Gilbert’s Syndrome

What is Gilbert's Syndrome?

Gilbert’s Syndrome (GS) is an inherent disease of the liver. It is a harmless genetic condition in which the liver enzyme (the protein molecule) becomes abnormal and cannot properly process bilirubin (waste due to worn out-red blood cells). It is generally due to a reduced number of chemicals in the liver. People with this disease experience elevated levels of bilirubin pigment, which may lead to yellowing of eyes and skin. It is a genetic condition and is examined when you take a blood test and that reveals high bilirubin levels. 


Symptoms of GS are not clearly identified in elevated levels of bilirubin. Most of the people don’t come to a realisation of having it, because the bilirubin levels mostly stay within normal limits and rarely rise – that too slightly, to an extent that is tolerable. However, substances that are glucuronidated by the affected enzymes could cause symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain and itching without rashes


The only cause of Gilbert’s Syndrome is an abnormal gene from either parent. It affects the liver and gives birth to an excessive amount of bilirubin. A gene in the liver controls enzyme which breaks down the bilirubin. A person with an abnormal gene stores a large amount of bilirubin. The syndrome is caused by:

  • Lack or deficiency of the uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase enzyme or UGT.
  • A change of the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase gene – a faulty gene.


The main risk factors of this disease are:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness


Gilbert’s Syndrome cannot be prevented as it is inherited, However, the following can help control the symptoms:

  • Balanced diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid junk food

How is it diagnosed?

Gilbert’s Syndrome usually has no symptoms and can cause mild jaundice. Mild but prolonged jaundice can be a cause of worry as it increases the chances of serious liver disorders.


How is it treated?

Gilbert’s Syndrome does not require major treatment, as it isn't a serious condition. Patients are known to have normal life expectancy and healthy lifestyles without treatment. In specific cases, however, jaundice can be managed by a balanced d..

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