Jaundice in Children: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments


Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes due to the increased concentration of Bilirubin in the blood. There are other causes for which the skin can take a yellowish coloration; they can be distinguished from jaundice because they do not produce yellowing of the conjunctiva of the eyes. Jaundice can occur when there is an increase in the rate of destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis), in liver diseases (both in acute hepatitis and in chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis) and in diseases in which it produces an obstruction of the bile duct (the most frequent causes are gallstones and tumors of the bile duct or pancreas).

In some cases, jaundice can be accompanied by Choluria (very dark colored urine due to the presence of Bilirubin in the urine) and acholia (very light stools due to the absence of pigments derived from Bilirubin). In the newborn, jaundice is a clinical objective sign characterized by the yellowish color of the skin, conjunctiva (white of the eyes) and mucosa.

Read More: 7 Remedies of Jaundice in New Born Babies

Symptoms of Jaundice

The most prominent symptom of jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eye cells. This discoloration is discernible first in the facial area and then extends through the body. The following signs or symptoms may indicate severe jaundice or complications due to excess Bilirubin. Call your doctor in the following cases:

  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort, in case of obstruction of the bile duct
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stool whitish
  • Fever
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Bitter taste in the mouth

 Causes of jaundice:

Jaundice occurs normally when an underlying problem affects Bilirubin levels in the blood. In some cases, the liver is unable to eliminate Bilirubin, while in other cases Bilirubin can accumulate in the tissues. Some of the underlying disorders that can result in Bilirubin include:

Jaundice in children

  • Inflammation of the liver: When the liver becomes inflamed, it may be unable to eliminate Bilirubin.
  • Inflammation of the bile duct: The bile duct is where bile passes. Acute inflammation of the bile duct can impede the way in which Bilirubin is secreted and eliminated.
  • Bile duct obstruction: The liver is unable to remove Bilirubin properly when there are blockages in the bile duct.
  • Hemolyticanemia: The accelerated metabolism of red blood cells leads to an increased production of Bilirubin.
  • Gilbert syndrome: It affects the functioning of enzymes, resulting in an inadequate excretion of bile. Gilbert’s syndrome is a hereditary disorder.
  • Cholestasis: In this problem the passage of bile is affected, causing it to accumulate in the liver.
  • Internal bleeding (hemorrhage)

Rare disorders that can occur because of jaundice include:

  • Crigler-Najjar syndrome: It is a genetic problem that affects certain enzymes involved in the processing of Bilirubin
  • Dubin-Johnson syndrome: A hereditary dysfunction that hinders the exclusion of Bilirubin from liver cells.
  • Pseudo-jaundice: This problem occurs due to an increase in beta-carotene levels. It is mainly due to an increased consumption of foods that contain the beta-carotene nutrient. However, it is not associated with high levels of Bilirubin.

Jaundice treatment:

Some of the most common and effective treatments for Jaundice are:

  1. Extract the juice of a lemon and a grapefruit and mix them with water. Take two glasses of this juice a day.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of gentian flowers in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover it and let it cool for 10 minutes. Filter and drink 3 cups a day.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of a dandelion into 1 cup of boiling water. Cover it and let it cool for some time. Strain and take 2 cups a day.
  4. Take 2 litres of water and boil 60 g of milk and 60 g of marigold flowers. Strain and add 15 g of hyssop. Strain immediately and distribute in 6 parts. Consume 3 times daily for 16 consecutive days.
  5. Boil 50 g of yarrow and 30 g of thyme in 1 litre of water for 10 minutes. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes, strain and distribute it in 6 parts and take for 3 days, at a rate of 2 times daily.
  6. Pour 40 g of artichoke and 40 g of barberry into 1 litre of boiling water. Cover and let it cool. Take 4 cups of this infusion daily.
  7. Pour 1 tablespoon of oregano in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let it cool. Strain and take this infusion 3 times a day.
  8. Wash, peel and chop two beets. Place them in a blender together with a glass of water and liquefy for some time. Take this juice 2 times a day.
  9. Take 1 litre of water, 30 g of chicory roots and 60 g of parsley roots and boil them. Strain when the liquid is cold and drink 3 cups a day.
  10. Boil 30 grams of chicory leaves and 1 tablespoon of dandelion for 10 minutes, in 1 litre of water. After that time, remove from heat, strain and let it cool. Drink 3 cups of this infusion daily.
  11. Cut a green guanabana into pieces and remove the seeds. Place it in a blender with small amount of water. Blend for a few minutes. You can add honey to achieve taste.
  12. Pour 2 tablespoons crushed boldo leaves into 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let it cool. Drink on an empty stomach with few drops of lemon and honey.
  13. Mix in equal parts of barberry, wormwood, mint, heather, and Goldenrod. Extract and pour into a cup of boiling water. Drink 3 to 4 cups a day.
  14. Flowers are used in calendula infusion at a rate of 20 grams per litre of water. This tisane facilitates the secretion of bile in jaundice.
  15. Take 4 grams of powdered flowers of tile or cornflower daily. They are excellent for jaundice.
  16. Pour a handful of clovers in a cup of water, let it cool and strain. Drink three times a day.
  17. Place five grams of Aloe Vera powder in a quarter litre of water overnight. Take twice a day; the first in the morning before breakfast and the second in the evening before going to sleep. You can see the best results within 3 days of its consumption.
  18. Perform a decoction of 50 g of inflorescences of Veronica in 1 litre of water for 10 minutes. Then let stand, strain and drink 3 cups a day.
  19. Boil a handful of dried roots of brusque or wild myrtle in a litre of water for about 2 minutes and then leave for 10 minutes in infusion. This remedy is recommended not only in cases of jaundice but also in dropsy, diseases of the urinary tract, gout and lack of appetite.
  20. Add a cup of barley to 3 litres of water. Simmer for an hour and then drain. Add the juice extracted from a lemon, a pinch of salt. Take 3 glasses a day to achieve the best results. This remedy detoxifies the organism especially the liver.
  21. Pour 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder into a glass of warm water. Take three times a day. This remedy, like the previous one, cleans the liver of toxins.
  22. Blend 3 carrots and some fresh radish leaves, previously washed and chopped, along with a glass of water. Take this juice twice a day to strengthen the immune system and cleanse the liver.

