You have just had your urine tests done and your doctor informed you that there is urobilinogen in your urine. You may have never heard about that before and have no idea if you should be worried or not.
The presence of urobilinogen in your urine may tell you a lot about the state of your health, especially about the condition of your liver. Sometimes, it’s in your urine only as a result of medicines you have taken recently, however, it may also be a sign of some more serious medical condition.
Read the article and find out what urobilinogen exactly is, how it can be tested, and what its levels may tell you about your health.
What Is Urobilinogen
Urobilinogen forms as a by-product of bilirubin. Bilirubin, on the other hand, is a yellowish compound that can be found in your liver and its task is to break down your red blood cells. It’s absolutely normal that there is some urobilinogen in your urine. What’s more, if no or very little urobilinogen can be found in your urine, it’s a clear sign that there is something wrong with your liver too.
However, If the level of urobilinogen in your urine is too high, it may also be a sign of some more serious liver diseases. That is why it is very important to have a urine test done on a regular basis, at least once a year. A urine test is also known as chemical urinalysis, urine analysis, or UA.
How Is Urobilinogen Tested
If everything is fine with your health state, you may not even be aware that you had the level of urobilinogen tested as it is usually part of a typical urine test, which apart from urobilinogen, measures also chemicals and cells in your urine. A urine test is usually a part of a routine check-up.
Your doctor will also order you urobilinogen test if he wants to check the state of your liver or when he suspects any liver diseases, based on some typical symptoms. For example, a urobilinogen test is recommended when you suffer from itchy skin, unexplained abdominal pain or swelling, nausea and vomiting, dark color of your urine, or your skin and eyes turn yellow and there is a suspicion of jaundice.
In order to test your urine, you will be asked to bring a sample of your urine to your health provider. You will be given special instructions, which are known as “clean catch method”. It is very important to follow all the steps as otherwise you may contaminate the sample and the test result won’t be reliable.
Start with washing your hands thoroughly, then clean your genital area with a special pad that your health provider gave you. Start urinating into the toilet as usually, but place the collection container under the urine stream.
There are usually markings on the containers, which show you the amount of the urine, but just an ounce or two will be enough for the test. Close the container and finish urinating into the toilet. Take the sample to your health provider and that’s it.
For the most reliable results, take the sample of your urine in the morning, when you haven’t eaten for a few hours and you are still before breakfast. The urine test is quick and there aren’t any risks connected with it.
Interestingly, you can also measure the urobilinogen level in urine on your own at home. In the market you will find different test stripes. You simply dip the strip of P-dimethylamino benzaldehyde in a sample of your urine. If the color of the strip remains unchanged, it means that everything is ok. However, if it changes its color into pink, it’s a sign that some change in your urobilinogen has occurred.
Remember, though, that this kind of test is not always accountable so don’t panic if your strip turned pink. At this moment, it’s only a sign for you that you should go to a doctor to have more reliable tests done.
How to Understand The Urobilinogen Measurement Readings
A healthy, normal level of urobilinogen should be less than 17 umol/l (<1mg/dl). Therefore, everything which is between 0 – 8 mg/dl is considered to be healthy in medical terms.
An extremely low level of urobilinogen in your urine or no urobilinogen at all may suggest a failure in bile production or a blockage of bile ducts. Sometimes it happens that the level of urobilinogen in you urine decreases due to the antibiotics as they have a huge impact on your intestine.
High level of urobilinogen is much more dangerous as it may indicate serious liver diseases, such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
What Are The Symptoms of Urobilinogen Abnormalities
You may be wondering when, apart from a regular check-up, you should measure the level of urobilinogen in your urine. For sure, the sign which should be examined is a sudden and unexplained change in the color of your urine or stool. When urobilinogen is present in your urine, your urine may become dark. Urobilinogen gives a dark color to your stool so if the level of this substance is too low, your stools may become pale.