Neonatal Jaundice: What It Is, Causes and How to Treat It

Neonatal Jaundice Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Hyperbilirubinemia of the newborn, also known as neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, is a disorder that emerges in the early days of a baby’s life and is caused by an excess of bilirubin in the blood, which causes the skin to turn yellow.

Hyperbilirubinemia can affect any kid, and the most common reasons include changes in liver function, blood problems such as hemolytic anemia, liver diseases caused by infections or hereditary diseases, or even nursing reactions.

Treatment with phototherapy is the most often used method for lowering the level of bilirubin in the blood. Medication or blood transfusions may be required in some circumstances, as determined by the physician.

Because the placenta completed this role before delivery, the newborn is unable to efficiently remove bilirubin, which is produced by metabolizing the blood. The following are the most common causes of infant hyperbilirubinemia:

1. Physiological Jaundice

The most frequent type of jaundice occurs between 24 and 36 hours after delivery and occurs because the baby’s liver is underdeveloped and may have difficulty converting and removing bilirubin from the blood through bile. With phototherapy and sun exposure, this change normally goes away within a few days.

Treatment: Fluorescent light phototherapy is effective in lowering bilirubin levels in the blood. Sun exposure may suffice in moderate cases, but in the most severe situations, a blood transfusion or medication like phenobarbital may be required for the best results.

2. Breast Milk Jaundice

This sort of bilirubin elevation can occur 10 days after delivery in certain exclusively breastfed babies, due to an increase in hormones or compounds in the blood that enhance bilirubin reabsorption in the gut and make it difficult to remove, despite the fact that the specific form is unknown.

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Treatment: Phototherapy can be used to lower the levels of jaundice in the blood in situations of more severe jaundice, although breastfeeding should not be stopped unless directed by a doctor. Around the second or third month of a baby’s life, jaundice goes away on its own.

3. Blood Diseases

Some disorders, such as autoimmune or genetic abnormalities, might cause the newborn to accumulate bilirubin, which can be dangerous and manifest in the first few hours after birth. Spherocytosis, thalassemia, and incompatibility with the mother’s blood are some of the disorders, but the most common is hemolytic disease of the infant, also called erythroblastosis fetalis.

Treatment consists of blood transfusions and, in some situations, drugs to modulate immunity in addition to phototherapy to manage the quantity of bilirubin in the blood.

4. Liver Diseases

Changes in liver function can be present at birth due to a variety of factors, including bile duct malformations, cystic fibrosis, congenital rubella, congenital hypothyroidism, viral or bacterial infections, or genetic diseases such And/or lower syndrome, Gilber disease, and Gaucher disease.

Treatment: To reduce blood hyperbilirubinemia, treatments are provided in conjunction with phototherapy to improve the disease that produced the increase in bilirubin, such as antibiotic treatment, surgery to rectify liver anomalies or hormone replacement. For instance, hypothyroidism.

Excess bilirubin in the baby’s body can cause major consequences, including brain intoxication known as kernicterus, which causes deafness, convulsions, coma, and death. Treatment to reduce the body’s greatly increased bilirubin, notable phototherapy, must be done soon after diagnosis of the change.

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