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Digestive Disorders

Bilirubin Levels and Abdominal Pain



I`m a 27 yo female, good overall health. For years my total bilirubin has come back mildly elevated (1.2-1.7). Additionally, sometimes the AlkPhosp. test is elevated. All other bloodwork, enzymes etc. are normal. I have chronic problems with abdominal pain (abdominal ultrasound normal). Can a slightly elevated bilirubin be the cause of abdominal pain? Are there any treatments for that such as meds or taking out the gallbladder? Thank you.


No, the slightly elevated bilirubin should not cause abdominal pain. There are several congenital enzyme defects in the liver which can produce what is called a 'benign hyperbilirubinemia'. I would suspect that is what you have. Unless you have stones in the gallbladder, right upper quadrant pain, pain/intolerance to fatty or greasy foods, there is likely little or no reason to even think about taking out the gallbladder. To further put your mind at ease, I think you should see a gastroenterologist or even a hepatologist. Nonetheless, I would not get too upset or concerned about these very minor lab abnormalities.

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Response by:

Steven  M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS Steven M Rudich, MD, PhD, FACS
Professor of Surgery, Director of Liver Transplat and Hepatobiliary Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati