Here’s the hereditary component: A person inherits their risk from mom and pop. But for UC to actually manifest, “it takes a particular mix of genetic defects,” says Garrett Lawlor, M.D., associate director of the inflammatory bowel diseases program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
That means, strangely enough, that most people who have UC don’t have a family member with it. “Their parents have the genes, but don’t develop the disease,” says Dr. Lawlor. There are 160 genes associated with inflammatory bowel disease that researchers are trying to link to UC.