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Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan

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What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the large intestine (colon) and the rectum and sores (ulcers) on the inner lining of the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is thought to be an autoimmune disease, that is, one where the body attacks itself. It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is not the same as Crohn's disease, another type of IBD, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract whereas ulcerative colitis only affects the colon and rectum. It is also not the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects how the colon functions and does not cause inflammation.

Ulcerative colitis is estimated to affect nearly 600,000 Americans, and it affects males slightly more often than females. The disease is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.

What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include

What causes ulcerative colitis?

The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown but it is believed to be caused by a combination of several factors including an overactive immune system, genetics, and the environment.

  • Overactive immune system: It is believed that in ulcerative colitis, the immune system is triggered to mistakenly attack the inner lining of the large intestine, causing inflammation and symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
  • Genetics: Ulcerative colitis can run in families. The genetic link is not entirely clear but studies show that up to 20% of people with ulcerative colitis have a close family member with the disease.
  • Environment: Certain environmental factors including taking certain medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, antibiotics, and oral contraceptives), and eating a high fat diet may slightly increase the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

Physical or emotional stress, and certain foods do not cause ulcerative colitis, however, they may trigger symptoms in a person who has ulcerative colitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/6/2016


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