Coming soon: A simple urine test for diagnosing IBS

Currently, there is no definitive way to confirm if someone has IBS. Receiving a diagnosis usually includes several visits to the doctor and a few different tests, such as a colonoscopy, endoscopy, and possibly an x-ray. The diagnosis is only given once the physician has ruled out other possibilities. However, the number of visits and testing that have to be done can consume a lot of time and money. What if there was an easier way that actually proved a person had IBS without any costly testing?

Scientists at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada were able to identify new metabolic biomarkers for IBS that appear in urine. Biomarkers are a substance in an organism that is present in certain conditions. These scientists were able to confirm these biomarkers by comparing the urine of those who have IBS with that of healthy adults. Several of the biomarkers were related to collagen degradation. Researchers believe that the collagen degradation shows that there is an impairment in the elastic lining in the colon.

With these results, a simple urine test could someday be possible, reducing the amount of time it takes to receive an IBS diagnosis, and potentially reducing the costs of additional testing. A simple urine test will also be more accessible since it’s less expensive and invasive than an endoscopy or colonoscopy. Researchers also theorize that this diagnostic test also have the potential to be used to monitor the success of different IBS treatments.

The medical field knows very little about IBS even though it is estimated that 15% of the world population has it. The research done by the scientists at McMaster University is a great step forward in diagnosing and possibly finding the potential cause of IBS. It can give those with IBS hope that eventually there will be a cure to this difficult condition.