The amount of urobilinogen in urine is essential in determining if the liver is functioning normally. Urobilinogen is a product of bilirubin usually produced on the walls of the intestines and excreted via the kidney. In an event of an infection where the red blood cells rupture, there would be more amounts of bilirubin produced. An infection of the intestinal wall and any damage to the liver could also cause an abnormal rise in bilirubin. This would then result to the increased amounts of urobilinogen found in the urine as well as trapped urobilinogen in the liver.
The normal value of urobilinogen in urine is less than 17umol/l. If there are increased amounts of urobilinogen in the urine, there is a need to consult a doctor about it. The possibility of the existence liver diseases such as hemolytic anemia, hepatitis and cirrhosis is high, and if not given immediate medical attention, any of these conditions could result to death.
Factors that cause abnormal levels of urobilinogen in urine
The urobilinogen amount in urine could deviate from the normal range; it could be found to be lower or higher. Regardless, any value that does not conform to the standard range is indicative of a health problem.
- Low levels of Urobilinogen
If the amount of urobilinogen in urine is lower than the standard value, it could probably be due to strong antibacterial medicines that could destroy the normal flora of the lining of the intestines. Most of the drugs that can cause this include broad spectrum antibacterial for the treatment of jaundice, high dose of ammonium chloride and ascorbic acid.
- High levels of Urobilinogen
If the amount of urobilinogen in urine is higher than what is considered normal, it could mean that the person may be infected with a serious disease involving the liver. Examples of grave illnesses that may cause the increased quantities of urobilinogen in urine are liver cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. These conditions pose a great threat to one’s life.
The common symptoms of abnormal urobilinogen levels in urine include dark colored urine and light colored stools. Also, the person affected would appear yellowish as a result of jaundice. Jaundice is an indicator that something is wrong with the liver.
Urobilinogen test and diagnosis
The most popularly used test to measure the amount of urobilinogen in urine is with the use of urine test sticks containing P-dimenthylaminobenzaldehyde. This is a known acid medium that interacts with urobilinogen and give the urine test stick a pinkish color, which is known as the Ehrlich Aldehyde Reaction. A pink color of the dipstick would confirm the presence of urobilinogen in urine. The concentration of urobilinogen in the urine will then be further determined using the Watson-Schwartz qualitative test. After these tests, the doctor would also evaluate how mild or severe the condition is. Other diagnostic tests such as complete blood count and complete liver function tests would likewise be conducted in order to trace the disease and to implement the proper treatment method before the condition gets worse.
Treatment and management of abnormal Levels of Urobilinogen in urine
After the confirmation of the disease, the doctor would lay out the best treatment option based on the root cause of the presence of abnormal quantities of urobilinogen in the urine. The goal of the best treatment is eliminate the problem as effectively and as quickly as possible.
- If the low values of urobilinogen is caused by certain drugs, the doctor would recommend to either switch medications or stop the medication altogether. Eventually, the levels of urobilinogen in the urine will be back to normal.
- On the other hand, if the abnormal urobilinogen found in urine is caused by hemolytic anemia, the physician would prescribe iron supplements to replace the lost red blood cells. These iron supplements can be taken orally for mild cases or intravenously for severe cases. The person affected should be confined in the hospital if the case is severe for better monitoring of the condition’s development.
- If the cause originated from a disease of the liver, the patient should be monitored closely. The liver is a vital organ in the human body, and if it is badly damaged, the person cannot survive 24 hours if not given immediate medical attention. In most cases, the person would be asked to be confined in the hospital for better monitoring of the liver’s condition. Antiviral drugs such as Interferon and Ribavirin would most likely be administered. In severe cases, especially if the liver is already dying, surgical procedure for liver transplant should be done.
The level of urobilinogen in urine should be kept normal. There are a number of ways to prevent abnormal amounts of urobilinogen from happening. The most common, easiest and effective way is to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and to have regular exercises.