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What is urobilinogen?

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Quick Answer

Urobilinogen is a substance the body produces when bilirubin, a pigment made in the liver, breaks down, explains WebMD. Although urobilinogen can be found in small doses in urine and stool, large amounts of this substance in waste production is a sign of liver disease.

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Full Answer

A doctor looks for large amounts of urobilinogen in a patient's urine test when he suspects the patient is suffering from a problem with the gallbladder or a liver disease such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, states WebMD. A urine analysis also looks at the color, clarity, odor and pH of the urine and tests for nitrites, proteins, glucose and ketones.

Cirrhosis, one of the liver diseases that causes a spike in urobilinogens in urine, occurs when the liver becomes scarred and inflamed due to other liver diseases such as hepatitis, according to Mayo Clinic. Although there is no cure for cirrhosis, further liver damage can be reduced or prevented if the disease is caught early on in its development. Cirrhosis prevents the liver from effectively doing its job, which is to clean toxins from the body. Along with abnormally high amounts of urobilinogens in the urine, other symptoms include loss of appetite and nausea; weight loss; fatigue; jaundice; and easy bruising and bleeding.

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