Symptoms, Causes, Home Remedies, and More
Jaundice is a liver-related condition that causes a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, and sometimes other less obvious symptoms. While it’s quite common and temporary in newborns, jaundice in children can be a sign of a more serious medical problem.
Jaundice is the result of hyperbilirubinemia, the buildup of a substance called bilirubin in the bloodstream. Bilirubin is produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. It’s an orange-yellow substance that usually passes through the liver and is excreted from the body.
When there are abnormally high levels of bilirubin in the blood, jaundice develops, and signs of skin and eye color changes appear. Jaundice in children and adults is unusual and an indication of health issues requiring treatment. It’s important to see a doctor if your child shows any signs of this condition.
Types found in children
In newborns, jaundice usually occurs because an infant’s liver isn’t fully developed enough to properly break down and excrete bilirubin. Jaundice in older children, however, has other causes. They can generally be divided up into three types:
- obstructive jaundice, which results from blockage in the bile duct between the pancreas and the liver
- hepatocellular jaundice, which appears if there is liver disease or damage
- hemolytic jaundice, which develops when there is an abnormal breakdown of red blood cells, leading to excessive levels of bilirubin in the blood
Symptoms of jaundice in children
The most apparent signs of jaundice are yellowing of the skin and of the whites of the eyes. Jaundice can also cause color changes to bodily fluids, such as pale stools and dark urine.
If your child’s jaundice is related to a serious medical condition, such as hepatitis, they may have other symptoms, including:
- abdominal pain
Symptoms of jaundice should be taken seriously, but if they’re accompanied by other signs of distress, get your child to an emergency room or a walk-in clinic as soon as possible.
Causes of jaundice in children
Jaundice has a range of several possible causes. Knowing the origin of your child’s jaundice is critical in making sure the right treatment plan is put in place. Among the more common causes of jaundice are:
There are five basic types of transmittable hepatitis, each one triggered by a different virus.
- Hepatitis A is often the result of consuming contaminated water or food.
- Hepatitis B is transmitted through bodily fluids. A mother with hepatitis B may transmit the virus to her baby at birth.
- Hepatitis C is typically transmitted through contaminated blood or drug needles, so it may be less likely a cause of jaundice in young children.
- Hepatitis D often develops in people who already have the hepatitis B virus.
- Hepatitis E is usually isolated to developing regions of the world.
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are preventable by vaccines. Another type of hepatitis, known as autoimmune hepatitis, occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the liver.
All forms of hepatitis involve inflammation of the liver. Over time, this can cause serious harm to liver function.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
EBV is a very common virus, affecting children and adults alike. It tends to be transmitted through bodily fluids, such as saliva.
A child who shares a toothbrush or a drinking glass with someone who has EBV is vulnerable. You or your child could have EBV and experience no symptoms or lasting health problems. But in more serious cases, jaundice, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and other signs may be present.
Gallstones are small, hardened deposits of bile, a digestive fluid. The deposits form in the gallbladder, a small organ located just below the liver.
It’s not always clear why gallstones develop, but it may be due to an abundance of bile in your child’s cholesterol or too much bilirubin in the bile. If the gallbladder doesn’t properly empty of bile, the fluid can build up and form gallstones.
Cancers of the pancreas and liver may cause jaundice, among other symptoms. However, these are rare in children.
There are several types of hemolytic anemia, but they all cause the destruction and removal of red blood cells at a faster rate than is healthy and normal. Hemolytic anemia can be an inherited condition, passed down from one or both parents, or it can result from an infection or an autoimmune disease, among other things.
Diagnosis of jaundice in children
An initial diagnosis of jaundice can be made by a physical examination and observation of your child’s skin and eyes. Determining the cause of jaundice can be more difficult.
Your child’s doctor may look for signs of liver disease by checking for unusual bruises or for spider angiomas, which are small, abnormal clusters of blood vessels just under the surface of the skin. If the fingers and palm of the hand turn a reddish color (palmar erythema), that could be a sign of liver disease. A physical exam to check for swelling of the liver will also be done.
A blood test and urinalysis can reveal high levels of bilirubin in the body along with problems with liver function and anemia. Blood tests can also help diagnose conditions such as hepatitis and Epstein-Barr.
