Jaundice in Denver, CO
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What is jaundice?
Jaundice is a health condition that causes the whites of the eyes and the skin to take on a yellow shade. Although it is commonly found in children, the condition may develop in adults as well. Jaundice results from elevated levels of bilirubin in the body. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment found in bile, a substance produced by the liver. Jaundice generally does not require treatment. However, it is important to talk to an experienced GI provider at Colorado Gastroenterology should your skin or eyes begin to turn a yellowish hue, as the root cause may require professional care. To connect with a provider who offers treatment for jaundice in Denver, CO, request a consultation with a member of our team.
What are the main causes of jaundice?
Bilirubin is produced naturally in the body from the breakdown of red blood cells. Jaundice develops when there are excess amounts of bilirubin in the blood. The specific cause of jaundice varies according to whether it occurs before, during, or following bilirubin production.
The causes of jaundice prior to the production of bilirubin (unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia) include:
- Hemolytic anemias (blood cells are destroyed before the end of their normal life cycle)
- Reabsorption of a large hematoma (clotted blood outside a blood vessel)
Factors contributing to jaundice during the production of bilirubin involve:
- Viruses (such as Epstein-Barr)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Hepatitis A, B, or C
- Certain medications
- Alcohol use
The reasons for jaundice following bilirubin generation might be the result of bile duct obstruction associated with:
- Bladder inflammation
- Certain cancers
Some patients additionally experience jaundice in connection with certain liver conditions. This can result if you have:
- Joint inflammation
- Pyoderma gangrenosum (a skin condition)
- Acute hepatitis A, B, or C
- Inflamed liver (or chronic hepatitis)
What are the symptoms of jaundice?
Jaundice is commonly detected incidentally — in fact, much of the time, no symptoms are even present. However, many patients will experience symptoms depending on the root cause of jaundice. If you have symptoms such as chills, fever, stomach pain, yellow skin, dark-colored urine, light-colored bowel movements, or flu-like symptoms, you might have jaundice resulting from an infection.
If your jaundice is not due to any type of infection, you may experience an unintentional drop in body weight or itchy skin (pruritus). In addition, the most common sign of jaundice associated with cancer is pain in the abdomen.
Should you experience one or more of the issues mentioned above, we urge you to arrange a consultation at Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO so our staff can assess the health of your liver.
How is jaundice diagnosed and treated?
Jaundice is often detected when addressing different conditions or symptoms. It may also be identified when evaluating for liver disease. Indicators related to this could include:
- Skin bruising
- Palmar erythema (redness of the palms and fingertips)
- Visible blood vessels
Urinalysis and blood tests may also inform our team of bilirubin levels. Additionally, our staff could advise a liver test to assess the size of the liver and any liver tenderness or discomfort.
Once diagnosed, our team will proceed to treat the underlying cause of jaundice. Because jaundice itself does not usually require treatment, we will typically focus on the effects associated with it. Several jaundice effects we can help with are:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Fewer than normal bowel movements
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Expert help for jaundice
If you have yellowing of your skin or eyes, stomach discomfort, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or vomiting, you could be experiencing the signs and symptoms of jaundice. Though jaundice alone may not require intervention, the underlying source of the condition potentially could — which includes gallstones, an inflamed bladder or liver, long-term hepatitis, and even cancer. The skilled GI physicians at Colorado Gastroenterology specialize in addressing jaundice as well as several different types of liver problems connected to it. For additional details about jaundice and how to limit your risks for this condition, please contact our Denver, CO team today to request an appointment.
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