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Urobilinogen in Urine

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Urobilinogen in Urine

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

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.

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

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.
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.
There is no known risk to having this test.

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.

  1. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Bilirubin (Serum); p. 86–87.
  2. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Fecal Urobilinogen; p. 295.
  3. LabCE [Internet]. Lab CE; c2001–2017. Clinical Significance of Urobilinogen in Urine; [cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.labce.com/spg506382_clinical_significance_of_urobilinogen_in_urine.aspx
  4. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: At a Glance; [updated 2016 May 26; cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/tab/glance/
  5. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: The Test; [updated 2016 May 26; cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/tab/test
  6. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: The Test Sample; [updated 2016 May 26; cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/tab/sample
  7. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: The Three Types of Exams; [cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/urinalysis/ui-exams?start=1
  8. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Urinalysis; [cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/diagnosis-of-kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/urinalysis
  9. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Bilirubin test; Definition; 2015 Oct 13 [cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bilirubin/basics/definition/prc-20019986
  10. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Liver disease: Symptoms; 2014 July 15 [cited 2017 Mar 1]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/liver-problems/basics/symptoms/con-20025300
Urobilinogen in Urine

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