If your child has anemia in addition to jaundice, your child’s doctor may also order a screening known as a Coombs test to confirm or rule out whether antibodies are attacking red blood cells. This is a sign that an autoimmune disease is at the root of your child’s jaundice.
Treatment of jaundice in children
The proper treatment for jaundice depends on the underlying condition. Jaundice in newborns resulting from elevated bilirubin levels may be treated with phototherapy. With this treatment, your child is exposed to a special blue light to help reduce bilirubin levels.
If the problem is related to accelerated red blood cell destruction, your doctor may recommend blood transfusions, certain medications, or plasmapheresis, a process that separates plasma from blood cells.
For newborns with very high levels of bilirubin, a blood exchange transfusion may be helpful. During this treatment, small amounts of blood are withdrawn and given to your child to help boost the red blood cell count and drive down the bilirubin levels.
Hepatitis treatments vary, depending on the type of virus. Hepatitis A, for example, usually leaves the body without treatment, though it can take several months. Hepatitis B and C require antiviral drugs.
EBV has no antiviral cure other than time. For EBV and some other causes of jaundice, treatments tend to focus on managing other symptoms, such as nausea and fever.
Home remedies for jaundice in children
If liver disease, hepatitis, or another serious medical problem is causing jaundice, you need to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment.
Mild cases of jaundice in children can sometimes go away without treatment once the cause has resolved, the way it often does with infants.
Making sure your child has regular bowel movements may also help rid the body faster of bilirubin. Tips for avoiding constipation and establishing regular bowel movements include making sure your child:
- is well-hydrated
- has regular physical activity
- gets enough dietary fiber, which can be found in fruit, beans, and bran cereals
Outlook and prevention
A mild case of jaundice will usually disappear on its own. Once an underlying cause, such as hepatitis or hemolytic anemia, is treated, jaundice and other symptoms will also vanish.
Preventing jaundice isn’t always possible, especially if your child has an inherited condition or an autoimmune condition that’s causing the bilirubin buildup. However, good hygiene and avoiding the sharing of cups and other items that might carry a virus may reduce the risk of conditions such as EBV. Two of the most common types of hepatitis are preventable by vaccines.
Newborn jaundice: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Newborn jaundice occurs when a baby has a high level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. The liver helps break down the substance so it can be removed from the body in the stool.
A high level of bilirubin makes a baby’s skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. This is called jaundice.
It is normal for a baby’s bilirubin level to be a bit high after birth.
When the baby is growing in the mother’s womb, the placenta removes bilirubin from the baby’s body. The placenta is the organ that grows during pregnancy to feed the baby. After birth, the baby’s liver starts doing this job. It may take some time for the baby’s liver to be able to do this efficiently.
Most newborns have some yellowing of the skin, or jaundice. This is called physiological jaundice. It is usually noticeable when the baby is 2 to 4 days old. Most of the time, it does not cause problems and goes away within 2 weeks.
Two types of jaundice may occur in newborns who are breastfed. Both types are usually harmless.
- Breastfeeding jaundice is seen in breastfed babies during the first week of life. It is more likely to occur when babies do not nurse well or the mother’s milk is slow to come, leading to dehydration.
- Breast milk jaundice may appear in some healthy, breastfed babies after day 7 of life. It is likely to peak during weeks 2 and 3, but may last at low levels for a month or more. The problem may be due to how substances in the breast milk affect the breakdown of bilirubin in the liver. Breast milk jaundice is different than breastfeeding jaundice.
Severe newborn jaundice may occur if the baby has a condition that increases the number of red blood cells that need to be replaced in the body, such as:
- Abnormal blood cell shapes (such as sickle cell anemia)
- Blood type mismatch between the mother and baby (Rh incompatibility or ABO incompatibility)
- Bleeding underneath the scalp (cephalohematoma) caused by a difficult delivery
- Higher levels of red blood cells, which is more common in small-for-gestational age (SGA) babies and some twins
- Lack of certain important proteins, called enzymes
Things that make it harder for the baby’s body to remove bilirubin may also lead to more severe jaundice, including:
- Certain medicines
- Infections present at birth, such as rubella, syphilis, and others
- Diseases that affect the liver or biliary tract, such as cystic fibrosis or hepatitis
- Low oxygen level (hypoxia)
- Infections (sepsis)
- Many different genetic or inherited disorders
Babies who are born too early (premature) are more likely to develop jaundice than full-term babies.
