Amy Dowden health: ‘My body couldn’t cope’ Strictly star on her life-altering condition

Amy Dowden, 28, has regularly appeared on Strictly Come Dancing since 2017. the star has devoted her life to dancing but her passionate pursuit has not come easy. In may this year, Amy divulged on ITV’s This Morning that she’d been living with Crohn’s disease since she was a child. She revealed she first experienced symptoms of the condition aged 11.

I actually passed out from the pain

Amy Dowden

The dancer’s first signs of the condition included fatigue, followed by extreme vomiting, she said.

She also experienced severe pain that caused her to pass out.

“As a child, I couldn’t keep still, then all of a sudden my parents could see I had no energy,” she said

“The next thing I started getting stomach cramps, and I actually passed out from the pain. I went years with these awful stomach pains.

“I was hardly in school, and I was in and out of hospital.

“It took until I was 19 for me to be diagnosed.

“I had terribly vomiting – extreme vomiting. Extreme pain, where my body couldn’t cope.

“I had these enormous dreams, and I could just see them fading away.

“When I was diagnosed, I thought ‘finally, I have an answer’, now it’s time to go and fulfil my dreams. It made me more determined.”

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed.

Other symptoms of the condition may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Blood in poo
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Weight loss

“The symptoms may be constant or may come and go every few weeks or months. When they come back, it’s called a flare-up,” added the health body.

There’s no cure for Crohn’s disease, but treatment can help reduce or control a person’s symptoms.

According to the NHS, the main treatments are:

  • Medicines to reduce inflammation in the digestive system – usually steroid tablets
  • Medicines to stop the inflammation coming back – either tablets or injections
  • Surgery to remove a small part of the digestive system – sometimes this may be a better treatment option than medicines

Some people may find simple dietary tweaks help to keep their symptoms under control too.

Crohn’s and Colitis recommended the following dietary suggestions:

  • Limit dairy products
  • Try low-fat foods
  • Experiment with fibre
  • Avoid “gassy” foods
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Drink plenty of water

Regular exercise may also bringing added health benefits for people living with Crohn’s disease, the charity noted.

It may lessen the chance of extra-intestinal (beyond the GI tract) symptoms, it said.

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