Skin yellowing can be a symptom of various liver diseases, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. Especially if the whites of the eyes are yellow, then the disease called jaundice can be mentioned. However, yellowing of the skin can also be a sign of other diseases such as anemia or anorexia nervosa. In addition, excess intake of foods rich in beta carotene, such as carrots or papaya, can also cause yellowing of the skin, but in these cases, only the skin turns yellow, not the eyes.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible, especially if there is a fever, white stools, dark urine, weakness and extreme tiredness with yellowing of the skin, as these are indicators of liver, gallbladder or pancreas problems. In this way, the correct diagnosis can be made and the most appropriate treatment can be started.
Yellowing of the skin can be a symptom of various health problems, such as:
Hepatitis is the most common cause of jaundice and can be caused by liver inflammation caused by a virus, continued drug use, or autoimmune diseases . It causes symptoms such as yellowing of the skin caused by hepatitis, abdominal pain and swelling, mild fever, itching, nausea, vomiting, and excessive bleeding from possible injury.
What to do: Hepatitis treatment should be done according to the doctor’s recommendation. Depending on the cause of hepatitis, medication or rest, adequate nutrition and fluid intake may be recommended.
2. Liver failure
Liver failure, for example, occurs when the liver is unable to perform its normal functions, such as detoxifying the body. In this case, in addition to jaundice, the person usually has swelling, body pain, bleeding and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
What to do: It is important to consult a hepatologist to determine the cause of the disease and determine the best course of treatment, usually through a liver transplant.
3. Liver cyst
The cyst is a fluid-filled cavity, and in such a case, the liver usually does not show any symptoms. However, in some cases, it can cause a yellowish appearance of the skin, sudden weight loss, fever above 38ºC and fatigue.
What to do: A liver cyst usually doesn’t need special treatment, but if it gets bigger and causes symptoms, it may need to be surgically removed.
4. Liver cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is a chronic and progressive liver inflammation characterized by the destruction of liver cells that can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes, whitish nails, bad breath , prominent and visible veins in the abdomen, and abdominal swelling.
What to do: Treatment for cirrhosis of the liver depends on the cause, but it’s important to maintain a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, as they are easy to digest.
Gallstones, which are formed as a result of the accumulation of calcium and cholesterol in the gallbladder, can cause a gallbladder infection called cholangitis, which causes jaundice, fever above 38°C, severe abdominal pain , back pain , nausea, vomiting and muscle wasting.
What to do: Gallstones can be treated with medication, surgery and a proper diet rich in fruits, vegetables, salads and wholegrain products.
6. Sickle cell anemia
Sickle cell anemia is a type of inherited anemia in which there is a malformation of red blood cells, which can cause jaundice, swelling, and redness of the hands and feet, causing an inability to transport oxygen to body cells. Sickle cell anemia can also cause bone pain and joint pain .
What to do: Treatment for sickle cell anemia is done as directed by the haematologist and usually includes medication and lifelong blood transfusions.
Thalassemia is a genetic and inherited blood disorder that causes symptoms such as tiredness, anemia, weakness and growth retardation in addition to yellow skin and eyes.
What to do: There is no cure for thalassemia, but it is treated with blood transfusions and the use of folic acid supplements, depending on the severity of symptoms.
8. Anorexia nervoza
Anorexia nervosa presents with distorted body image, exaggerated and sudden weight loss, and in anorectic individuals often dry, yellow skin, as well as hair loss or thin and brittle hair.
What to do: Treatment includes group, family, and behavioral therapy, in addition to nutritional monitoring, often with the intake of food supplements to suppress nutritional deficiencies.
9. Excessive beta carotene intake
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in many foods and is primarily responsible for helping to improve your tan as well as improving the immune system. Therefore, excessive consumption of foods rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots, papayas, zucchini, tomatoes and broccoli, can cause a yellowish appearance to the skin.
What to do: The best way to return the skin to its normal color is to reduce the consumption of these foods and to consume other foods with the same nutritional value.
10. Neonatal jaundice
Neonatal jaundice refers to yellowing of the skin and eyes in infants during the first days of life. Neonatal jaundice is caused by the accumulation of bilirubin in the bloodstream and needs to be treated in the hospital.
What to do: Jaundice in infants is treated through phototherapy, which consists of exposing the baby to light for several days to reduce the blood concentration of bilirubin.