Gilbert syndrome – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Gilbert syndrome was first discovered by French gastroenterologist Nicolas Gilbert in 1901.

Common Names

  1.     Constitutional liver dysfunctions
  2.     Nonhemolytic jaundice
  3.     Nonobstructive jaundice
  4.     Chronic hyperbilirubinemia
  5.     Unconjugated bilirubinemia
  6.     Familial benign Unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia


It is a light genetic syndrome in which a substance is processed by the liver is known as bilirubin. Bilirubin has an orange-yellow color is produced when erythrocytes are disintegrated. Those individuals who have Gilbert syndrome have a high level of bilirubin because in them the enzymes required to minimize the bilirubin level are less in number.

It can make your skin and eyes look yellow from time to time. It is possible to remove bilirubin from the body only when its goo throws the chemical reaction in the liver cells which convert the toxic form of bilirubin and Unconjugated bilirubin into a non-toxic type known as conjugated bilirubin.

In the case of affected individuals, the level of bilirubin changed hardly to a great level in the individual body which cause jaundice in them. It is more common in men than in women. In our population, the individuals who have Gilbert’s syndrome are about 3 -7 percent of the total population.

As a recessive trait of autosome, it is inherited from parents to offspring. In Gilbert syndrome, the level of unconjugated bilirubin is high in RBCs. Mostly; it is not serious importance of Gilbert syndrome. In conditions for example stress, fasting, infection and exertion only mild jaundice appear. Eventually, it has no symptoms.

A type of Gilbert’s syndrome called neon jaundice is present in cases of very badly destroyed red blood cells due to Gilbert syndrome. If it is not treated in time, it is dangerous to us, the irreversible neurological disability is caused by a high bilirubin level. Gilbert syndrome is also known as heel-bare or hyperbilirubinemia. Some studies show it is as high as 13 percent. But it is not harmful and it does not need treatment l. It can cause only some minor problems.  


These are the following causes of high bilirubin level;

Hemolytic anemia: when red blood cells are destroyed due to high bilirubin level.

Cholestasis: The flow of bilirubin from the liver is interrupted and bilirubin stays in the liver. This can be caused due to liver cancer and acute or chronic liver infections.

Cigler-Najjar syndrome: These specific enzymes for processing the bilirubin, because they boast in the bilirubin level in the bloodstream, are inherited from Gilbert syndrome.

During Johnson syndrome: It is also a type of Gilbert’s syndrome which is inherited, causes chronic jaundice of the liver and allows the strict excretion of conjugated bilirubin from the liver cells.

Bile duct infection:  This is associated with the gallstones but also causes the infection in the bile duct, gallbladder and pancreatic cancer. This is also known as cholangitis which may be acute or chronic.

Infection in the liver: This is related to alcohol drinking, viral infection, fatty liver or prescribed drugs.

Pseudo jaundice: It is a harmless form of jaundice by the effect of beta carotene which causes yellowing of the skin. The excess of bilirubin is reduced by eating pumpkins, melons and a lot of carrots.

Risk of occurrence of bilirubin

As Gilbert syndrome is an inherited disease, the symptoms are not seen until puberty is attained because the production of bilirubin starts after puberty is achieved. We have a good risk of occurrence of Gilbert syndrome if both the parents of the individual transfer the mutant gene UGT1A1 to the offspring.


Gilbert syndrome does not sometimes cause noticeable symptoms. About 30 percent of patients with Gilbert syndrome have no symptoms. Some patients of Gilbert syndrome do not know throughout their life that they suffer from Gilbert syndrome. Because it is not diagnosed until adulthood is attained.

When its symptoms are present, these may include;

  •         Yellowish skin
  •         White parts in eyes
  •         Nausea
  •         Diarrhea
  •         Discomfort abdominal part
  •         Fatigue
  •         Mild weaknesses
  •         Heartburn
  •         Dark color urine

If you have Gilbert syndrome, you may observe these symptoms more if you use things that can cause an increase in your bilirubin level, such as :

  •         Illness
  •         Stress
  •         Dehydration
  •         Infection
  •         Menstruation
  •         Fasting
  •         Lack of sleep

If jaundice noticeable phenobarbital may be used, If we intake it in low concentration, it will decrease the bilirubin level in red blood cells.


