What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

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Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease and like most autoimmune diseases we don't know what causes it but there is something that triggering the body to react to itself. There is a genetic predisposition about 20-25% of the patients have a family history but but it's not strictly a genetic disease it's what we think of is familial or 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 it's true for other autoimmune diseases also is that we're seeing an increase in incidents 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 infections, 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 a hygiene hypothesis.

Another theory is that in gut bacteria because of overuse of antibiotics and exposure to too many toxins in the environment can affect the gut bacteria and 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 the immune system becoming over reactive and reacting to the body's own tissues.