Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects Gilbert's syndrome because you have unexplained jaundice or blood tests for other conditions show elevated bilirubin levels, he or she will examine you and ask about symptoms of liver disease, such as abdominal pain or dark urine.

Your doctor may recommend more blood tests to rule out other liver problems that can cause elevated bilirubin. Common blood tests include:

  • Complete blood count
  • Liver function tests

The combination of normal blood and liver function tests and elevated bilirubin levels is an indicator of Gilbert's syndrome. No other testing usually is needed, although genetic testing can confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Gilbert's syndrome doesn't require treatment. The bilirubin levels in your blood may fluctuate over time, and you may occasionally have jaundice, which usually resolves on its on with no ill effects.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Certain life events, such as stress, can trigger episodes of higher bilirubin levels in Gilbert's syndrome, leading to jaundice. Managing those situations can help keep bilirubin under control.

These steps include:

  • Make sure your doctors know you have Gilbert's syndrome. Because Gilbert's syndrome affects the way your body processes certain medications, every doctor you visit needs to know about the condition.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid extremely low-calorie diets. Stick to a routine eating schedule, and avoid fasting or skipping meals.
  • Manage stress. Find ways to deal with the stresses in your life, such as exercise, meditation or listening to music.

Preparing for your appointment

Before your appointment, you might want to jot down questions to ask your doctor, including:

  • Is my bilirubin level significantly elevated?
  • Should I have my bilirubin level tested again?
  • Could Gilbert's syndrome cause my signs and symptoms?
  • Could the medications I'm taking for other conditions worsen Gilbert's syndrome?
  • Can Gilbert's syndrome cause complications or lead to liver damage?
  • Do I have a higher risk of gallstones?
  • Is there anything I can do to maintain a low bilirubin level?
  • Is jaundice harmful?
  • How likely is it that my children will inherit Gilbert's syndrome?
July 02, 2015
References
  1. Chowdhury JR, et al. Gilbert's syndrome and unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia due to bilirubin overproduction. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2015.
  2. Gilbert syndrome. Genetics Home Reference. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/gilbert-syndrome. Accessed March 11, 2015.
  3. Gilbert syndrome. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/gilbertsyndrome/. Accessed March 11, 2015.
  4. Wittenberg H. Hereditary liver disease: Gallstones. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology. 2010;24:747.