Urobilinogen in Urine – What It Is, Levels and Tests

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Babies have a low level of urobilinogen in the first weeks of their lives and that’s why they often suffer from jaundice. Its main symptom is a yellow shade of skin and eyes. When adults develop jaundice, they experience the same symptoms, but in their case the disease doesn’t go away on its own, but it requires a medical treatment.

To sum up, the symptoms which should encourage you to take urobilinogen tests include pale stools, dark urine, yellowish shade of skin and eyes, abdominal pain, itchiness of the skin, unexplained fever or tiredness, nausea, and sudden weight loss.

The Causes of Urobilinogen Abnormalities in Urine

If a urine test clearly shows that there is too much or too little urobilinogen in your urine, you don’t need to panic as the cause may be banal and easily resolved.

1.     Medicines

Medicines can change the chemical composition of our body compounds and you can usually read about it in the instruction attached to a medicine you are taking. Antibiotics are often to blame when it comes to urobilinogen level in your urine.

It happens because antibiotics reduce the number of a good type of bacteria, which take part in transforming bilirubin into urobilinogen. Moreover, ammonium chloride and vitamin C can increase the level of acidity in your urine. That, on the other hand, can lower the urobilinogen concentration in your urine.

2.     Liver Diseases

Your liver is an essential organ when it comes to the metabolic process. As a result, it takes part in processing of bilirubin. If your liver doesn’t function as it should, bilirubin may accumulate, which in consequence, will lead to the accumulation of urobilinogen.

Liver diseases include liver cancer, cirrhosis, or hepatitis. However, don’t panic if the level of urobilinogen in your urine is too high as these conditions are very serious, they develop over years, and usually cause some other worrying symptoms.

3.     Hemolysis

Bilirubin and urobilinogen are formed by your liver when it processes the content released by red blood cells when they break down. When hemolysis happens, your red blood cells break down too soon as a result of a parasite or bacterial infection.

On average your blood cells live for about 120 days. After that time they break down and new red blood cells appear. The balance between the breakdown and production of red blood cells is very delicate and if any abnormality appears in this process, it is known as hemolysis.

4.     Pernicious Anemia

The most common type of anemia occurs when your organism lacks iron. Pernicious anemia, however, appears when there is not enough folic acid and vitamin B12 in your organism. These two compounds are essential in the production of red blood cells.

When there is some deficiency of these compounds in your organism, your body lacks red blood cells and this state is known as pernicious anemia. As a consequence the production of bilirubin is increased.

5.     Congestive Heart Failure

It’s a medical condition in which your heart is not able to pump as much blood as it needs to provide proper perfusion. It means that your organs and tissues don’t get enough nutrients and oxygen to fulfill the needs of your organism.

As a consequence, your kidneys get affected and your body starts to retain fluid. As a result, you will experience the swelling of legs, ankles, and arms.

6.     Other Causes of Urobilinogen Abnormalities in Urine

Other causes include rare conditions, such as Dubin-Johnson syndrome or Rotor’s syndrome. Both of the diseases have a genetic background and they lead to the increase in the conjugated bilirubin.

Lead poisoning is also one of the causes of high urobilinogen level in your urine. We can find lead in older buildings, in which a lead-based paint was used, but air, water, or soil may also be contaminated with this chemical.

Lead is poisonous for humans and if you spend most of your time in the contaminated surrounding, lead accumulates in your body, which leads to serious health problems and life-threatening liver damage.

Crigler-Najjar syndrome is a rare inherited condition, which affects the bilirubin metabolism. That results in a high level of the compound in the blood stream. It’s very important to detect the disease in a newborn. Otherwise, it may lead to permanent brain damage.

Last but not least, bile duct obstruction or cholestasis often lead to a high level of urobilinogen in your urine. It happens, for example, as a consequence of gallstones that block the passageway.

How to Lower Urobilinogen Level in Urine

High urobilinogen level is much more common and more dangerous than an extremely low level. High levels of urobilinogen in your urine should always be checked by your doctor, who will find the cause of it.

However, you can and should support the medical treatment offered by your doctor with dietary changes that can additionally decrease the level of urobilinogen in your urine.

Urobilinogen in Urine – What It Is, Levels and Tests
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