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Question:
I had contacted jaundice 2 months ago. What are the dietary restrictions reqd. and for how long do they continue?
AA
Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry Jaundice is a description - yellowing of the skin - and it's important to know the underlying diagnosis i.e. cause, before we know what treatment (if any, other than "time") is required. There are three types of jaundice: 'hemolytic' jaundice due to excessive destruction of red blood cells resulting in increased circulating bilirubin pigment; 'obstructive' jaundice due to blockage of bile normally passed into the small intestine from the liver; and 'hepatocellular' jaundice due to damage to liver cells, by toxic substances such as alcohol and other chemicals - or drugs - or by infection (usually viral). All three initially present much the same way, by yellow discoloration of the skin and sclera ('whites of the eyes'). When liver cells are temporarily (as in hepatitis A) or permanently (as in alcoholic cirrhosis) damaged and replaced by scar tissue, the damaged liver cannot process and dispose of bilirubin - a product of the breakdown of red blood cells - effectively, so the pigment backs up into the bloodstream and "stains" the skin yellow. The liver normally detoxifies all manner of substances, and when the ability of the liver to do so is impaired, it's important to reduce as much as possible the load on the remaining cells by not challenging them with too many toxins. Alcohol is the single biggest dietary factor both in damaging the liver and in the presence of liver damage - until your liver function tests return to normal AND for at least 3 months after that AND ONLY when your doctor tells you it is safe to have a glass again, it's not safe to have even a glass, if you see what I mean... Many people advise an initial "juice diet" (all-liquid) for 2-3 days followed by an all-fruit diet for the first week. This does not load the liver - but in people unused to it may cause diarrhoea. Apples, pears, grapes, oranges, and pineapples, but not bananas are usually advised. Thereafter resume a simple diet but avoid fats initially and re-introduce them gradually after the second week. A light carbohydrate-based diet is best. If your jaundice was caused by drugs - for example, prescription drugs can cause jaundice - please discuss again with your doctor. Hope this helps.
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