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If UC is Left Untreated

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is part of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) group of diseases that includes Crohn’s disease, but Crohn’s can attack anywhere in the digestive system, not just the colon. It is important to note that IBD is not the same as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Left untreated, UC can damage the colon to a degree that the colon must be removed. However, if properly diagnosed, UC has multiple levels of treatment options, and patients receive education about avoiding recurring bouts of UC and how to stay healthy. Patients with UC who receive proper medical care may suffer recurring bouts of symptoms, but they are generally able to have normal life function and life expectancy.

Avoiding surgery and providing timely treatment to calm inflammation, heal ulcers and reduce recurring symptoms is the goal for our gastroenterology specialists.

Are There Risk Factors for Developing UC?

While scientists still can’t pinpoint the cause of UC, they have observed common risk factors for developing it. These include:

  • Age. Ulcerative colitis usually develops before age 30.
  • Race or ethnicity. Scientists observed that Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk of developing UC than other ethnicities.
  • Family history. People who have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with ulcerative colitis are more likely to develop the disease than those who don’t.

What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

The cause of ulcerative colitis remains unclear. One theory is that UC is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in the lining of the colon. This causes the tissues in the lining to swell. If not treated immediately, the inflammation may lead to ulcers.