Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your yellow skin (jaundice) symptoms, including 9 causes and common questions.

  1. 9 Possible Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

9 Possible Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced yellow skin (jaundice). This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Acute hepatitis c

Acute Hepatitis C is a liver inflammation caused by Hepacivirus C. The acute form of the disease means that it arises suddenly, within six months of exposure.

Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood, usually through sharing hypodermic needles for intravenous drug use or from sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razor blades. It can also be sexually transmitted.

Most susceptible are intravenous drug users; hemodialysis patients; HIV patients; and babies born to infected mothers.

Early symptoms may mild, with fatigue, fever, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, and loss of appetite. Some patients will develop dark urine, pale white stools, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the eyes and skin.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and blood tests.

About half of all cases clear spontaneously, but it is still important to see a medical provider to prevent further liver damage from inappropriate medicines, supplements, or alcohol.

Otherwise, treatment involves antiviral and other medications. In severe and complicated cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fever

Symptoms that never occur with acute hepatitis c: pain in the upper left abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain in the lower right abdomen, pain around the belly button

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Hepatitis a

Hepatitis A is a contagious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV causes swelling and inflammation of the liver that impairs its normal function. Hepatitis A can cause gastrointestinal upset, fever, malaise and other symptoms, and the infection can last from weeks to months....

Read more

Chronic gallstones

Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: nausea, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, vomiting, pain in the upper right abdomen

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is also called pancreatic exocrine cancer, and means that tumors have begun to grow in the exocrine cells of the pancreas. These cells manufacture the enzymes that help digest fats.

The exact cause of any pancreatic cancer is unknown. Risk factors include smoking; obesity; alcoholism; exposure to certain chemicals; family history of the disease; and pre-existing diabetes, pancreatitis, or cirrhosis of the liver.

Symptoms include jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes; dark urine; pale-colored stools; abdominal and/or back pain; loss of appetite; and unintended weight loss.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; blood tests; abdominal imaging such as ultrasound or CT scan; and sometimes biopsy of the pancreas or other minor surgical procedure to help make the diagnosis.

Treatment involves a combination of several methods, including chemotherapy; radiation therapy; surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas as well as to help relieve some of the symptoms of the disease; pain management; and psychological support.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your yellow skin (jaundice)

Liver failure

The liver is a large and important organ in the right side of your belly, just under your lower ribs. It is responsible for countless functions from clearing toxins to processing nutrients to producing vital blood proteins. As a result, liver failure can cause a wide array of symptoms, but the mos...

Read more

Pain crisis caused by sickle cell anemia

Pain crises are the hallmark of Sickle cell disease and cause excruciating pain. They are caused by a blocked blood vessel. On average, a person with Sickle cell disease will have one serious episode each year.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: severe abdominal pain, yellow skin (jaundice), pale skin all over, severe pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

G6pd deficiency

G6PD deficiency is an inherited condition in which the body doesn't have enough of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) which helps red blood cells function normally.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), fatigue, spontaneous back pain, yellow skin (jaundice), dark brown urine

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Liver cancer

Liver cancer can be caused by a primary cancer of liver cells or metastatic cancer to the liver from another part of the body. Primary liver cancer is almost always caused by an underlying chronic condition affecting the liver (virus, toxins, etc).

Many liver cancers do not start causing symptoms un...

Read more

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. In some cases, this can be caused by an attack of the immune system on the body's own red blood cells.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), fever, racing heart beat, joint pain

Symptoms that never occur with autoimmune hemolytic anemia: painful urination

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Yellow Skin (Jaundice)

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have someone press on the upper right corner of your abdomen (see picture). Does this person feel a large lump coming from under your rib cage?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Have you lost your appetite recently?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your yellow skin (jaundice)

Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced yellow skin (jaundice) have also experienced:

  • 7% Fatigue
  • 5% Nausea
  • 4% Yellow-Tinged Whites Of The Eyes

People who have experienced yellow skin (jaundice) were most often matched with:

  • 33% Acute Hepatitis C
  • 33% Hepatitis A
  • 33% Chronic Gallstones

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Yellow Skin (Jaundice) Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your yellow skin (jaundice)

No ads, doctor reviewed. Let's crack your symptom code together - like us on Facebook to follow along.