Amy Dowden, 28, is from South Wales and began dancing at the tender age of eight. Amy and dance partner Karim have been astounding audiences with their dancing talent with the pair receiving the first perfect 40 of the series for their Jive in week 11. Behind Amy’s confidence, however, she has battled with a disease since she was a child.
Amy Dowden health: Dancer has suffered from a disease since she was a little girl
Amy said: “As a child, I couldn’t keep still, then all of a sudden my parents could see I had no energy. 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.
What is Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.
Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue.
Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
Amy Dowden health: Dancer revealed she suffers from Crohn’s disease
What are the symptoms
In some people with Crohn’s disease, only the last segment of the small intestine (ileum) is affected.
In others, the disease is confined to the colon (part of the large intestine).
The most common areas affected by Crohn’s disease are the last part of the small intestine and the colon.
Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe.
They usually develop gradually, but sometimes will come on suddenly, without warning.
A person may also have periods of time when you have no signs or symptoms (remission).
Symptoms could include diarrhoea, fever, fatigue, blood in the stool, mouth sores and reduced appetite and weight loss.
Amy added: “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.”
If you suspect you may have similar symptoms it’s important to speak with your GP.