Conjugated Bilirubin?

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Hi all,

Was hoping someone could tell me what does conjugated Bilirubin mean? My Dr told me to mention that to the Gastroenterologist when I see them on the 6th September. I dearnt google it but I don’t know what that means. I’m freaking out & im worrying about it. I suffer from Health Anxiety which is not helping at all!

My Bilirubin level was 47 a few weeks ago but now is 35, which is good it’s come down or is it? I really don’t understand this Gilbert Syndrome. 

Please if anyone can tell me what it means it’ll be much appreciated.

Thank you x

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  • Posted

    Although I’m not fully educated in it, so don’t accept these answers like a doctor, it’s my understanding that although neither level is ideal to be high (unconjugated or conjugated) if you have to have one off, conjugated is the better one to be off.  

    All of us on here suffering from Gilbert’s more than likely ALL have elevated conjugated bilirubin which is why the doctors say we have Gilbert’s. They have no direct reason to otherwise believe we have cirrhosis or something else related to the liver so they say we have Gilbert’s. Gilbert’s seems to be the blanket diagnosis for the unknown, and it happens that when it’s accurately diagnosed it’s not harmful in the sense it’s gonna kill me, however it can be quite annoying for symptoms. Relief however can be known that you’re NOT dying so in that sense, hopefully your anxiety can lessen a bit. As far as your levels, different parts of the world use different scales and I’m unfamiliar with that range. However, glancing at google your ranges seem slightly elevated (like mine and many, if not all of us with Gilbert’s.) The easy answer is to say, don’t worry about it although, like you, I’m also very anxious about my health and I still worry. The reality for me over the years though is that symptoms come and go and sometimes I feel normal and sometime not. Enjoy the normal periods and hopefully the not normal periods will be minimal (some experience no symptoms) and it’s even documented that higher (within reason) bilirubin can be a good thing as it is better for the heart. Best of luck and prayers. Probably isn’t something to worry over. I’ve learned to wait to listen to my doctor and save myself weeks of incredible stress over nothing. I recommend waiting on doctors as well and try your best to not jump to conclusions. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you Arthur for that information.😊 I have learnt bits & bobs from this forum & find it reassuring.  I think I just freaked hearing a new word ‘conjugated’. I really try & think about the positives of Gilbert’s. I don’t ask these questions when I should really. My mind just freaks out. And I forget what was said. The anxiety I suppose. I think/ hope that’s the biggest issue with me. And need to overcome this. And I’m really trying. I’ve always hated the unknown, but since this anxiety the unknown really gets to me. Like with so many others. It’s like I have 2 people inside of me. The Anxiety side which is the Devil and the good side. The good side saying to myself stop overthinking, stop the unnecessary worrying, stop being so selfish. Hate this. 

      I really do appreciate others help and wish all this stuff that’s going on in the world would just do one.

      I hope you overcome your anxiety Arthur.

      Take Care xx

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  • Posted

    I understand fully the anxiety. Who wouldnt have it? Everyone should have some anxiety over their health but here's the thing. When I orginally got my results (6 years ago now) I went through every scenario mentally... probably for a year I drove myself crazy probably making symptoms worse as stress causes all kinds of weird things in us.... I also started eating healthy and really became obsessed with the whole "your body is a temple" thing. Basically because if I try my best to treat my body right then I can't blame myself as much. I work out. I eat right. I still have high bilirubin. The doctors still say its gilberts. Some days I get symptoms, some I don't. I AM here to say though that 6 years later... still just about the same health wise and it wasn't all the bad scenarios I set up for myself mentally or I wouldn't BE here 6 years later smile Yes, I hate not knowing but I guess thats the way it goes sometimes. 

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    • Posted

      Yes I totally understand the body is a temple thing. Have done it myself, but slowly starting to bring back the odd unhealthy meals. I did go through a stage of just eating fruit & veg basically & only drank water, probably a bit too much, & having everything filtered & got really paranoid about the household cleaners & smellies I used at home.

