Saturday, June 15, 2024

A new urine test for IBS

Researchers aim to develop a simple urine test for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome, with potential use to monitor response to IBS treatment.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder of the digestive tract, characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Diagnosis of this syndrome is complicated and requires invasive procedures like colonoscopy and the exclusion of several other intestinal disorders.

Scientists from McMaster University in Canada were interested in developing a new diagnostic test for IBS. According to Philip Britz-McKibbin, a professor at McMaster’s Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, “Diagnostic testing for IBS involves a long process of excluding other related gut disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease. We were interested in finding if there is a better way to detect and monitor IBS that avoids invasive colonoscopy procedures while also giving us better insights into its underlying mechanisms.”

The researchers developed a new simple urine test for IBS. They recently tested this new method for IBS detection and published their results in the journal Metabolomics.

For the study, scientists collected urine specimens from 42 patients with IBS and compared them with urine samples from healthy people. They discovered consistently elevated levels of certain substances in the urine of IBS patients. These included hydroxylysine metabolites (O -glycosylgalactosyl-hydroxylysine, O-galactosyl-hydroxylysine, lysine), mannopyranosy-l-tryptophan, imidazole propionate, glutamine, serine, ornithine, dimethylglycine and dimethylguanosine. These substances are the products of collagen degradation, which the researchers believe are produced due to damage that occurs to the elastic lining of the colon in patients with IBS.

This urine test for IBS is a novel discovery. It is simple and helps avoid other invasive diagnostic tests like colonoscopy, biopsies, and repeated blood tests. The researchers suggest that it may also prove helpful and convenient as a way to monitor the patient’s response to IBS treatment.

The researchers are continuing and expanding this work, by exploring the possibility of urine tests to detect other gut disorders like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Written by Dr. Radhika Baitari, MS


Yamamoto, M., Pinto-Sanchez, M., Bercik, P. and Britz-McKibbin, P. (2019). Metabolomics reveals elevated urinary excretion of collagen degradation and epithelial cell turnover products in irritable bowel syndrome patients.

EurekAlert!. (2019). Scientists find urine test could offer a non-invasive approach for diagnosis of IBS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jul. 2019].



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