Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes and mucous membranes, caused by elevated levels of the chemical bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice types include neonatal jaundice and adult jaundice. Depending on the patients, jaundice causes vary. (1) Natural jaundice treatment methods can help reduce the signs and symptoms of the condition.
Jaundice Causes in Newborns
- Premature birth: Research has shown that around 80% of preterm infants develop jaundice.
Delivery by vacuum extractor: Studies have shown that infants delivered by vacuum extractor are more likely to develop jaundice.
- Breast-feeding: Breast-fed babies are more likely to develop jaundice due to a factor in human milk that increases the circulation of bilirubin.
- Poor weight recovery: Studies have shown that newborns born at very low weight are at a greater risk of developing neonatal jaundice.
- Blood type: When a mother and baby have different blood types, the baby is at a greater risk of developing jaundice.
Jaundice Causes in Adults
- Hereditary conditions: People with certain hereditary conditions are at a greater risk of developing jaundice.
- Excessive alcohol consumption: Jaundice is a hallmark of alcoholic hepatitis.
- Exposure to viral infections: Exposure to hepatitis B, C and E can increase the risk of jaundice. (2)
Symptoms of Jaundice in Newborns
- Baby acts sick or difficult to wake up
- Baby makes high-pitched cries
- Skin becomes more yellow on the abdomen, arms or legs
- Baby isn’t gaining weight
- Baby is feeding poorly
Symptoms of Jaundice in Adults
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Swelling in legs or abdomen
- Rectal bleeding
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Pale-colored stool
- Dark-colored urine
Jaundice Treatment for Newborns
Jaundice is very common in newborns. While the infant is in the womb, it relies on the mother’s liver reduce excess bilirubin. When the baby is born, their liver may not be able to perform this function on their own right away. Over time, jaundice symptoms will subside. In the meantime, make sure that your infant is getting the nutrients they need. Feeding an infant more frequently can help infants pass the excess bilirubin through their stool. (3)
Jaundice Treatment for Adults
To prevent and treat jaundice in adults, adults should maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes minimizing alcohol consumption, managing cholesterol levels, engaging in physical exercise and avoiding hepatitis infections. Research has shown that alcohol can affect bile acid uptake and secretion, causing a reduction of bile flow. This research suggests that chronic alcohol use may lead to a fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis, all of which are varying levels of jaundice. Certain drugs have also been shown to play a role in the development of jaundice types. Drugs that shown be avoided include acetaminophen, penicillin, oral contraceptives, chlorpromazine and estrogenic or anabolic steroids. (4)