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Amy Dowden opens up about her battle with Crohn's disease

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Amy Dowden is the Strictly star who has most enthralled with her impressive moves and natural talent. Gliding across the dance floor, the starlet appears to be the picture of good health when in reality she suffers from a condition which has deeply affected her life. The starlet spoke of her struggles in the BBC documentary named Strictly Amy: Crohn’s And Me.

In the documentary, she said: “Strictly has been more than a dance show to me, it got me through the darkest times of my illness.

“For me it was a big inspiration to keep me dancing.

“Dancing has pulled me through my Crohn’s but it’s a battle.

“I live in fear that what I love the most could be taken away. And I’ve been more ill this year than I have been in a long time.”

The NHS state that the main symptoms of Crohn’s disease include the following:

  • Diarrhoea – which may come on suddenly
  • Stomach aches and cramps – most often in the lower-right part of your tummy
  • Blood in your poo
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Weight loss.

Symptoms become worse when individuals go through what are known as “flares”. This is followed by a period of “remission” where symptoms are less noticeable.

Diagnosis is tricky and some individuals may self-diagnose themselves as having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to the problems with their digestive system.

But following NHS guidelines, if you notice that you have persistent and frequent diarrhoea, stomach cramps / aches or are losing weight for no reason it is important to see your GP.

In the UK it is estimated by NHS Inform that at least 115,000 people are living with the condition.

It affects all ages, including children- with most cases developing between the ages of 16 and 30.

Amy who is only 31 years-old said: “Accepting my condition now has helped. Talking about it, doing the documentary, I can just be me. I don’t have to hide anything.”

And her Strictly family have also helped. “They are so understanding, antidepressants for bipolar lexapro there’s so many people I can turn to and talk to. For me that has really helped me along my journey.”

Amy admitted: “To the public watching me with all our make-up, fake tan, glitz, glamour and spotlights, it’s a different world. I don’t think they could ever imagine this could be me the next day.

“I knew things weren’t right, but your body goes: ‘Right you’ve got to get through this, you don’t want to let anyone down, you can do this.’ And you can just push yourself through anything.”

She adds: “I can’t think of how many times I’ve been in hospital. It’s got to be at least over 100 times. When I was 18 or 19 it was every month at least for a week.”

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