Home remedies for jaundice:

The treatment of jaundice usually begins after the diagnosis of the underlying cause. The treatment will then be aimed at solving the underlying cause. Jaundice that results from anemia can be treated by raising iron levels in the blood through iron supplements or by eating iron-rich foods. Hepatitis-induced jaundice can be treated with antiviral medications. Surgery may be necessary in cases where the problem develops as a result of obstructions. In some cases, jaundice may even develop as a result of a side effect of certain medications. In such cases, jaundice can be treated by altering the dose or changing the medication.

However, medical treatment is essential, not only for the treatment but more importantly, for an accurate diagnosis of the underlying causes, in order to facilitate an adequate treatment. Home remedies and lifestyle modifications are, however, an important aspect of the treatment and recovery process. You can also try using other natural methods that are thought to help in the treatment of jaundice, but not all methods have been scientifically proven, so take precautions. Some of the most common home remedies for jaundice include:

  • Radish Sheets: You can extract the juice of green leaves of radish and drink it daily. This helps regulate abdominal discomfort and also improves appetite. This treatment can be continued for 8 or 10 days.
  • Tomatoes: Add a little pepper and salt in fresh tomato juice and drink it every morning. Tomato lycopene can help reduce liver damage and even facilitate recovery.
  • Leaves of Trichosanthescucumerina: Add some dried leaves of trichosanthescucumerina in boiling water. Then boil cilantro seeds in water until one-third of the amount is reduced. Combine the two decoctions and drink it three times a day.
  • Almonds: Soak 7 or 8 almonds in water and leave overnight. Peel the almonds, grind them to make a paste and consume it. You can also consume almonds with dried dates and cardamoms. Dates and cardamoms should be soaked in water overnight.
  • Guandul leaves: It is known that the juice obtained from Guandul leaves helps in the treatment of jaundice. Extract the juice and drink in small doses daily.
  • Sugar Cane Juice: Squeeze half a lime into a glass of sugarcane juice and drink two or three times a day. It is a popular remedy for jaundice that is known to accelerate recovery. Make sure the juice is not contaminated in any way. It is better to prepare the juice at home after cleaning the sugar cane thoroughly.
  • Lemon juice: Put lemon juice in water and drink periodically during the day. This will help guard the liver cells.
  • Barley Water: Add a cup of barley in about three liters of water and simmer for a couple of hours. Drink it frequently during the day to relieve jaundice.
  • Turmeric: Add a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder in warm water and drink twice a day.
  • Papaya leaves: Grind a few leaves of tender papaya to make a paste Combine the paste with half a teaspoon of honey and consume.
  • Ginger: Extract the juice from a piece of ginger, mixed with lime juice and mint juice and consume.
  • Buttermilk: Add a pinch of toasted cumin seeds and a little salt in buttermilk and consume. This helps in the proper digestion and is beneficial for the liver.
  • Gooseberry: It is a very useful natural treatment for jaundice and can be consumed daily along with water.
  • Oregano: Add a couple of teaspoons of oregano in a cup of water and boil it. Simmer for about ten minutes and then drain. Consume this on a regular basis to relieve the symptoms of jaundice.

Lifestyle and home remedies for childhood jaundice:

If childhood jaundice is not critical, your doctor may suggest changes in eating habits that can lower Bilirubin levels. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about how much or how often you should feed your baby, or if you are having problems breastfeeding. The following steps can reduce jaundice:

Feeding more often: Breastfeeding more often will cause the baby to consume more milk and have more bowel movements. This will increase the amount of Bilirubin eliminated in your baby’s stool. Breastfeeding for babies should be between 8 and 12 times a day during the first days of life. In general, babies should drink 1 to 2 ounces (about 30 ml to 60 ml) every two or three hours during the first week.

Supplementary feeding: If your baby has problems in breastfeeding and is losing weight or is dehydrated, the doctor may suggest giving your own milk to supplement breastfeeding. Ask the doctor what feeding options are right for your baby.


The best way to prevent jaundice in babies is to make sure they are adequately nourished. Breastfed babies usually eat between 8 and 12 times a day for the first few days after birth. In case of bottle-fed babies, it is recommended to give them between a quarter and a half liters during the first week.