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How are alcohol and Gilbert Syndrome connected?

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Quick Answer

There is no explicit connection between Gilbert's syndrome and alcohol consumption, and the cause of the disease is genetic, explains Mayo Clinic. It occurs most often in males and in people whose parents both have the condition.

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Full Answer

Gilbert's syndrome is a harmless condition that does not require treatment, but it can cause certain medications to have side effects, according to Mayo Clinic. Its only symptom is occasional bouts of jaundice, which is a yellow tinge in the skin or the whites of the eyes. The cause of this yellow tinge is an elevated level of bilirubin that results when the liver fails to process this substance properly, which is produced by the breakdown of red blood cells.

Normally, bilirubin is excreted with bile and removed from the body in stool. In people with Gilbert's syndrome, fasting, menstruation, strenuous exercise, illness and dehydration can cause elevated bilirubin levels. Stress or lack of sleep can also cause elevated levels, as Mayo Clinic indicates.

Jaundice can have many possible causes, so those experiencing it should seek out a medical provider for an appropriate medical investigation, as Mayo Clinic advises. An elevated bilirubin level combined with normal blood and liver function tests is usually sufficient to diagnose the condition, but genetic tests can confirm the diagnosis. The genes that cause Gilbert's syndrome are relatively common.

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