Jaundice causes a yellow color of the skin. It usually begins on the face and then moves down to the chest, belly area, legs, and soles of the feet.
Sometimes, infants with severe jaundice may be very tired and feed poorly.
Health care providers will watch for signs of jaundice at the hospital. After the newborn goes home, family members will usually spot the jaundice.
Any infant who appears jaundiced should have bilirubin levels measured right away. This can be done with a blood test.
Many hospitals check total bilirubin levels on all babies at about 24 hours of age. Hospitals use probes that can estimate the bilirubin level just by touching the skin. High readings need to be confirmed with blood tests.
Tests that will likely be done include:
- Complete blood count
- Coombs test
- Reticulocyte count
Further testing may be needed for babies who need treatment or whose total bilirubin level is rising more quickly than expected.
Treatment is not needed most of the time.
When treatment is needed, the type will depend on:
- The baby’s bilirubin level
- How fast the level has been rising
- Whether the baby was born early (babies born early are more likely to be treated at lower bilirubin levels)
- How old the baby is
A baby will need treatment if the bilirubin level is too high or is rising too quickly.
A baby with jaundice needs to take in plenty of fluids with breast milk or formula:
- Feed the baby often (up to 12 times a day) to encourage frequent bowel movements. These help remove bilirubin through the stools. Ask your provider before giving your newborn extra formula.
- In rare cases, a baby may receive extra fluids by IV.
Some newborns need to be treated before they leave the hospital. Others may need to go back to the hospital when they are a few days old. Treatment in the hospital usually lasts 1 to 2 days.
Sometimes, special blue lights are used on infants whose levels are very high. These lights work by helping to break down bilirubin in the skin. This is called phototherapy.
- The infant is placed under these lights in a warm, enclosed bed to maintain a constant temperature.
- The baby will wear only a diaper and special eye shades to protect the eyes.
- Breastfeeding should be continued during phototherapy, if possible.
- In rare cases, the baby may need an intravenous (IV) line to deliver fluids.
If the bilirubin level is not too high or is not rising quickly, you can do phototherapy at home with a fiberoptic blanket, which has tiny bright lights in it. You may also use a bed that shines light up from the mattress.
- You must keep the light therapy on your child’s skin and feed your child every 2 to 3 hours (10 to 12 times a day).
- A nurse will come to your home to teach you how to use the blanket or bed, and to check on your child.
- The nurse will return daily to check your child’s weight, feedings, skin, and bilirubin level.
- You will be asked to count the number of wet and dirty diapers.
In the most severe cases of jaundice, an exchange transfusion is required. In this procedure, the baby’s blood is replaced with fresh blood. Giving intravenous immunoglobulin to babies who have severe jaundice may also be effective in reducing bilirubin levels.
Newborn jaundice is not harmful most of the time. For most babies, jaundice will get better without treatment within 1 to 2 weeks.
A very high level of bilirubin can damage the brain. This is called kernicterus. The condition is almost always diagnosed before the level becomes high enough to cause this damage. Treatment is usually effective.
Rare, but serious complications from high bilirubin levels include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Kernicterus, which is brain damage from very high bilirubin levels
All babies should be seen by a provider in the first 5 days of life to check for jaundice:
- Infants who spend less than 24 hours in a hospital should be seen by age 72 hours.
- Infants who are sent home between 24 and 48 hours should be seen again by age 96 hours.
- Infants who are sent home between 48 and 72 hours should be seen again by age 120 hours.
Jaundice is an emergency if the baby has a fever, has become listless, or is not feeding well. Jaundice may be dangerous in high-risk newborns.
Jaundice is generally not dangerous in babies who were born full term and who do not have other medical problems. Contact the infant’s provider if:
- Jaundice is severe (the skin is bright yellow)
- Jaundice continues to increase after the newborn visit, lasts longer than 2 weeks, or other symptoms develop
- The feet, especially the soles, are yellow
Talk with your baby’s provider if you have questions.
In newborns, some degree of jaundice is normal and probably not preventable. The risk for serious jaundice can often be reduced by feeding babies at least 8 to 12 times a day for the first several days and by carefully identifying infants at highest risk.
