What causes ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease, so the cause is unclear; something triggers the body to react to itself. In this video, integrative gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, MD, discusses some theories of what may cause ulcerative colitis.
As children grow up in a society where there's less exposure to germs and infection, their immune system becomes more reactive
and more likely to react to itself, and form antibodies, and create autoimmune disease.
And that's a theory called he hygiene hypothesis. [MUSIC PLAYING]
Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease. And like most autoimmune diseases, we don't know what causes it, but there's
something that's triggering the body to react to itself. There is a genetic predisposition. About 20% to 25% of the patients have a family history.
But it's not strictly a genetic disease. It's what we think of as familial because the majority of patients with ulcerative colitis
actually don't have a family history. One of the interesting things about ulcerative colitis-- and it's true of other autoimmune diseases also--
is that we're seeing an increase in incidence in the developing world as countries get more industrialized. One of the theories behind this is
that as children grow up in a society where there's less exposure to germs and infection, their immune system becomes more reactive and more
likely to react to itself, and form antibodies, and create autoimmune disease.
And that's a theory called the hygiene hypothesis. Another theory is that alterations in gut bacteria because of overuse of antibiotics
and exposure to too many toxins in the environment can affect the gut bacteria, and that that can be implicated in the inflammation that
causes ulcerative colitis. So the truth is we really don't know what causes ulcerative colitis. But we hope that, when we discover the cause,
we'll discover the cause not just for ulcerative colitis but for a whole host of other autoimmune diseases, like lupus, and diabetes, and MS,
and several others that also involve the immune system becoming over-reactive and reacting to the body's own tissues.
[WHOOSH EFFECT] [HEARTBEAT] [BEEPING]
Browse videos by topic categories