Urobilinogen in Urine

What is a urobilinogen in urine test?

A urobilinogen in urine test measures the amount of urobilinogen in a urine sample. Urobilinogen is formed from the reduction of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance found in your liver that helps break down red blood cells. Normal urine contains some urobilinogen. If there is little or no urobilinogen in urine, it can mean your liver isn’t working correctly. Too much urobilinogen in urine can indicate a liver disease such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.

Other names: urine test; urine analysis; UA, chemical urinalysis

What is it used for?

A urobilinogen test may part of a urinalysis, a test that measures different cells, chemicals, and other substances in your urine. A urinalysis is often part of a routine exam.

Why do I need a urobilinogen in urine test?

Your health care provider may have ordered this test as part of your regular checkup, to monitor an existing liver condition, or if you have symptoms of a liver disease. These include:

  • Jaundice, a condition that causes your skin and eyes to turn yellow
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dark colored urine
  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Itchy skin

What happens during a urobilinogen in urine test?

Your health care provider will need to collect a sample of your urine. He or she will provide you with special instructions to ensure the sample is sterile. These instructions are often called as the “clean catch method.” The clean catch method includes the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad given to you by your provider. Men should wipe the tip of their penis. Women should open their labia and clean from front to back.
  3. Start to urinate into the toilet.
  4. Move the collection container under your urine stream.
  5. Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the amounts.
  6. Finish urinating into the toilet.
  7. Return the sample container as instructed by your health care provider.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations. If your health care provider has ordered other urine or blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the test. Your health care provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is no known risk to having this test.

What do the results mean?

If your test results show too little or no urobilinogen in your urine, it may indicate:

  • A blockage in the structures that carry bile from your liver
  • A blockage in the blood flow of the liver
  • A problem with liver function

If your test results show a higher-than-normal level of urobilinogen, it may indicate:

  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver damage due to drugs
  • Hemolytic anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed before they can be replaced. This leaves the body without enough healthy red blood cells

If your results are abnormal, it does not necessarily indicate you have a medical condition requiring treatment. Be sure to tell your health care provider about any medicines and supplements you are taking, as these can affect your results. If you are a woman, you should tell your health care provider if you are menstruating.

Is there anything else I need to know about a urobilinogen in urine test?

This test is only one measure of liver function. If your health care provider thinks you might have a liver disease, additional urine and blood tests may be ordered.

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