Ulcerative Colitis (UC) Is Among The Most Common Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Affecting One In A Thousand People With Debilitating Symptoms

New Survey Brings Attention to Chronic Ulcerative Colitis (UC), VSL#3®, a High-Potency Probiotic Medical Food for the Dietary Management of UC, May Offer Relief

Jul 29, 2015, 08:10 ET from VSL#3

GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease that affects one in every 1,000 Americans who are often diagnosed before age 30, can make carrying out the simplest of activities, like going to work or the grocery store, difficult. In fact, a recent online survey among 607 adults diagnosed with either Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), UC or ileal pouch/pouchitis, including 92 with UC conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of VSL#3 in April, 78%1 of UC sufferers said their condition interfered with their life and 43%2 identify their condition as extremely or very problematic.

Patsy Catsos, a registered dietician who has had UC for the past 30 years, is a huge proponent of VSL#3®.  She began serving as a nutrition consultant for the high-potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven in the dietary management of ulcerative colitis or an ileal pouch. Catsos says she eventually found relief when she and her gastroenterologist figured out the right management/dietary plan, including a daily intake of VSL#3.

Today, Catsos, who has maintained her UC remission for the past 15 years, recalls her personal struggle:  "I was really struggling when my children were young. It was practically impossible to take my children to a playground or beach, travel, go for a hike, or do anything without close proximity to a restroom. At the time, I wasn't even able to work and had to use my limited energy to keep my kid's lives normal and keep the family running smoothly. As a young adult and medical nutrition therapist, I felt paralyzed and like a failure for not being able to get my condition under control through nutrition alone."

Unfortunately, says board certified gastroenterologist, Patricia Raymond, MD, it's not uncommon for those with UC to experience five to 30 bowel movements per day, rectal pain from too much "traffic", excess gas and painful abdominal cramps, ranging from mild to severe. "We're not sure what causes UC, but some believe it may be caused by vulnerabilities related to a hyper-reactive immune system and the gut microbiome is also likely to be involved," she adds.

"There is no known cure for ulcerative colitis," says Raymond, MD, who recommends VSL#3 to her UC patients as part of their UC management. "Dealing with UC can be frustrating, since patients respond differently to different products, but it's important that they and their physician – such as a gastroenterologist who specializes in intestinal issues and diseases – find ways to best manage their symptoms."

In addition to making dietary changes, Dr. Raymond says it's also imperative sufferers make positive lifestyle changes, including getting adequate rest, exercise and keeping stress under control to help maintain remission. And, while there isn't a one size-fits-all-solution when it comes to managing UC, VSL#3 has been clinically studied to show that when added to traditional therapies, it helps maintain remission in patients with mild to moderate UC3.

"Finding the proper treatment plan truly makes a world of difference for people with this chronic condition that can not only help improve their symptoms, but help minimize disruptions from this condition in their life. To be able to enjoy your family, or have the confidence to complete a day of work without embarrassment due to frequent and sometimes urgent trips to the restroom, is a source of empowerment for those managing UC patients," Dr. Raymond adds. She also stresses that it's important for those with UC to understand that not all probiotics and bacterial strains are the same4. As discovered in this recent study, 69%5 of UC sufferers agreed they do not know what to look for when choosing a probiotic.

Unlike most probiotic dietary supplements filling store shelves, VSL#3 is a medical food and is backed up with several clinical studies. It is at least 10 times more potent than the average probiotic and is formulated with eight strains of live, freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria that require refrigeration to maintain their potency. "Adding VSL#3 to the dietary management of UC patients can make all the difference," Dr. Raymond adds.

To connect with the VSL#3 online community, go to www.facebook.com/vsl3probiotic or visit www.vsl3.com. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist about VSL#3, which is available in pharmacies nationwide and online at www.vsl3.com. VSL#3 is distributed in the U.S. by Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878.

Survey Methodology: Harris Poll conducted the GI Issues Survey on behalf of VSL#3. The survey was administered online within the United States between April 1 - 7, 2015 among 607 adults ages 18+ who have been diagnosed with a digestive or gastrointestinal condition, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, ileal pouch/pouchitis ("sufferers"). Among the 607 adults ages 18+, 92 reported a diagnosis of UC. It has been noted in the contents of this release where small sample data was used. Data are weighted where necessary by age within gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, income, and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. For more information about the study please contact Ashley Hughes at ahughes@rlapr.com.

1 Caution-small base (n<100). Results should be interpreted as qualitative, or directional, in nature.
2 Caution-small base (n<100). Results should be interpreted as qualitative, or directional, in nature.
3 Inflamm Bowel Dis _ Volume 0, Number 0, Month 2014
4 Bertazzoni, et al. Journal of Chemotherapy.25.4.193-212 (2013); Fedorak RN, J Clin Gastroenterol. 42:S3; S111-115 (2008); Lammers KM, et al. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 38:165-72 (2003)
5 Caution- small base (n<100). Results should be interpreted as qualitative, or directional, in nature.

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