Ailments & ConditionsYour Health

Smoking and Ulcerative Colitis: What’s the Link?

Overview of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that leads to sores and inflammation in the digestive tract. This condition occurs in the innermost layer of the rectum and colon. Symptoms can vary and tend to develop gradually. Common signs include rectal pain, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, diarrhea with pus or blood, tiredness, weight loss, inability or urgency to defecate, or fever. If left treated, ulcerative` colitis may cause fatal complications. Although there is currently no cure for this condition, some treatment options are available to help manage the symptoms and reach remission. [1]

Causes and Risk Factors of Ulcerative Colitis

It is still not clear what exactly causes ulcerative colitis. Stress and diet were previously thought to be linked. Nevertheless, scientists have found that these factors would worsen, but do not cause the condition. A possible cause is a malfunctioned immune system, which mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the digestive tract and causes inflammation. Other risk factors include:

– Family history: Certain genetic factors may increase the risk of having ulcerative colitis.

– Ethnicity or race: The risk of ulcerative colitis is highest in white people, but it may affect people of any race.

– Age: The condition may affect people of any age, but typically starts before the age of 30. [2]