I'm worried about having bilirubin in my urine

May 8, 2013

Bilirubin is a physiological product of red blood cells. It is a waste product that is produced by the liver from the hemoglobin of RBCs that are removed from circulation. It is metabolized in the liver and excreted into the bile ducts. It becomes a component of bile, a fluid that is secreted into the intestines to aid in food digestion. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that causes jaundice and dark yellow colored urine when present in increased amounts. Some people normally have higher bilirubin in their blood. This is known as Gilbert's disease. So their urine will naturally have more bilirubin.

The liver is the site of bile formation. Bile contains bile salts, fatty acids, cholesterol, bilirubin, and other compounds. The components of bile are synthesized and secreted into bile ducts within the liver itself and bile is then sent to the small intestine.

There are many causes of bilirubin in urine:

  • Blockage of bile ducts due to gall stones
  • Infection
  • Decreased conjugation.

Under such circumstances, the bile will back up into the liver and the bilirubin will be released into the blood. The kidneys filter the blood and can show that the bilirubin is there. Any urologist, with the help of an ultrasound or CT scan, would be able to view the entire biliary area and the ducts.

It is not usual for bilirubin to be present in the urine, which otherwise indicates a problem with either the liver or the red blood cells. The liver and red blood cells can both be affected by many temporary disease processes, including infections.

The normal peak level is around 1.2 mg/dl and beyond that you start being in the elevated range. Bilirubin is built of two parts:

  • Conjugated (direct bilirubin), and
  • Unconjugated (indirect).

If direct bilirubin is elevated usually over 2, then there may be some kind of blockage of the liver or bile duct, pointing directly to liver problems. If the indirect bilirubin is increased, hemolysis may be the cause.

Usually, three types of tests are often used to detect liver disease to measure the levels of specific enzymes, bilirubin, or protein present as part of assessing the liver function which are:

  • Total bilirubin, which measures all the bilirubin in the blood (direct + indirect).
  • Conjugated or direct bilirubin measures a form produced in the liver.
  • Un-conjugated or indirect bilirubin measures an indirect form of bilirubin that was not converted to the conjugated form in the liver.

A variation in the ratios of direct and indirect bilirubin is an early indicator of liver disease and can occur before clinical symptoms such as jaundice develop.

Submitted by M T on May 8, 2013 at 01:59

What are the normal bilirubin levels in urine?

A bilirubin blood test is performed in order to identify the level of the substance present in a sample of blood. Bilirubin in essentially a yellowish substance that is present in the bile, that results from the breakdown of red blood cells in the body. Under normal conditions within the body, the bilirubin is expelled by the process of excretion. Bilirubin is produced by the liver, therefore performing a bilirubin blood test helps identify and gauge the performance of the liver as well as diagnose a number of underlying medical conditions. For instance, high bilirubin levels in urine or simply normal bilirubin levels in urine can identify if a person is suffering from gallstone problems, hemolytic anemia or hemolytic disease of the newborn.

In order to prepare for a medical test that gauges elevated bilirubin levels in urine, you must inform the doctor about any medications that are being taken as well as any allergies present. In case you are pregnant, you should bring it to the notice of the doctor. A bilirubin test can be performed through a heel stick method as well as through a blood sampling. The heel stick method is more commonly used on newborns and very young children while the sample from the vein method is more common amongst adults.

Submitted by N on November 14, 2011 at 10:32

What causes bilirubin in urine?

You would often wonder the major causes of bilirubin in urine or in the blood. Bilirubin is primarily a product of the breakdown of red blood cells by the liver. Elevated bilirubin in urine causes include a malfunction of the liver - resulting in the kidneys performing the filtration responsibilities and therefore causing the bilirubin to be removed through the urine.

Because of the fact that bilirubin in urine causes are usually indicative of liver problems, some tests on the liver will usually need to be performed. Testing for elevated bilirubin levels in the urine require you to collect urine samples over a 24 hour period. The urine samples must be stored in refrigeration and the doctor will take a random sample to perform the test upon.

Liver cirrhosis is also one of the most common elevated bilirubin in urine causes in most people. The condition is primarily caused by a very excessive intake of alcohol, autoimmune disorders as well as infection from hepatitis C. Some of the other symptoms that a patient is likely to experience when suffering from bilirubin in urine include significant weight loss, swelling of the legs as well as severe abdominal pains. This condition is extremely serious and should be medically treated as soon as possible.

Submitted by N on November 7, 2011 at 03:47

How to test for bilirubin in urine?

Bilirubin is primarily a yellowish colored product that is the result of the breakdown of red blood cells within the liver. Under normal circumstances, this pigment is flushed out of the system through the large intestines and then the colon. However, in cases of liver damage or malfunctioning of the liver the body appoints the kidneys to perform the blood filtration process which results in the bilirubin being present in the urine. A bilirubin in urine test is performed in order to gauge the level of bilirubin content present in the urine. This will usually help gauge the extent to which the liver has been affected.

Bilirubin in urine tests strips are easily available over the counter at local medical stores and allow you to conduct the test at home. For a laboratory test for bilirubin in urine you need to collect samples of the urine over a period of 24 hours, during which the urine will be stored in a refrigerated environment. The next day the technician or presiding doctor will choose a random sample on which to perform the laboratory test and ascertain the level of bilirubin presence in the urine. Given the fact that the causes of bilirubin in urine are usually rather serious, it is important to have the condition looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Submitted by N on October 10, 2011 at 04:44

What does high bilirubin in urine mean?

Before getting into the details of what high bilirubin in urine indicates, it is important to first understand exactly what bilirubin is. Bilirubin is primarily a pigment that is the end product of the breakdown of red blood cells within the liver. The presence of high bilirubin in the body could result in kidney failure or kidney damage. Therefore it is necessary that you keep a regular check on the bilirubin levels in your body. You can be affected by different conditions in the event that your bilirubin levels go very high.

Firstly, this has a direct affect on your kidney and thus your overall health. This will also indicate that there is a problem with your liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is one of the foremost causes of elevated bilirubin in the blood. This is a result of excessive intake of alcohol, hepatitis C infection or some other autoimmune disorder. Some of the most noticeable symptoms of this include – weakness, weight loss, abdominal pain and swelling of the legs. Give the fact that bilirubin present in the urine is primarily the result of some kind of liver malfunction, it is extremely important to have it medically looked at as soon as possible.

Submitted by N on September 27, 2011 at 05:03

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