Jaundice in Adults

Welcome to the Decision Guide for Jaundice.

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes that results from accumulation of an intensely yellow natural substance, bilirubin. Bilirubin is contained inside red blood cells, and it is cleared out of the body in the digestive substance "bile," which drains from the liver and gallbladder. People who get jaundice usually also have dark yellow or brown urine from extra bilirubin.

If you have jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), this guide can help you to understand some of the most common causes that might explain your symptoms.

Jaundice needs to be evaluated by a doctor in every case, because it usually indicates a serious medical problem. You should contact your doctor so that you can arrange an urgent evaluation. If your healthcare provider is not able to see you today, he or she may recommend that you visit an emergency department for an immediate evaluation. This guide is intended only as an introduction to the topic of jaundice. It is not a substitute for a doctor's evaluation.

You will encounter a small number of survey questions about your medical history as you proceed through this program. Your answers to these questions will help us to personalize our information for you.

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Your recent activity and possible exposure to infections could be an important clue to the cause of your jaundice.

Have you traveled out of the country in the last several weeks?

Yes, I have recently traveled.

No, I have not traveled out of the country.

For the majority of people who have jaundice, the symptom comes from a problem that affects your liver. Your liver is located on the right side of your abdomen, underneath your lowest ribs.

Do you have a fever or new pain in your right upper abdomen?

Yes, I do have a fever or new pain.

No, I do not have a fever or new pain.

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