To understand jaundice, there’s another word you need to know: bilirubin (say: bih-lih-ROO-bin). Bilirubin comes from the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Usually, your liver does a great job of getting rid of bilirubin.
But sometimes the liver can’t break down the bilirubin fast enough. When that happens, a person gets jaundice. Doctors can tell when people have jaundice because the whites of their eyes and even their skin turn yellow.