Diagnosis

Your doctor may suspect Gilbert's syndrome if you have unexplained jaundice or if the level of bilirubin is elevated in your blood. Other signs and symptoms that suggest Gilbert's syndrome as well as a number of other liver conditions include dark urine and abdominal pain.

To rule out more-common liver conditions, your doctor may order a complete blood count and 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. Taking steps to manage those situations can help keep bilirubin levels 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 that you have 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. Exercise, meditation and listening to music may be helpful.

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?
Aug. 23, 2018
References
  1. Chowdhury JR, et al. Gilbert's syndrome and unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia due to bilirubin overproduction. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 14, 2018.
  2. National Library of Medicine. Gilbert syndrome. Genetics Home Reference. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/gilbert-syndrome. Accessed Aug. 8, 2018.
  3. Gilbert syndrome. American Liver Foundation. https://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/gilbertsyndrome/. Accessed Aug. 14, 2018.
  4. Wittenberg H. Hereditary liver disease: Gallstones. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology. 2010;24:747.
  5. Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. March 23, 2015.