What to Do When You Have Jaundice

Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes is the hallmark of jaundice. This condition occurs when bilirubin, a pigmented component of bile, builds up in the blood. Bilirubin is a by-product produced by the liver as it breaks down red blood cells to recycle their iron. It is mixed with bile, a digestive juice that is made by the liver and is eventually excreted from the body in the urine or stool. Jaundice develops when bilirubin gets accumulated in the body.

There are three general types of jaundice. The most common is due to hepatitis or some other liver disorder. The next type is known as obstructive jaundice. It usually results from gall stones or other gallbladder disease, and the least common involves some sort of abnormality in bilirubin metabolism.

The symptoms of jaundice include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. The urine may be dark in color because of increased bilirubin condition and the stools may be light, clay colored or whitish. This happens because when you have jaundice bilirubin does not get excreted from the intestinal tract. Jaundice should be treated with great care and right from the beginning otherwise if it gets serious anything can happen – liver failure, coma and even death.

When a person has jaundice or is recovering from it he or she should consume a healthy diet with sufficient protein from both animal and vegetable sources. The best sources are lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products and combination of legumes and grain products. Stay away from oil, fried food and any types of fat because they are hard to digest. Poor appetite is common in jaundice. For this reason consume fewer amounts of food but at regular intervals.

It is better to avoid sweets. Alcohol should not be consumed in this condition because it puts added stress on an already weak liver. Smoking should be stopped totally. Avoid shell fish that may have been exposed to polluted water.

Do not consume unpeeled fruits and vegetables that may be contaminated by human waste. Stay away from foods that are sold or prepared in unhygienic conditions. Do not forget to wash your hand with medicated soap before taking your food.