Ulcerative ColitisUC Causes

Let's Talk About the Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

Number one and most important: It's not your fault you were diagnosed with UC. We'll help you understand what factors do play a part so you can get on with what matters: feeling better.

    Our Pro PanelUlcerative Colitis

    We went to some of the nation’s top UC experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Aline J Charabaty Pishvaian

    Aline Charabaty Pishvaian, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Sibley Memorial Hospital
    Washington, D.C.
    Jason Schairer MD

    Jason Schairer, M.D.Senior Staff Gastroenterologist

    Henry Ford Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
    Neilanjan Nandi

    Neilanjan Nandi, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Drexel University School of Medicine

    Frequently Asked QuestionsUC Causes

    My parent/sibling has UC. What does that mean for my risk?

    Having a sibling or parent who has UC significantly raises your risk of developing UC yourself. In fact, about 10% to 25% of people with UC have a sibling or parent with some form of IBD, whether it be UC or Crohn's disease.

    Did I cause my UC?

    There's nothing you did or didn't do that caused you to develop UC. The cause of UC is complex and depends on many factors, from your genes to your environment.

    Is ulcerative colitis an autoimmune disease?

    Some researchers theorize that UC is an autoimmune disease because a flaw in your immune system may cause it to mistakenly attack healthy tissue in the large intestine. There’s not yet a full consensus, so we can't say definitively that UC is in fact a true autoimmune disease.

    I'm worried about getting UC. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

    Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to 100% guarantee you won't develop UC at some point. That said, it's always wise to practice a healthy lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and prioritizing your mental health.

    Lara DeSanto

    Lara DeSanto


    Lara DeSanto is a former editor of HealthCentral, where she regularly covered digestive health, sexual health, and cancer. She's now a frequent contributor to the site.