NEONATAL JAUNDICE

INTRODUCTION

  • Infant jaundice is yellow discoloration of a newborn baby's skin and eyes. Infant jaundice occurs because the baby's blood contains an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of red blood cells.

  • Infant jaundice is a common condition, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks' gestation (preterm babies) and some breast-fed babies. Infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby's liver isn't mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. In some babies, an underlying disease may cause infant jaundice.

  • Most infants born between 35 weeks' gestation and full term need no treatment for jaundice. Rarely, an unusually high blood level of bilirubin can place a newborn at risk of brain damage, particularly in the presence of certain risk factors for severe jaundice.

CAUSES

  • Excess bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia) is the main cause of jaundice. Bilirubin, which is responsible for the yellow color of jaundice, is a normal part of the pigment released from the breakdown of "used" red blood cells.

  • Newborns produce more bilirubin than adults do because of greater production and faster breakdown of red blood cells in the first few days of life. Normally, the liver filters bilirubin from the bloodstream and releases it into the intestinal tract. A newborn's immature liver often can't remove bilirubin quickly enough, causing an excess of bilirubin. Jaundice due to these normal newborn conditions is called physiologic jaundice, and it typically appears on the second or third day of life.

Other causes

An underlying disorder may cause infant jaundice. In these cases, jaundice often appears much earlier or much later than does the more common form of infant jaundice. Diseases or conditions that can cause jaundice include:

  • Internal bleeding (hemorrhage)

  • An infection in your baby's blood (sepsis)

  • Other viral or bacterial infections

  • An incompatibility between the mother's blood and the baby's blood

  • A liver malfunction

  • Biliary atresia, a condition in which the baby’s bile ducts are blocked or scarred

  • An enzyme deficiency

  • An abnormality of your baby's red blood cells that causes them to break down rapidly

SYMPTOMS

  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes — the main sign of infant jaundice — usually appears between the second and fourth day after birth.

  • To check for infant jaundice, press gently on your baby's forehead or nose. If the skin looks yellow where you pressed, it's likely your baby has mild jaundice. If your baby doesn't have jaundice, the skin color should simply look slightly lighter than its normal color for a moment.

  • Examine your baby in good lighting conditions, preferably in natural daylight.

RISK-FACTOR

  • Premature birth. A baby born before 38 weeks of gestation may not be able to process bilirubin as quickly as full-term babies do. Premature babies also may feed less and have fewer bowel movements, resulting in less bilirubin eliminated through stool.

  • Significant bruising during birth. Newborns who become bruised during delivery gets bruises from the delivery may have higher levels of bilirubin from the breakdown of more red blood cells.

  • Blood type. If the mother's blood type is different from her baby's, the baby may have received antibodies through the placenta that cause abnormally rapid breakdown of red blood cells.

  • Breast-feeding. Breast-fed babies, particularly those who have difficulty nursing or getting enough nutrition from breast-feeding, are at higher risk of jaundice. Dehydration or a low caloric intake may contribute to the onset of jaundice. However, because of the benefits of breast-feeding, experts still recommend it. It's important to make sure your baby gets enough to eat and is adequately hydrated.

  • Race. Studies show that babies of East Asian ancestry have an increased risk of developing jaundice.

COMPLICATION

High levels of bilirubin that cause severe jaundice can result in serious complications if not treated.

Acute bilirubin encephalopathy

Bilirubin is toxic to cells of the brain. If a baby has severe jaundice, there's a risk of bilirubin passing into the brain, a condition called acute bilirubin encephalopathy. Prompt treatment may prevent significant lasting damage.

Signs of acute bilirubin encephalopathy in a baby with jaundice include:

  • Listlessness

  • Difficulty waking

  • High-pitched crying

  • Poor sucking or feeding

  • Backward arching of the neck and body

  • Fever

Kernicterus

Kernicterus is the syndrome that occurs if acute bilirubin encephalopathy causes permanent damage to the brain. Kernicterus may result in:

  • Involuntary and uncontrolled movements (athetoid cerebral palsy)

  • Permanent upward gaze

  • Hearing loss

  • Improper development of tooth enamel

HOMOEOPATHIC THERAPEUTICS

Lupulus – Effective among Homeopathic medicines for jaundice in newborns or neonatal jaundice

Lupulus is one of the most effective Homeopathic medicines for jaundice in newborns, also known as neonatal jaundice. Lupulus is also a tested Homeopathic medicine for infantile jaundice. The symptoms to look out for are yellow pigmentation of the skin and a slow pulse.

Chelidonium & chelone – Top Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with pain in  liver

The most prescribed Homeopathic medicines for jaundice where it is accompanied by pain in the liver are Chelone and Chelidonium. Homeopathic medicine Chelidonium is recommended where the symptoms include yellow pigmented skin, especially for constant pain under the inferior angle of the right scapula. The white of the eye (sclera) appears dirty yellow. Other symptoms include a yellow tongue, imprints of teeth and a bitter taste in the mouth. Chelone is one of the most effective Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with pain and soreness in the liver. The pain extending downwards from the left lobe of the liver is also treated well with Homeopathic medicine Chelone.

Leptandra and Nux Vomica – Best Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with diarrhoea

Natural and safe, Leptandra and Nux Vomica are two well recognised Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with diarrhoea. Leptandra is prescribed in jaundice cases with profuse clay coloured, fetid stool. The person experiences severe pain at the umbilicus. Symptoms that merit prescription of Nux Vomica as the best suited among Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with diarrhoea are pale or yellowish coloured skin, a yellow tongue, incomplete and unsatisfactory stools.

Phosphorus and China – Top rated Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with great weakness

Top rated Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with great weakness are Phosphorus and China. China is one of the most prescribed among Homeopathic medicines for jaundice with great weakness and exhaustion. Liver weakness due to alcohol or poor diet is also treated well with China. Phosphorus works best for jaundice with great weakness and a pale, sickly complexion. The person feels especially weak after passing stool.

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