Bilirubin in urine
What does bilirubin in urine indicate?
The presence of bilirubin in urine may indicate liver disease. Bilirubin is a byproduct of the normal breakdown of the red blood cells in the body. It is found in the bile in the liver and is yellowish in color and is excreted in small amounts in the urine. An abnormal increase in the amount of bilirubin poses a great risk to the health. If there is an abnormally huge amount of bilirubin found in the urine, this would mean a very critical or serious illness of the liver. Further diagnostic tests should be undergone by the individual to better detect the real cause of the presence of bilirubin in urine.
Causes of Bilirubin in Urine
There are a number of possible causes for the presence of bilirubin in urine. Here are the most common causes:
• Blocked common bile duct – The common bile duct is where the bilirubin passes through for screening before it is transferred to the large intestines. If the common bile duct is blocked, the bilirubin cannot be screened and will not be delivered to the large intestines; instead, it will go straight to the kidneys to be excreted through the urine.
• Hepatitis – This is a more serious cause for the presence of bilirubin in urine. The liver cannot perform its functions well when one has hepatitis. Instead of delivering the bilirubin straight to the large intestines to be excreted via the colon, it is now passed through the kidneys leading to the presence of bilirubin in urine. Aside from the presence of bilirubin in urine, another indicator of hepatitis is the visible tinge of yellowish color on the tips of the fingers. And for severe cases, the yellowish hue spreads throughout the body. The yellowing of the skin is termed as jaundice.
• Other liver diseases – Other liver diseases such as cirrhosis or the scarring and damage of the liver, and toxic liver damage can also cause the presence of bilirubin in urine.
Diagnostic Tests and Treatment for bilrubin in urine
The first diagnostic test an individual would go through is the urinalysis. If an abnormally high quantity of bilirubin is present in the urine, further tests should be taken to find out if the cause of the abnormal amount of bilirubin is a problem in the liver. A blood test should be done in order to find out the true underlying cause of the presence of bilirubin in urine. Once the cause has been determined, a treatment plan that addresses the root cause should be adhered to.
If it is hepatitis A, the body normally fights off the infection by itself, so treatment involves supportive care of the patient while the individual’s immune system gets the liver back in shape. For more serious forms of hepatitis, diet treatment such as the control of protein intake should be maintained and the patient should be monitored accordingly. The final resort is liver transplant if the liver has no hope for other treatments. For a blocked bile duct, gall stones could have caused the blockage, so an operation to remove the gallstones should be arranged.
The presence of bilirubin in urine should be taken seriously. When detected, it is important to prepare oneself for treatment in order to deal with the problem promptly and avoid more problematic complications.