All pregnant women should be tested for blood type and unusual antibodies. If the mother is Rh negative, follow-up testing on the infant’s cord is recommended. This may also be done if the mother’s blood type is O positive.
Careful monitoring of all babies during the first 5 days of life can prevent most complications of jaundice. This includes:
- Considering a baby’s risk for jaundice
- Checking bilirubin level in the first day or so
- Scheduling at least one follow-up visit the first week of life for babies sent home from the hospital in 72 hours
Jaundice of the newborn; Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia; Bili lights — jaundice; Infant — yellow skin; Newborn — yellow skin
- Newborn jaundice — discharge
- Newborn jaundice — what to ask your doctor
- Erythroblastosis fetalis — photomicrograph
- Jaundiced infant
- Exchange transfusion — series
- Infant jaundice
Kaplan M, Wong RJ, Burgis JC, Sibley E, Stevenson DK. Neonatal jaundice and liver diseases. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin’s Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine: Diseases of the Fetus and Infant. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 91.
Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM. Digestive system disorders. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 123.
Rozance PJ, Wright CJ. The neonate. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe’s Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 23.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Jaundice in the newborn — causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment
Jaundice in the newborn may also be called fasting amber disease, physiologic jaundice, neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, and hepatic jaundice.
Jaundice in newborns is a common condition that occurs due to elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is formed from the breakdown of red blood cells and is normally excreted from the body through the liver and intestines. In newborns, the liver is not yet fully formed and may not be able to cope with this function. This leads to the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood and icteric staining of the skin and the white of the eye.
Neonatal jaundice may be physiological or pathological. Physiological jaundice in newborns is a normal physiological process that usually resolves on its own in a few weeks. Pathological jaundice in newborns may be associated with various medical problems such as blood disorders, infections, or liver defects.
Newborn jaundice is diagnosed by measuring the level of bilirubin in the blood. Treatment may include phototherapy or exchange transfusion to lower blood levels of bilirubin. If the child has pathological jaundice, he may need additional examinations and treatment. Therefore, if you suspect jaundice in a newborn, you should consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Jaundice in newborns is common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 60% of newborns develop physiological jaundice, and up to 10% of them may need treatment.
Pathological jaundice in newborns is less common, but may be serious and require urgent treatment. Its frequency varies depending on risk factors and ranges from 1 to 4 cases per 1000 newborns.
Although neonatal jaundice is not usually life-threatening, high levels of bilirubin can cause some complications, including damage to the nervous system and hepatobiliary syndrome. Therefore, it is important to diagnose and treat jaundice in newborns in time to prevent possible complications.
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Jaundice in newborns occurs due to increased levels of bilirubin in the blood, which can be caused by several factors.
Physiological jaundice in newborns is due to the peculiarities of metabolism in infants. During the birth process, many red blood cells are destroyed, which leads to an increase in the amount of bilirubin in the blood. In newborns, the liver is not yet fully developed and may not be able to process this bilirubin, leading to accumulation in the blood and icteric discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Pathological jaundice in newborns can be caused by a variety of causes, including:
- Rhesus conflict between maternal and fetal blood
- Hemolytic anemia in newborns
- Infections such as sepsis or hepatitis
- Liver defects such as biliary atresia or cirrhosis
- Premature placental abruption
Some medical procedures, such as exchange transfusion and phototherapy, may also increase the risk of neonatal jaundice.
Symptoms of jaundice in newborns
The main symptom of jaundice in newborns is yellow discoloration of the skin and sclera of the eyes. In newborns with high levels of bilirubin, the skin may be bright yellow, orange, or brown, and the whites of the eyes may have a yellow tint. This symptom usually appears on the 2-4th day of life and may persist for several weeks.
Newborns with pathological jaundice may also have severe weakness, restlessness, food refusal, sleep disturbance, delayed weight gain and decreased muscle tone. In some cases, more severe symptoms may appear, such as vomiting, fever, and respiratory failure.
Diagnosis of jaundice in newborns requires a physical examination and measurement of bilirubin levels in the blood. In some cases, additional testing may be needed, such as blood and urine tests, an ultrasound of the liver and bile ducts, and a liver biopsy.
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Which doctor treats
If you suspect jaundice in your newborn, you should contact your pediatrician or neonatologist. They will be able to examine the child, measure the level of bilirubin in the blood and determine if additional treatment is needed.
