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Jaundice is yellowing of your eyes and skin. It is caused by too much bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance found in red blood cells. It is released when the body breaks down old red blood cells. Bilirubin usually leaves the body through bowel movements. Jaundice happens because your body breaks down cells correctly, but it cannot remove the bilirubin.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe abdominal pain or a fever.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded or faint.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You begin to have tea-colored urine or pale, gray bowel movements.
  • Your skin and eyes become more yellow, or other symptoms get worse.
  • You are confused, or others notice changes in your behavior.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines can decrease bilirubin levels and reduce your itching.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return for more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Drink more liquids as directed. Liquids help you stay hydrated and urinate more. This helps prevent harm to your kidneys. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat foods low in fat. Healthy low-fat foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. These foods are easier to digest and may help reduce your symptoms.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol harms your liver and may make your symptoms worse.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.