Ulcerative colitis - Minimising risk / Prevention

Variable factors which may contribute to the risk of development of ulcerative colitis.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBDAn abbreviation for inflammatory bowel disease, a group of inflammatory conditions of the intestine. The two major forms are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.) is complex and not enough is yet known about the exact causes of ulcerative colitis to give extensive advice on ways to minimise your risk of developing the condition.


Curiously, people who don't smoke seem to be more at risk of ulcerative colitis than smokers, although the other harmful effects of smoking far outweigh the protection it gives against ulcerative colitis.

Genetics and environmental factors

Other reasons why some people suffer from these diseases and others do not may include genetics, your ethnic origin, the geographical region in which you live and other environmental factors that are, as yet, not fully understood.


Studies have generally failed to find links between dietary factors and the risk of ulcerative colitis. However, research published in 2008 suggests that there may be a small association with increased consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

See the Nutrition in IBD practical help page.