Jaundice is a condition that causes the whites of your eyes and skin to turn a yellowish hue. This is caused by bilirubin, a yellow chemical in hemoglobin that carries oxygen in red blood cells. When those cells break down, the body replaces them with new cells. The old cells are then processed by the liver. If for some reason the liver can’t handle the blood cells as they break down, the excess bilirubin causes the skin to look yellow.
Other symptoms of jaundice include dark urine or pale stools, and many people will feel symptoms of the problem causing the jaundice, like fatigue, weight loss, nausea and vomiting. Many newborns experience jaundice immediately after birth, but it usually fades on its own within a week. But jaundice can happen at any time in an adult’s life, signaling that there may be some underlying health problem.
Some causes of jaundice in adults include liver diseases, like hepatitis or cirrhosis, gallbladder problems, blood diseases, infection or a blockage of the bile ducts.