | Jaundice Symptoms

By | December 1, 2008

Stages of Cirrhosis and Jaundice Therapy

Jaundice is a condition, which affects the liver of the individual. It is not a disease on its own. It indicates the presence of certain underlying conditions. The first stage of jaundice involves the increase in the yellow pigment, bile, in the body. It is referred to as the prodromal stage, which is associated with elevated body temperature (about 100 to 102 degree Fahrenheit). Clay or mahogany colored stools with dark colored urine and tenderness in the right upper quadrant is also seen. The infection is highly contagious, in this stage, in case of poor sanitary habits or unhygienic practices.

Yellow skin or eyes disease are the other terms that are used to refer to jaundice. Bilirubin is a by product of old and worn out red blood cells. Bilirubin affects the mucous membrane, sclera and skin. Jaundice is seen in infants, due to improper functioning of the liver. About one per cent of red blood cells are replaced by fresh cells. Disposal of the old cells takes place in the liver. Excessive old cells result in increase in the bilirubin levels, thereby resulting in the first stage of jaundice.

Stages of Prevention and Treatments of Jaundice

The common symptoms of jaundice are constipation, fatigue, yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes and nausea. Photophobia, myalgia, weight loss, malaise, arthralgia and general weakness are also seen. This is seen for up to five days. Clinical or the icteric stage is the next stage, which shows symptoms of abdominal tenderness, indigestion and pruritus. This lasts for about a fortnight. It is seen after two weeks of the first stage. This stage fails to explain the severity or complexity of the condition. Rashes or hives and erythematous patches are seen, if hepatitis is present. Posticteral stage or the recovery period is the last stage, which is accompanied by a reduction in the symptoms. There is a reduction in the inflammation of the liver. This stage lasts for two to twelve weeks. Individuals with hepatitis B, C or E take a longer convalescence period.

Certain conditions that result in jaundice are stomach cancer, yellow fever, defective liver, malaria, neonatal jaundice, cancer of the gall bladder, Rh incompatibility, alcoholic liver disease, viral hepatitis, cancer of the pancreas and blockage of the bile ducts. The risk of jaundice is greater in new born infants, as they take some time to eliminate bilirubin, on their own. It appears on the face. It is later seen in the arms, legs and abdominal region.


Jaundice is a disease which affects the liver. If jaundice is not treated on time, it can even become fatal. Jaundice occurs when there is a build-up of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the liver and excreted from the body in the form of bile. Bilirubin is a product of the breaking down of red blood cells. Due to a liver malfunction bilirubin doesn’t get excreted out of the body and then it start to accumulate under the skin and start to give the skin a yellowish colour. This yellow colour can spread from the skin into the eyes and on to the nails. With the exception of the new born jaundice all other kinds of jaundice can overload the liver even to the extent of damaging it on a semi-permanent and permanent basis.

Causes of jaundice in infants and new-borns are mostly because the new-borns needs some time to adjust to the environment around it. Sometime causes for jaundice in infants can also be due to the stress when they fall ill. This is normally a mild case of jaundice and often lessens with proper care and medication. Jaundice in toddlers and children is often very different from what adults and the elderly get. And because the nature to the jaundice if different it can also be that that the degree of severity and the course of medication will be very different. Symptoms of jaundice can be most severe for those who have already being sick, usually jaundice also develops as an additional disease to malaria or even to typhoid, thus it has to be treated with great care. Jaundice is mainly a water borne disease and therefore if there have been instances in the neighbourhood it is best to make sure that the water you drink is amply purified.  The most common causes of jaundice are due to obstruction of the bile duct which causes the bile to accumulate under the skin. Another cause is through a virus, the commonly known viruses are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E. These denote the various kinds of jaundices that can occur to people. Formation of pools of bile in the gall bladder because of certain kinds of drugs is also another reason for jaundice. Some jaundice can also be due to introduction of certain medicine into the blood streams. One common cause of jaundice is excessive alcohol consumption, this is said to create grave damage to the liver. Jaundice in pregnancy symptom is mainly because of  bile collecting in the gall bladder when the womb presses into it the bile can even at time enter the womb causing jaundice to the foetus and the mother. Sometimes when the flow of oxygen to the liver is obstructed or cut off it could also become a cause for jaundice. Moreover chronic liver disease can also lead to a severe case of jaundice. Inflammation to the liver is one of the most popular reasons for jaundice. The main symptoms of jaundice are yellowness in the skin due to accumulation of bile in the skin, the mouth of the patient can also turn yellow; the lips and the inside of the mouth will also turn a light shade of yellow. The white of the eyes too take on a yellow colour. Other visible jaundice symptoms are the urine turning dark and the stools turning pale.

Other than this the patient may also complain of severe abdominal pain, high fever and nausea or vomiting, the patient may also experience loss of appetite and weight loss. These symptoms might start early one and you might have to go to the doctor to confirm the degree of the jaundice. It is usually diagnosed with the help of a series of tests. Along with a complete physical examination the doctor may also ask for a complete blood test to be done along with a bold culture to that the exact nature of the jaundice can be revealed and the medication can be prescribe according to the kind of jaundice it is. Other diagnostic tests that maybe performed would be  ultrasound of the abdomen, liver biopsy, urine and faecal urobilinogen and ultrasound of the abdomen. Jaundice treatment always depends on the individual case since each kind of jaundice has to be treated differently for a speedy recovery. In most cases a course of antibiotics and a light diet and lots of bed rest are the most popular ways for treating jaundice. The best ways is to make sure that you drink enough water; at least 6-8 glasses in a day are required so that the body does not get dehydrated.

Make sure that you follow a jaundice diet which mainly consists of green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits so that the vitamins and minerals in them will be able to repair the damage that has been caused. Try to keep your intake of meat and animal fat to the minimum as sometimes it might react with the acids in your body. Drink a lot of fruit juices, especially fresh fruit juice will be full of the required nutrients. Avoid aerated drinks, alcohol and caffeine and fast food completely. Do your best to cut down on processed food as these are not beneficial for a quick recovery. Reduce your intake of dairy products like cheese, milk and curd. Try to eat rice as a staple diet for the first 10 days as it will give to the nourishment you require, if you are able to get brown rice and millet it will be good.

It is best that with the help of your dietician you should try a draw up a jaundice diet chart and diet restrictions. This will help you and your care giver to be sure of what food can be eaten by you and what food will be good for you.  Other than all these dietary precautions, make sure that you get enough rest and do some mild exercises. The key to a speedy recovery is always get ample rest so that your body has time and strength to rejuvenate itself and repair the damage that was done by the jaundice.