Your health care provider may suspect Gilbert syndrome if you have unexplained jaundice or if the level of bilirubin is elevated in your blood. Other symptoms that suggest Gilbert syndrome as well as a number of other liver conditions include dark urine and abdominal pain.
To rule out more-common liver conditions, your health care provider may order a complete blood count and liver function tests.
The combination of standard blood counts and liver enzymes with an elevated bilirubin level is an indicator of Gilbert syndrome. No other testing usually is needed, although genetic testing can confirm the diagnosis.
Gilbert syndrome doesn't require treatment. The bilirubin levels in your blood may fluctuate over time. You may occasionally have jaundice, which usually resolves on its on with no ill effects.
Certain life events, such as stress, can trigger episodes of higher bilirubin levels in Gilbert syndrome, leading to jaundice. Taking steps to manage those situations can help keep bilirubin levels under control.
These steps include:
- Make sure your health care providers know you have Gilbert syndrome. Because Gilbert syndrome affects the way your body processes certain medications, every provider 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 health care provider, including:
- Is my bilirubin level significantly elevated?
- Should I have my bilirubin level tested again?
- Could Gilbert syndrome cause my signs and symptoms?
- Could the medications I'm taking for other conditions worsen Gilbert syndrome?
- Can Gilbert 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 syndrome?
Jul 01, 2022
- Feldman M, et al., eds. Jaundice. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 11th ed. Elsevier; 2021. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 1, 2022.
- Ferri FF. Gilbert syndrome. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2023. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 1, 2022.
- Gilbert syndrome. American Liver Foundation. https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/gilbert-syndrome/. Accessed May 31, 2022.
- Chowdhury JR, et al. Gilbert's syndrome and unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia due to bilirubin overproduction. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 1, 2022.