This liver test is a simple at-home test that does not require sending it to a lab for analysis; instead, you get immediate results. The test is done through urine, and the test result is visually compared with a color chart found in the package. By testing the presence of bilirubin and urobilinogen in urine, and thus reflecting their concentration in the blood, you will be able to monitor the health of your liver.
About the Liver
The liver is the largest glandular organ in the body. Since the liver does not have any sensory nerves connected to it, we do not feel when the liver is out of balance. However, there are several symptoms that may indicate liver problems. Jaundice is considered the clearest/most common sign. Jaundice occurs when a large amount of bilirubin dissolves in the fat layer under the skin. Bilirubin is a compound formed through the breakdown of red blood cells. It is transported to the liver with the blood and then to the intestines via the lumen connecting the liver to the intestines. Bilirubin can also be stored in the gallbladder. In the intestines, bilirubin can be converted into a compound called urobilinogen by intestinal bacteria. A small percentage of this compound can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Increased levels of urobilinogen and/or bilirubin in the blood affect the appearance of urine.
Common Symptoms of an Overloaded Liver
- Yellow tone on the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen or back pain
- Swollen abdomen
- Weakness and loss of muscle mass
- Pale color of feces and/or dark color of urine
Store at room temperature, 15-30°C. Do not store test strips in the refrigerator or freezer. Do not expose test strips to moisture, heat, or light before use. Use the test strip immediately after opening the foil pouch.
How the Liver Test Works
- Begin by collecting urine in a glass or cup.
- Take one test strip out of the package and hold it by the completely white end without colored squares.
- Dip the colored part of the test strip into the urine in the glass for a maximum of one second.
- Remove the test strip and tap lightly against the edge of the glass to remove excess urine.
- Hold the test strip horizontally for 30-60 seconds to allow the reaction to occur.
- Read your result by comparing the reaction’s colors on the strip with the color chart in the package.
Questions and Answers about the Liver and Liver Test
Question: At what time of day should the liver test be performed?
Answer: The test can be performed at any time of the day. Try to minimize fluid intake one hour before the test.
Question: Why should I use a fresh urine sample for the liver test?
Answer: Bilirubin and urobilinogen are light-sensitive and can be broken down if they stand for an extended period. Consequently, the results may not reflect the actual concentration of these two compounds in the urine sample as they may have partially degraded.
Question: If the colors on the reaction areas of the test strip differ from what they should be, what should I do?
Answer: In such a case, do not use this test strip as it will not provide accurate results. You need to use a new test strip. If the same problem occurs, contact your local distributor.
Question: If the results in the liver test are read after more than one minute, are the results still reliable?
Answer: The best results are obtained after 60 seconds (1 minute). If this time is exceeded, the result may vary, leading to inaccurate results.
Question: Is there any indication of urine color?
Answer: When bilirubin is present in urine, the urine’s color becomes quite dark. In this case, the color is almost brownish-orange. Other compounds and certain foods can cause urine discoloration, so urine color should not be the sole criterion for testing bilirubin.
Question: What is hepatitis?
Answer: Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by infections from various organisms, including bacteria and viruses (Hepatitis A, B, C, etc.) or parasites. Chemical toxins such as alcohol, drugs, and poisonous mushrooms can also damage the liver and cause inflammation.
Question: What is “biliary obstruction”?
Answer: Biliary obstruction involves blocking all channels that carry bile (bilirubin and other salts) from the liver to the gallbladder or from the gallbladder to the small intestine. This can be caused by gallstones, a tumor in the liver, or inflammation in the liver. Jaundice and pain in the upper right abdomen accompanied by pain in the back are the most prominent symptoms of this condition.
Limitations of the Test
- Substances that cause abnormal urine color, such as certain medications, can affect color development on the strip. Color development in the reaction area may be masked, or a color reaction may occur in the area that can be visually interpreted as a false positive. Therefore, in doubt, the test should be repeated after finishing the medication (after consulting your doctor).
- Bilirubin: Since bilirubin in the samples is sensitive to light, exposure to light in urine samples over time may result in a false-negative result. Ascorbic acid concentration at 25 – 50 mg/dL may also cause false-negative results. Even trace amounts of bilirubin are sufficient to require further investigation. False results may be due to diagnostic or therapeutic dyes in the test urine.
- Urobilinogen: The strip cannot show a complete absence of urobilinogen in the tested sample. Normal urine tests usually give a light brown or light pink color. A higher concentration of formalin may result in a false-negative result.