Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome

Gilbert’s syndrome occurs due to deficiency of the UGT enzyme that helps in conjugation of free unconjugated bilirubin.

This conjugation process by glucoronidation helps in making the bilirubin water soluble and finally helps in excretion of the bilirubin in urine and faeces.

Bilirubin is the breakdown product of dead and aged red blood cells. While the protein portion of the haemoglobin present in the red blood cells is salvaged the heme part is excreted in the bilirubin.

Gilbert’s syndrome occurs in 1 in 20 individuals. This syndrome is characterized by jaundice. However, there is a large population of sufferers who are not aware of their condition.

They have intermittent elevation of levels of bilirubin in blood that returns to normal and stays normal most of the time.

When do symptoms of Gilbert’s syndrome start to occur?

Gilbert’s syndrome is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30 years. Typically mild, asymptomatic jaundice is first noticed in teenagers.

What are the symptoms of Gilbert’s syndrome?

The symptoms of Gilbert’s syndrome include jaundice, tiredness and sometimes no symptoms at all.


Patients with Gilbert’s syndrome are prone to develop jaundice from time to time. The risk increases with other problems like starvation, dehydration, repeated and profuse vomiting, infections, exertion and stress and after a surgery. Menstruation might also be a factor in triggering off higher bilirubin levels.

Jaundice is caused by raised bilirubin in blood. The classic symptoms of jaundice include yellowish discoloration of:

  • the skin
  • mucous membrane inside the mouth
  • nail beds
  • whites of the eyes

Bilirubin has an orangy-yellow colour. The discoloration of skin and mucous membranes is due to the deposition of the excess bilirubin.

Eyes are the commonest affected place in patients of Gilbert’s syndrome with jaundice. There may darkening of the urine color. This is especially seen in the first morning urine.

Darkening of urine is a common feature of viral hepatitis. Many patients with Gilbert’s syndrome may not have dark urine and may have normal straw colored urine.

There is exacerbation of jaundice or precipitation of jaundice when certain drugs are taken. These include Atazanavir and indinavir (used against HIV infection), Gemfibrozil or combination of Gemfibrozil with Statins for lowering cholesterol and Irinotecan used against advanced bowel cancer.

Tiredness and weakness

Other symptoms of Gilbert’s syndrome include:

  • tiredness
  • mild weakness and fatigue
  • mild abdominal pains especially in the upper abdomen
  • mild nausea and sometimes vomiting
  • severe loss of appetite
  • intolerance to fat
  • dizziness
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • difficulty in concentrating or focussing on tasks at hand etc.

These symptoms may be present in patients of Gilbert’s syndrome irrespective of presence or absence of frank jaundice.

No symptoms

Most patients present without any symptom of the condition. These patients may or may not have intermittent rise of bilirubin leading to symptoms of jaundice.

At least 30% of patients with Gilbert’s syndrome have this silent condition with no symptom whatsoever. (1-6)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, August 23). Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 20, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome". News-Medical. 20 June 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome". News-Medical. (accessed June 20, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome. News-Medical, viewed 20 June 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.