ULUNDI:3E, a yellow color of the skin and conjunctiva of the eye, arising from the presence of the coloring matter of the bile in the blood and tissues, is a symptom of various disordered conditions of the system,•rather than a special disease.
With this coloring of the skin and eyes the following symptoms are associated: the fmces are of a grayish or dirty-white tint, in consequence of the absence of bile, and the urine is of the color of the saffron, or is even as dark as porter, in consequence of 'the presence of the coloring matter of the bile. There is sometimes, but not iu the major ity of cases, an extreme itching of the skin. It is a popular belief, as old as the time of Lucretius Lurida prteterea taunt quwcunque tuentur arquati t lint to a jaundiced eye everything appears yellow. This, however, like the preceding, only an occasional symptom.
Tue most obvious cause of jaundice is some obstruction in the gall-ducts, preventing the normal flow of bile into the intestine. This obstruction may arise in any of the fol lowing ways: 1. It may be caused by the impaction of a gall-stone in the common hepatic duct. Sec LIVER. In this case, the jaundice is usually of short duration, and disappears soon after the gall-stone has passed into the intestine: 2. Another cause of jaundice is the obstruction of the gall-ducts by cancerous disease of the head of the pans (Teas, by tumors in the liver, or by a diseased condition of the duodenum, the portion of small intestine into which the common hepatic duct opens. In these cases, the obstruction is usually permanent, and causes a persistence of the jaundice. 3. Obstruc
tion or closure of the gall-ducts sometimes occurs in the inflammation of the liver that is brought on by spirit-drinking. and sometimes may be caused by inflammation origi nating in the ducts themselves, which, from their small size, may be readily closed up by the inflammatory swelling of their mucous membrane. 4. The jaundice that occasion ally rises from constipation, or that occurs during the advanced stage of pregnancy, is probably caused by pressure upon the common hepatic duct.
But although jaundice is frequently caused by some of these mechanical impedi ments to the flow of bile into the intestine, it results primarily and solely in a great num ber of cases from the secretion of bile being suppressed or deficient. The secretion may be suppressed so as to cause jaundice by a sudden mental shock or by continued anxiety. Various poisons in the blood may also suspend the secretion of bile to such an extent as to cause jaundice. It may be produced in this way by the salts of copper and of mer cury, by opium, and by the poison of serpents; and it often occurs from the poisoned state of the blood in the course of fevers, especially the virulent fevers of tropical cli mates.
The prognosis in jaundice is generally favorable. except when it depends upon struc tural disease of the liver, or on mental anxiety. The treatment must be chiefly guided by reference to the conditions which give rise to it in any particular case, and should never be Attempted without professional advice.