If you notice that your newborn’s icteric coloration is getting brighter, or if the baby has other symptoms such as refusing to eat or sleeping, see a doctor as soon as possible.
High bilirubin levels and complications of neonatal jaundice may require consultation with a hepatologist or pediatric gastroenterologist.
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Yuliya Evgenievna Vanina
Experience 18 years
Diagnosing jaundice in newborns
Diagnosing jaundice in newborns usually includes a physical examination and measurement of bilirubin levels in the blood.
The doctor will examine the child’s skin and eyes to check for jaundice. He may also feel the child’s abdomen to check for an enlarged liver or spleen.
Blood bilirubin may need to be measured using a finger prick or vein. The level of bilirubin is usually measured using a blood test performed on days 2-4 of life. If the bilirubin level is higher than normal, additional blood and urine tests, an ultrasound of the liver and bile ducts, and a liver biopsy may be needed.
In some cases, additional testing, such as a blood type and Rhesus factor test, may be required to determine the risk of an Rh conflict between the maternal and fetal blood.
If the child has high bilirubin levels, the doctor may recommend additional treatment, such as phototherapy or exchange transfusion, to lower the bilirubin level in the blood.
Treatment of jaundice in newborns
Treatment of jaundice in newborns depends on what caused it and on the level of bilirubin in the blood.
Physiologic jaundice in newborns usually resolves on its own within a few weeks, so the doctor may recommend simply monitoring the baby.
If the bilirubin level is high, additional treatment may be required. The most common treatments for neonatal jaundice are phototherapy and exchange transfusion.
Phototherapy: This is a treatment in which the child is placed under a special lamp that emits light at a specific wavelength. This allows you to change the structure of bilirubin in the blood, which contributes to its removal from the body. Phototherapy is usually done in a hospital, and the baby may be placed in an incubator to monitor body temperature and fluid levels.
Exchange transfusion: This is a procedure in which a small amount of blood is removed from a child’s body and replaced with donated blood. This reduces the level of bilirubin in the blood and prevents the development of complications. Exchange transfusion is performed only in cases where the level of bilirubin is critically high and phototherapy does not give the desired effect.
If neonatal jaundice is due to pathological causes, additional treatment may be required, such as antibiotics to treat infections or surgery to correct liver defects. In such cases, treatment is prescribed individually and depends on the diagnosis and condition of the child.
If left untreated
If neonatal jaundice is left untreated, high levels of bilirubin in the blood can lead to serious complications, including damage to the nervous system and hepatobiliary syndrome.
Newborns with high bilirubin levels can develop kernicterus, which can lead to impaired movement and muscle tone, seizures, and other neurological complications.
Rarely, high levels of bilirubin can cause kernicterus, which can lead to impaired movement and muscle tone, seizures, and other neurological complications.
It is therefore important to diagnose and treat neonatal jaundice in time to prevent possible complications. If you suspect that your newborn has jaundice, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible to get the correct diagnosis and prescribe the necessary treatment.
How to help yourself
Jaundice in newborns is a serious condition that requires medical attention and, if necessary, treatment. Despite this, there are several ways that can help reduce the risk of jaundice in newborns:
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding may help reduce the risk of jaundice in newborns. Breast milk contributes to the normal functioning of the liver and helps the body get rid of excess bilirubin.
Regular feeding: Regular feeding of the child helps to maintain normal levels of bilirubin in the blood. It is recommended to feed newborns at least 8 times a day.
Increasing the amount of urine: Regular urination helps to get rid of excess bilirubin. You can apply warm compresses to your baby’s abdomen to encourage urination.
Checking bilirubin levels: If you are at high risk for jaundice in your newborn, your doctor may order additional blood tests to check your bilirubin levels. Depending on the result of the analysis, the doctor may recommend additional treatment.
Follow doctor’s instructions: If a child is diagnosed with jaundice, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and follow all prescriptions. Your doctor may recommend phototherapy or other procedures to help lower your blood bilirubin levels.
However, remember that if jaundice is suspected in a newborn, self-treatment is not recommended and a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
Jaundice in newborns can carry certain risks, especially if it is not treated in time or if it is caused by pathological causes. Some of these risks may include:
Kernicterus: This is a serious complication that can occur when a newborn has high levels of bilirubin in the blood. It can lead to increased muscle tone, seizures, and other neurological problems.
