Ulcerative Colitis

By: CPMC Genetic Counseling Staff
Reviewed by: Dr. Andrew R. Conn, MD, Cooper University Hospital

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a general name for a group of chronic, autoimmune diseases that affect the bowel. The most common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. There are approximately 1.4 million people in the US with IBD, equally divided between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation to occur along continuous stretches of the digestive tract. The most common areas affected are the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

This inflammation can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and bleeding. Inflammatory bowel disease can occur at any age, although typical onset is between ages 15 to 30 years old1.

How Common is Ulcerative Colitis?

In North America, as many as 780,000 people suffer from ulcerative colitis. Between 7,000 and 46,000 individuals living in the United States and Canada are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis every year1.

To schedule a free telephone consultation to discuss your CPMC results with a board-certified genetic counselor, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Learn more about Ulcerative Colitis, from symptoms to understanding your risk, through the links below.

Page References

1. Loftus EV. Clinical epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease: incidence, prevalence, and environmental influences. Gastro.2004;126(6):1504–17.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Learn more about Ulcerative Colitis [ Learn More › ]

Risk Factors

Both genetic and non-genetic factors play a role in Ulcerative Colitis [ Learn More › ]


Reduce Your Risk

Risk-reducing behaviors for Ulcerative Colitis [ Learn More › ]

The CPMC Study

Learn how the CPMC Study identifies your risk for Ulcerative Colitis [ Learn More › ]