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Causes of having yellow skin

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

s a disorder that occurs when bilirubin, which is a yellow pigment, is found in high amounts in the blood and is deposited in the tissues, therefore, its most common symptom is to notice that the skin, mucous membranes and the whites of the eyes change to a yellowish color. Also, you may notice that your urine is dark in color and your stools are light or pale.

Mostly, the cause of this accumulation of bilirubin is due to direct problems in the liver, although sometimes other disorders may be involved that favor a greater generation of said yellow pigment than the liver can process and eliminate. If you wonder why I have yellow skin , we invite you to read the following FastlyHealarticle in which we provide the best information on the subject.

Yellow skin from hepatitis

Among the inflammatory diseases of the liver, hepatitis is found and this can occur for various causes, the main ones being a viral, bacterial or parasitic infection, autoimmune disorders and being exposed to certain toxic substances or drugs. In some cases, symptoms do not appear until the affectation is greater but within the symptoms that could be observed, fatigue and weakness, lack of appetite, nausea, headaches and yellow skin stand out.

Hepatitis is characterized by the destruction of liver cells and inflammation in the liver tissue, which prevents the liver from carrying out its functions correctly, including the breakdown of bilirubin to be easily eliminated. Therefore, the accumulation of high amounts of this pigment in the body causes that the skin does not present a normal color.

Hemolytic anemia, increases bilirubin in the blood

Under normal conditions, red blood cells have a half-life of 120 days and, after this time, as they are worn down, they are destroyed in the spleen and liver. When you have hemolytic anemia , the breakdown of these blood cells occurs before normal time and the bone marrow cannot replace the losses quickly. This anticipated death of erythrocytes may be due to a defect in their structure due to some other pathology, such as infection, or due to the administration of certain medications.

When an abnormal number of red blood cells is destroyed, there is a greater amount of hemoglobin that is transformed into bilirubin and that is released into the blood to later be processed in the liver for elimination. However, this is beyond the capacity of the liver and bilirubin tends to accumulate , so it may be an answer to the question why I have yellow skin. Despite this, jaundice is usually mild, as the liver continues to eliminate this excess.

Gallstones, favor the development of jaundice

If you have noticed that the skin, mucous membranes or the whites of the eyes turn yellow, you could have gallstones that are blocking the bile duct. These stones are solid formations of some components of the bile that is stored in the gallbladder and, frequently, they are very small but when they are larger, they can block the duct that shares the gallbladder with the liver and prevent the passage. of bile into the intestines to aid in the digestion of food.

Bile is made up mainly of bile salts, hormones, cholesterol, proteins, water, and bilirubin. If the bile ducts are blocked, the bile accumulates in the liver and since it is not possible to dispose of the excess bilirubin in the blood, a yellowish coloration of the skin begins to be noticed due to this pigment. Generally, it is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain in the upper right area of ​​the abdomen and can radiate to the right shoulder, pale stools, vomiting and fever.

Cirrhosis, a symptom may be yellow skin

The buildup of fibrous tissue in the liver that characterizes cirrhosis is another common cause of yellow skin. This fibrosis is the response to a process of chronic inflammation that can be generated by various conditions, which over time damage the liver, including consuming alcoholic beverages in excess or for many years, suffering from hepatitis B, C or D, fatty liver, autoimmune or heart disease. As the liver tissue hardens by this response, the functions of that organ are affected and blood circulation in it is reduced.

Although jaundice is a symptom of cirrhosis, it is usually evident in advanced stages of the disease, when the damage to the liver is considerable and its ability to process the yellow pigment decreases, so that the accumulation of this in the blood arrives to be progressive. On the other hand, alcohol consumption directly affects the increase in the amount of bilirubin in the blood in order to be able to process it and remove it from the system. Other symptoms that may be present are tiredness and weakness, loss of appetite and weight, pain in the abdomen, swelling from fluid accumulation, and vomiting.

Medication use, possible cause of yellow skin

Although some drugs could cause as a side effect that the bilirubin in the blood increases, it is usually not in significant amounts to cause jaundice or, if it occurs, it becomes mild and disappears quickly without causing another problem in the body. On the other hand, there are several medications that can cause liver damage , the dose, duration and frequency of use and the predisposition of the person being important factors.

Because the liver helps to process certain medications that are administered to the body, being exposed to these substances causes the deterioration of the tissue or its functions, including that of degrading bilirubin and causing it to accumulate in excess. , so the skin may appear yellow. Some of these drugs are widely used and over-the-counter, such as those that contain paracetamol, ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac, especially if they are self-medicating with doses higher than recommended. Contraceptive pills, tetracyclines, amoxicillin, antiepileptic drugs, sulfa drugs, among others, can also cause harm.

Other causes of yellow skin

There are several conditions that may be causing the yellow coloration of the skin, some more common than others, but in any case it is usually a reflection that something is wrong in the body and it is necessary to see a doctor for a correct diagnosis and treatment. Other disorders that can answer the question why I have yellow skin are:

  • Tumor in the liver, pancreas, or bile ducts.
  • Hypoalbuminemia, since albumin transports bilirubin to be degraded.
  • Some genetic diseases, including Rotor, Dubin-Johnson, Gilbert, and Crigler-Najjar syndrome.
  • Hypercaroteneemia.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I have yellow skin , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

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