The normal levels of bilirubin which possess the enzymes that are responsible for the Gilbert syndrome can also raise the ill effects of some medicines. Some enzymes also play a great role in the elimination of these cure instruments from our body parts. These areas follow:

  •         Niacin
  •         Rifampin
  •         Use of protease inhibitors (treatment of HIV)
  •         Irinotecan (a chemotherapy medication)

A patient has Gilbert syndrome. It should be necessary for him to visit his doctor earlier to take new medications. The new medications have some other situations that are related to gallstones development by the destruction of red blood cells.


Your doctor might test you for Gilbert syndrome if they notice jaundice with other signs or symptoms of a liver problem.  Even if you do not have jaundice our doctor may notice a high level of bilirubin during a routine liver function blood test. If high-level water-soluble bilirubin is detected in tests but some diagnoses are normal. We test the follows;

  • Ultrasound of the liver
  • Abdomen CT SCAN
  • Abdomen and gallbladder nuclear scan
  • Abdomen MRI
  • Duodenum endoscopic diagnosis
  • Fasting of a day to observe high bilirubin level


Veterans aging cohort study participants with high levels of bilirubin have much more chances of occurrence of cardiovascular disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke for the adjustment of dangerous points.

Coming knowledgeable studies would interrogate how the effect of high bilirubin level forced to lower the chance of occurrence of cardiovascular disease among HIV positive individuals. In this study, we demonstrate the level of bilirubin individuals with HIV positive to calculate the effect of how the danger of cardiovascular disease is present in the individuals of this population and also a descriptive study of intake of medicine atazanavir, and its effects.

These studies are confirmed by the interrogation of several individuals participating in the diagnosis with HIV negative of different ages, opposite sexes and ethnicity matched HIV. The antagonistic relationship between cardiovascular disease and elevated bilirubin level is found only in a specific basic normal physiological value. We find out that some people have Gilbert diseases, have heart diseases, few have cardiovascular disease and others have liver dysfunctions.


It is described that a man has HIV positive, he has more chances of cardiovascular disease then the people whose HIV test is negative. This is fixed for each condition of the danger. The medicines increase the Risks factor used by inflammations.

Some further research should be required to illuminate the role of bilirubin, a Biomarker for some different inflammation categories and calculate their numbers among the patients of HIV +I’ve. Some more prognostic information is provided by bilirubin on morbidity and mortality danger counter.

Drugs Detoxification

Gilbert syndrome UDP glucuronosyltransferases these enzymes, A1 peptide is the reason for the Detoxification of drugs in the liver cells. Eggs are the most regularly affected places in patients of Gilbert syndrome with jaundice.

There might be darkening of urine color. This is especially seen in the first-morning urine. Darkening of urine is a common character of viral hepatitis. Many patients with Gilbert syndrome might not have dark color urine and have normal straw color urine.

Gene testing

There is no need for treatment of Gilbert syndrome but if the patient does not have other harsh conditions.  A high level of Unconjugated bilirubin in the bloodstream is responsible for diagnosis. The genetic test is not needed. When we test this disease by adding a dye to blood sample, conjugated bilirubin is associated with dyes as well as color changes.

Unconjugated bilirubin is hydrophobic, when alcohol is added to the solution, it changes the color. The conjugated form of bilirubin is known as indirect bilirubin as well as the direct bilirubin is also called Unconjugated bilirubin. In men having Gilbert syndrome, the hepatic bilirubin glucuronidation ease is approximately 30 percent lower than the normal bilirubin level of our body.


The Preventions of Gilbert syndrome is impossible because this is a genetically transferred syndrome. Some collections are removed to proceed with a stable lifestyle.  To reduce severe jaundice. We have to remove the following;

  • Heavy work out
  • Alcohol drinking
  • Irregular sleep periods
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety

Infection illness is cured to remove complications. Individuals having Gilbert syndrome have to take a well-balanced diet, drink more water, fruits juices as well as use low levels of sugar. And these safety measures are impossible if it is genetically transferred.

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