      Got to me quite bad. Wouldn’t dare drink alcohol. I have had a couple of alcoholpops here & there but wouldn’t drink anymore or anything stronger.

      From someone who used to love a drink on a Friday OR Saturday night would drink anything, and I could put it away but as I got older it started to take less & less to feel merry & drunk. And probably took me a good 2-3 days to feel normal again. But throughout all of this I’ve still smoked 🤷🏻??? I did pack up for a month April/ May time but had this horrible cough which resulted in forced coughing ( anxiety I think) and I started again & yes cough went. All in my head. But the mental torture every fag I lit knowing how bad it is etc... But on the positive note me & my partner are giving it another go starting from today. 

      Take Care Arthur xx

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  • Posted

    I also gave up alcohol similarly to your previous lifestyle. Its a reality check for certain. We aren't permanent things here. Worth also noting that faith in a higher power has helped probably more than anything. YouTube search "Andy Stanley Who needs God" smile Life changer for me in that everyone on that team ain't necessarily a crack pot smile Anyway, good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jodi,  Here's some information on GS I found through Mayo Clinic back in 2012.


    Gilbert's syndrome is a common, mild liver condition in which the liver doesn't properly process a substance called bilirubin. Bilirubin is produced by the breakdown of red blood cells.  Gilbert's (zheel-BAYRZ) syndrome typically is harmless and doesn't require treatment.

    What is Bilirubin?  Bilirubin is the major breakdown product that results from the destruction of old red blood cells (as well as some other sources). It is removed from the blood by the liver, chemically modified by a process called conjugation. 

    Conjugation makes the bilirubin water soluble, this allows the bilirubin to be excreted into the bile. The Bile is excreted into the small intestine via the bile ducts. The bile is required to digest food. The bile is the pigment that gives feces their brown color.

    Diagnosis:  People with GS predominantly have elevated unconjugated bilirubin, while conjugated bilirubin is usually within the normal range & is less than 20% of the total. Levels of bilirubin in GS patients are reported to be from 20 µM to 90 µM (1.2 to 5.3 mg/dL)[21] compared to the normal amount of < 20 µM. GS patients will have a ratio of unconjugated/conjugated (indirect/direct) bilirubin that is commensurately higher than those without GS.

    Causes:  GS is caused by an abnormal gene that you inherit from your parents. The gene controls an enzyme that helps break down bilirubin in your liver. With an ineffective gene, excess amounts of bilirubin build up in your blood.  You're born with Gilbert's syndrome, though it often goes undiscovered for many years, often by accident, when a blood test shows elevated bilirubin levels.  

    Lifestyle and home remedies;  Certain life events, such as stress, can trigger episodes of higher bilirubin levels in Gilbert's syndrome, leading to jaundice. Doing what you can to manage those situations can help keep bilirubin under control.

    Tell every doctor about your Gilbert's syndrome. Gilbert's syndrome affects the way your body processes certain medications. This can worsen side effects. 

    Eat a healthy diet. Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.

    Avoid extremely low-calorie diets. 

    Stick to a routine eating schedule and avoid fasting or skipping meals.

    Manage stress. Find ways to deal with the stresses in your life. Consider exercise or quiet time alone to cope with stress. 

    Stay Hydrated.  Filtrated Water & Lemon

    Gilbert’s Syndrome is generally harmless and does not produce any symptoms. GS does not require medical treatment or long term medical attention, and patients with this syndrome should not be led to believe that they have a liver disease but rather a liver disorder. 

    General recommendations:  Those with Gilbert’s Syndrome need only follow a healthy diet and avoid liver toxins such as excessive alcohol and liver toxic drugs. Bilirubin levels tend to rise if the diet is poor, and during fasting, or mild illnesses. Some common symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, depression, irritability, abdominal pain and digestive conditions. Some people may also experience liver pain, nausea, jaundice and loss of appetite.  

