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Ulcerative Colitis – Causes

January 30, 2021


There is not just one cause of ulcerative colitis. The cause is thought to be multifactorial, meaning many things contribute to the development of ulcerative colitis. We know this is an immune response condition in which the body’s immune system actually attacks the colon. It is clear that genetics also plays a role as does the microbiome. And finally, we think of this disease as triggered by environmental factors, such as the use of antibiotics for instance. There are some clear risk factors for the development of UC. We find that, as I mentioned, genetics plays a role, and patients with UC have, usually about 10% of them have a family member who has either inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis itself. There are genetic markers that can be checked that may suggest patients have a risk of developing ulcerative colitis. In addition, we know that certain ethnicities have higher risks of UC. We see this in the Western European population and particularly in the Jewish population there. Finally, we see that ulcerative colitis in general is very prominent in the United States. One in 250 people will actually have ulcerative colitis. And while we see it in higher populations or certain populations, we know that anyone can really be at risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

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