Gilbert’s syndrome

Alternative names
Icterus intermittens juvenilis; Low-grade chronic hyperbilirubinemia; Familial non-hemolytic-non-obstructive jaundice; Constitutional liver dysfunction; Unconjugated benign bilirubinemia

Gilbert’s disease is a multifactorial inherited disorder that affects the way bilirubin is processed by the liver and causes jaundice.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Gilbert’s disease is common, affecting up to 10% of some Caucasian populations. The most significant symptom of this condition is jaundice. Affected individuals ordinarily have no jaundice. However, jaundice appears under conditions of exertion, stress, fasting, and infections. The condition is usually benign.


  • Mild jaundice (yellowing of skin and whites of eyes)  
  • Fatigue

Note: There may be no symptoms.

Signs and tests
A serial serum indirect bilirubin shows changes consistent with Gilbert’s disease.

Usually no treatment is necessary. The focus should be on the underlying condition that caused the jaundice.

Expectations (prognosis)
Jaundice may fluctuate and persist throughout the patients life but usually causes no health problems.

There are usually no complications.

Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have jaundice or persistent abdominal pain.

Because this is an inherited disorder, there is no proven prevention.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.D.

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