Urobilinogen in Urine: An Insightful Overview

Urobilinogen in Urine: An Insightful Overview

Urobilinogen is a byproduct of bilirubin that is normally found in the urine in trace amounts1. It’s produced from the breakdown of bilirubin by gut bacteria2. The majority of this compound is excreted in feces, and a small amount is reabsorbed and excreted in the urine2. However, higher or lower levels of urobilinogen in urine may indicate a liver problem12.

Understanding Urobilinogen

Your body makes bilirubin during the normal process of breaking down old red blood cells1. Your liver uses the bilirubin to make bile, a fluid that helps you digest food in your intestines1. Good bacteria in your intestines break down the bilirubin in your bile and make urobilinogen1. Some of the urobilinogen leaves your body in your stool, some of it enters your bloodstream and returns to your liver, where it’s “recycled” into bile1. A small amount of urobilinogen leaves your body in urine1.

Causes of Abnormal Urobilinogen Levels

High levels of urobilinogen in urine can indicate an infection of some kind in the body3. Elevated levels can also indicate cancer, or liver cirrhosis which causes the liver to become weak, causing urobilinogen to accumulate within the body3. Hemolytic anemia, or the breakdown of red blood cells can also cause increased levels3.

On the other hand, when insufficient bilirubin reaches the gut due to decreased bile flow, urobilinogen production is reduced, resulting in extremely low or absent urinary urobilinogen levels2.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of abnormal urobilinogen levels depend on the underlying cause. If you have reduced bile flow, you may experience itchy skin, fatigue, yellow complexion (jaundice), dark urine, lightly colored or foul-smelling stool, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss2.

Diagnosis typically involves a urinalysis or urine test. A special test strip called a urine dipstick is inserted into the urine sample to test for nitrite-positive urine2.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for abnormal urobilinogen levels depends on its underlying cause. For instance, UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics4. It’s important to complete the full course of antibiotics to ensure all bacteria are eliminated and prevent reinfection4.

Prevention strategies include drinking plenty of water to flush bacteria out of your urinary system and not holding in urine for too long as this can increase bacterial growth4.


Urobilinogen in urine is typically a sign of an underlying issue with your urinary tract. If you suspect you have this condition, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Back to blog

Leave a comment