Gilbert's Syndrome

Gilbert's syndrome is an inherited (genetic) liver disorder that affects the body’s ability to process bilirubin. Bilirubin is yellow liquid waste that occurs naturally as the body breaks down old red blood cells.

Causes of Gilbert’s Syndrome

  • A healthy UGT1A1 gene makes liver enzymes that break down bilirubin and remove it from the body.

  • People with a mutated UGT1A1 gene only make about 30% of the enzymes they need.

  • As a result, bilirubin doesn’t move into bile the way it should.

  • The excess bilirubin builds up in blood.

Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome

  • Dark-colored urine or clay-colored stool.

  • Difficulty concentrating.

  • Dizziness.

  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea.

  • Fatigue.

  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever and chills.

  • Loss of appetite.

Diagnosis of Gilbert’s Syndrome

  • As a genetic condition, Gilbert’s syndrome is present at birth.

  • It often remains undiagnosed until blood tests detect high bilirubin levels.

  • Diagnosis most commonly occurs when people are in their teens or early adulthood and getting blood tests for something else.

Liver function tests

Liver function tests to assess how well your liver is working and measure bilirubin levels.

Genetic tests

Genetic tests to check for the gene mutation that causes Gilbert’s syndrome.

Treatment of Gilbert’s Syndrome

Jaundice can cause a yellowish appearance that may be unsettling. However, jaundice and Gilbert’s syndrome don’t require treatment.

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