Nervous System Damage: High levels of bilirubin can cause damage to the nervous system in the newborn, which can cause increased muscle tone, poor motor coordination, visual and hearing impairment, and other neurological problems.
Hepatobiliary syndrome: High levels of bilirubin can cause damage to the liver and biliary tract in the newborn, which can lead to a variety of problems, including liver problems.
Developmental delay: Some newborns may be developmentally delayed if they are diagnosed with jaundice and do not receive timely treatment.
Risk of treatment complications: Some treatments, such as exchange transfusion, may carry certain risks, including the possibility of infections, allergic reactions, and other problems.
Therefore, it is important to diagnose and treat neonatal jaundice in time to prevent possible complications. If your child has jaundice, you need to see a doctor to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Prevention of jaundice in newborns
There are several ways to prevent jaundice in newborns:
Regular breastfeeding: Breast milk contains important nutrients that help the newborn to maintain normal liver function and get rid of excess bilirubin. Therefore, regular breastfeeding helps prevent the development of jaundice.
Regular feeding: Regular feeding of the newborn helps to maintain normal levels of bilirubin in the blood and prevents its accumulation.
Monitoring of the child: It is important to carefully observe the child’s condition and look for signs of jaundice. If you suspect jaundice, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Follow doctor’s advice: If your child is at risk of developing jaundice, the doctor can give advice on how to prevent and monitor the child’s condition. It is important to follow these recommendations and not miss your doctor’s appointments.
Good hygiene practices: Good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands regularly before touching your baby, can help prevent the development of infectious diseases that can lead to jaundice.
Prevention of Rh incompatibility: If the mother and father have different blood types or a different Rh factor, measures to prevent Rh incompatibility may be necessary to prevent the development of jaundice in the child.
In general, the prevention of jaundice in newborns is a healthy lifestyle and regular monitoring of the child’s condition. If you suspect jaundice, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible to get the correct diagnosis and prescribe the necessary treatment.
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Jaundice in newborns
The skin, mucous membranes and whites of the eyes are often yellow in newborns. All this is due to an increase in the blood and accumulation in the tissues of the bile pigment — bilirubin.
Alexandra Sergeevna Panchenko, a pediatrician, neonatologist of the Medluxik center, will tell you more about this.
It is noted that jaundice in newborns is a fairly common phenomenon, and is divided into two types: physiological and pathological.
Let’s talk about the first type — physiological jaundice.
Cause of immature liver function, which converts bilirubin.
It occurs in about half of full-term and 80% of premature babies.
It appears on the second or third day of a child’s life and disappears in 2-3 weeks (up to a month in premature babies).
Also for such jaundice is characteristic:
No evidence of enlarged spleen or liver.
The maximum severity of yellow coloration of the face, trunk and extremities on the 3rd-4th day of life; jaundice does not spread to the palms and feet.
No pathological shades of yellow skin color (gray, greenish, lemon) are observed.
· Normal, according to age, coloring of the stool.
· Rapid decrease in the intensity and prevalence of jaundice after 4 days of life; extinction of jaundice by 8-10 days of life.
Physiological jaundice is not considered a disease, and therefore does not need treatment.
Another thing is pathological jaundice, which is essentially a sign of other diseases: hemolytic disease of the newborn (incompatibility of the blood of the mother and fetus according to the Rh factor, blood group and other rare factors), intrauterine infections, hereditary diseases and others.
The most common signs:
Enlarged liver and spleen.
The skin becomes pale, and in severe cases it turns yellow already on the second day of the child’s life, the intensity of the color increases for another two to three days.
· Increased body temperature.
Poor weight gain.
Regurgitation, vomiting, discoloration of stools and urine.
And other. The symptoms are generally similar, but for various diseases they have their own characteristics.
Jaundice is diagnosed by assessing the level of bilirubin contained through blood sampling for biochemical analysis, or using special Bilitest devices.
For the treatment of a number of jaundices, the method of phototherapy is used with the help of special lamps at home.
It is very important for a baby to get professional advice from a pediatrician, neonatologist before starting treatment for one or another type of jaundice, because, as we have already said, there are a lot of reasons for the manifestation of jaundice, and, accordingly, the tactics of diagnosis and treatment are different.