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The cause of UC is unknown though theories exist. People with UC have abnormalities of the immune system, but whether these problems are a cause or a result of the disease is still unclear. The immune system protects people from infection by identifying and destroying bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful foreign substances. With UC, the body’s immune system is believed to react abnormally to bacteria in the digestive tract. UC sometimes runs in families and research studies have shown that certain gene abnormalities are found more often in people with UC.

UC is not caused by emotional distress, but the stress of living with UC may contribute to a worsening of symptoms. In addition, while sensitivity to certain foods or food products does not cause UC, it may trigger symptoms in some people.

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