The breakdown of red blood cells, as they are replaced, produces bilirubin, a yellow-brown substance that is normally removed from circulation by the liver. If there is inadequate liver function or dysfunction in the blood, bilirubin can build up in the blood. Most newborns have a degree of jaundice that is not considered serious. This occurs because the baby’s liver has a limited capacity in relation the processing of bilirubin.
Causes: cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, haemolysis, pernicious anaemia, obstructed bile duct, parasitic infection (e.g. tapeworm or hookworm) and gallstones.
Symptoms: yellowing of the skin and eyes (sclera), dark urine, light stools, fluid retention in the abdominal area, fatigue, itching, nausea, rashes on the skin and vomiting.
Who to consult: Dietician, GP, haematologist, hepatologist, herbalist, homoeopath, naturopath.