DefinitionGilbert syndrome is a genetic liver disorder. It causes levels of bilirubin to rise above normal levels. Bilirubin is a yellow chemical by-product of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the red pigment in blood cells that is usually excreted by the liver as bile.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesGilbert syndrome is usually caused by an inherited genetic abnormality. Symptoms occur when there is an interference with the liver enzyme that is important in the elimination of bilirubin. This causes the levels of bilirubin to increase in the blood, which may produce symptoms such as jaundice.
Risk FactorsGilbert syndrome is more common in males, and in those with a family history.
SymptomsOften, there are no symptoms of Gilbert syndrome. However, people who do have symptoms may experience:
- Yellowing of the skin known as jaundice
- Jaundice of the whites of the eyes
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Darkening of the urine
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Reticulocyte count
- Total and direct bilirubin
- Liver function tests
TreatmentNo treatment is necessary for Gilbert syndrome. Usually, symptoms come and go.
PreventionThere is no way to prevent Gilbert syndrome. However, you may prevent symptoms by avoiding the following:
- Skipping meals or fasting
- Vigorous exercise
- Repeated bouts of vomiting
- Stress or trauma
American Liver Foundation
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Liver Foundation
Gilbert syndrome. American Liver Foundationwebsite. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/gilbertsyndrome. Updated October 4, 2011. Accessed May 30, 2013.
Gilbert syndrome. Genetics Home Reference website. Available at: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/gilbert-syndrome. Updated February 2012. Accessed May 30, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015
- Update Date: 03/18/2013
Many medical groups felt that early exposure to certain foods like peanuts increased a child's risk of developing food allergies. However, newer research including this trial suggest that early exposure may actually decrease the risk of developing food allergies.
Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
Research Review Finds Little Support for Nearly Half of Medical Talk Show Recommendations