DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Jaundice. Gallstones are hard, pebble-like deposits that form inside the gallbladder. In this case, the gallstones have blocked the bile ducts, decreasing the flow of bile from the liver into the intestines. As bile is the route of excretion for the yellow-brown pigment bilirubin (created by breakdown of red blood cells), the pigment builds up in body tissues, causing yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes. Jaundice is not a disease in itself, but is a symptom of many disorders of the liver and biliary system. Treatment is aimed at correcting the underlying cause.
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