    Home remedies 

    Peppermint: commonly used to flavor foods, candy and other consumable products. When used medicinally, peppermint may help soothe certain digestive orders as well as headaches associated with Gilbert's disease. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint helps relax the smooth muscles of the stomach and improve the flow of bile. Applying peppermint oil to the temple or forehead may help reduce headache pain. Peppermint tea may be consumed up to four times per day between meals to help with digestive disorders.

    Chamomile: an herb that is commonly used as a calming and relaxing herb. According to the Medicinal Herb Info website, chamomile helps with muscle cramps, headaches and general pain. In addition, chamomile may help improve mild digestive orders. Add up to 3 tsp. of dried chamomile flowers to 1 cup of boiling water and allow the mixture to stand up to 15 minutes. Add honey or sugar for flavor.

    Hope this answers some of your questions smile


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    • Posted

      Good Morning Julie 😊 Well it’s morning in the U.K.

      Thank you so much for all of that useful information 😊

      That  really is very much appreciated.

      It does makes sense.

      I suppose having GS & anxiety is really a bad combination as the symptoms are pretty much similar. I have digestive issues( more of my stools can be mushy formation) but think that’s triggered by spicy foods, which not to sure but since having this anxiety spicy food doesn’t go down well anymore?? I used to love spicy foods. So kinda put it down to IBS as I’ve had tests done. Which also can be triggered of by stress. Bilirubin levels have dropped from 47-35 which the past few weeks I’ve been having more better days than bad days😊. When I had the blood test done, when it came back 47, I was feeling very sad, worried, anxious & most days just would cry with unnecessary worry. Then the jaundice eyes=more worry= self examining all of the time=to more stress=then round again & again. The vicious circle.

      Lately I’ve felt more better I have times I can relax and smile & have jokes with my kids😊 My worst day was Friday😢 after the phone call from the Dr I  had a shower and bang just broke down & I probably cried for most of the day, just fearing the worst & over thinking things. All because the DR. mentioned a new word ‘conjugated’. I automatically in my mind feared the worst & I can’t remember the phone call, I just freaked. Because a lot of my anxiety and fears revolves around my health & The C word & especially anything to do with pancreas and liver makes me feel scared, very scared. Think that stems from loosing my Mother in law last September from pancreatic  & liver cancer 😭

      I automatically think the worst, think it’s a start of something. Which this sort of thinking is not doing me any favours at all. Very dark Automatic thoughts, that I’m slowly learning to ignore. 

      I’m currently taking Apple Cider vinegar diluted with water in the morning, multi vitamin every other day, fish oil capsule every other day & also drink lemon water. I’ve got some peppermint & chamomile tea bags in the cupboard so I’ll give them a go. I’m also taking a couple of drops of CBD oil sometimes in the morning but mostly before I go bed. Do you think that’s all ok? I’m also starting to eat more healthy & have gone mad on hot tomato’s. I need to try & fit in some exercise but hard to find the time going to work & with family life. But around the house I’m always doing something. I’m not one to sit down all day, only on my bad days .

      Thanks again Julie & take care xx

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    • Posted

      Jodie, one thing noteworthy is don't drive yourself crazy trying to change lab tests overnight. Again, Im 6 years in this... I still have elevated bilirubin. I DO healthy things and healthy things improve it but it's not gonna simply go away and nothing will change overnight. Think about it this way. Were you happy the week prior to the doctor telling you about this? If yes then your worry is created not by how you actually FEEL but by your doctor making a statement you're not comfortable with. YOU be the judge of how you feel and make proactive choices to do healthy things. Those tests shouldn't tell you how you feel and living in worry is not productive. Take a breath and realize you don't have to be governed by the results of the tests. The results will fluctuate over the years but don't have to be any end all to anything. Take a breath, enjoy your family, and listen to your inner self who might feel fine if you could forget the doctor told you this! Eat healthy drink healthy, try to be happy and pretend the results aren't much a big deal. They will fluctuate and nothing we do will change the results instantly. You're going to be fine.

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