Ulcerative Colitis Causes and Threat Elements, Defined


According to a review article published in the journal Lancet, more than 200 genetic risk locations (areas on the chromosomes) for IBD have been identified. Interestingly, many of these places contribute to both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. This suggests similarities in inflammatory processes between these two conditions.seven

Another review article, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, points out that some of the genetic locations associated with IBD are involved in epithelial function and immune system regulation, both of which are important in the ulcerative colitis process. However, the exact role many of these genetic locations play in IBD risk is not fully understood.8

back to top

What other ulcerative colitis risk factors should you be aware of?

Before diving in, it’s important to know that having ulcerative colitis risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop the disease in the future. It just means that you are at high risk compared to others without risk factors. According to Mayo Clinichere are two more to keep in mind beyond your gut health, environment, and genetics:


Age is another potential risk factor. Although you can develop ulcerative colitis at any age, it most often appears in younger people, although researchers are still trying to figure out why. According to the NIDDK, people between the ages of 15 and 30 are most likely to develop UC.

The condition can also affect children differently. « Children who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis generally experience a more aggressive course of the disease than adults, » says Dr. Holmer. She notes that, in children, the entire colon is often involved when ulcerative colitis is diagnosed. This contrasts with adults, in whom ulcerative colitis is often limited to the rectum or left side of the colon at diagnosis.

Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry

Ulcerative colitis also occurs more frequently in Ashkenazi Jews. This group of people has a high prevalence of founder mutations, which are genetic changes commonly seen within a community that shares a common ancestry and has been or is currently geographically or culturally isolated.

Founder mutations can increase the risk of various health problems. In addition to ulcerative colitis, some examples of other health conditions that occur more frequently in the Ashkenazi Jewish population include Tay-Sachs disease, Gaucher disease, and cystic fibrosis.

back to top

Do the causes of ulcerative colitis and those of Crohn’s disease overlap?

In Crohn’s disease, areas of your digestive tract become irritated and inflamed. This can lead to symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, and unintended weight loss, which strongly overlap with those of ulcerative colitis. While ulcerative colitis only affects your colon, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of your digestive tract. The areas most commonly affected are the last part of your small intestine, called the ileum, and the first part of your colon.

Like ulcerative colitis, the exact causes of Crohn’s disease remain unclear. Similar factors are thought to play a role, including a dysfunctional immune response and genetics.

According to NIDDKrisk factors for Crohn’s disease include family history, smoking, and being between the ages of 20 and 29. It’s also possible that a high-fat diet or the use of medications such as NSAIDs, antibiotics, or birth control pills may slightly increase the risk of Crohn’s disease.

back to top

Is ulcerative colitis contagious?

No, ulcerative colitis is not contagious. This means that it cannot be passed from one individual to another and is not on the list of potential causes of ulcerative colitis.

Like it? Share with your friends!