Causes. Jaundice is caused by liver problems that can be a result of many different conditions. The first one to know about is hepatitis, which is contagious. It destroys the liver’s ability to function properly, so toxins and bilirubin quickly build up in the body. Alcoholism can cause liver damage too, especially in men because they process alcohol mainly through their liver. Women are not as susceptible to liver damage from alcohol because their body processes it with their stomach. Sometimes, the problem is liver cancer or a genetic condition though.