Ulcerative Colitis: Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of ulcerative colitis are still unknown, but there are certain risk factors that influence the development of the illness.


In terms of genetic factors, research has identified dozens of genes that could result in a predisposition to develop the condition. This means that they do not directly cause ulcerative colitis, but they make you more susceptible to developing it.

With regard to environmental factors in ulcerative colitis, smoking seems to have a protective factor, but this factor remains unexplained and does not present an argument for encouraging smoking among patients with this condition.

Other factors are currently being studied, such as an imbalance in intestinal flora, diet and stress, which could contribute to triggering flare-ups.

Finally, as is the case with Crohn’s disease, it is suspected that ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease, which involves a reaction by the body resulting in the deregulation of intestinal flora.

Last updated: 6/17/17