Epidemiology of Ulcerative Colitis in Japan

  • Satoko OhfujiEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine book series (CTEHPM)


In Japan, the prevalence of ulcerative colitis (UC) has been increasing over the past four decades, with the number of patients reaching approximately 170,000 as of 2014. This increase can be partly explained by the broader perception of the disease, improved diagnostic techniques such as endoscopy, and improved disease prognosis resulting from more advanced therapeutic techniques. However, some concerns remain regarding the possibility that a number of environmental factors could be contributing to the increase in the number of UC patients.

To date, numerous studies have been conducted to identify disease risk factors worldwide; however, such studies are faced with the difficulty of showing firm conclusions because of limitations in study designs and statistical power owing to small sample sizes. Therefore, although several factors have been suggested as being associated with UC, the actual burden against disease development remains unclear. Nonetheless, recent improvements in treatment techniques have helped to successfully decrease disease mortality by enabling maintenance of remission in the long-term and prevention of developing colorectal cancers in UC patients.

From a public health perspective, it is important to identify disease risk factors and construct strategies for well-controlling clinical course in UC patients, in order to prevent further new cases and achieve the more improving their prognosis.


Incidence Prevalence Prognosis Risk factor Ulcerative colitis 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public HealthOsaka City University Graduate School of MedicineOsaka CityJapan

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