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Gilbert Syndrome is a common, harmless genetic condition in which a liver enzyme essential to the disposal of bilirubin (the chemical that results from the normal breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells) is abnormal. The condition has also been referred to as constitutional hepatic dysfunction and familial nonhemolytic jaundice. The enzyme abnormality in Gilbert syndrome results in mild elevations of bilirubin in the blood, particularly after starvation or dehydration.

Causes of Gilbert Syndrome

The exact cause of Gilbert's syndrome is unknown. However, researchers believe that Gilbert's syndrome may be caused by reduced activity of a particular enzyme. The reduced activity of the enzyme makes the liver less capable of processing bilirubin. Researchers do not know what causes the enzyme to function poorly.

Signs & Symptoms of Gilbert Syndrome

Usually there are no symptoms for Gilbert's syndrome. When symptoms do occur, the most common symptoms of are:

  • jaundice
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • weakness after suffering an infection

Diagnosis of Gilbert Syndrome

If your doctor believes you have Gilbert's syndrome, he will order blood tests. He will examine the blood for an increase in unconjugated bilirubin.

Treatments of Gilbert Syndrome

Gilbert's syndrome usually isn't serious and needs no treatment.

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