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Strictly Amy: Crohn’s and me

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An incredible documentary by Strictly professional dancer Amy Dowden aired on BBC one Wales on Thursday 15th October 2020, detailing her inspirational journey with Crohn’s disease.

After first having symptoms as a child, she wasn’t officially diagnosed until she was 19. This can be a common issue for Crohn’s sufferers, as there are so many illnesses under the IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) spectrum doctors can sometimes struggle to correctly diagnose the issue straight away.

Despite the first known case of Crohn’s being recorded hundreds of years ago, there still isn’t a cure for the condition. However, there are several treatments that sufferers can have to help relieve some of their pain and suffering.

This includes different medications, such as ascorbic acid tablets and phosphate enemas, and surgery, which can include both temporary and permanent ileostomy and colostomy bags as well as removal of parts of the digestive system.

What is Crohns Disease? 

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which can cause swelling and ulcers in the intestine, this makes it difficult and painful to digest food properly. Meaning that Crohn’s sufferers may not absorb all the nutrients from their food properly; and have to take medications and supplements to help them.

These medications also help to keep the disease in remission and help to prevent flare ups. Unfortunately, they do not always work, and serious flare ups can occur at any time, without warning. This means that Crohn’s sufferers have to be extra careful and cannot always have the same social life as someone without the disease.

How did this affect Amy?

These flare ups have unfortunately caused Amy to miss out on some amazing opportunities in her career, causing her to miss out on dance competitions and red-carpet appearances. In the documentary, Amy asks her fiancé to film her going through one of her flare ups, so she can show everyone the harsh realities of Crohn’s disease. It is unfortunate that this illness causes so many issues for sufferers, however new treatment is being worked on consistently and there have been vast improvements in recent medical research.

Despite her condition, Amy does not let it stop her from living her life, and from her dream job, being a professional dancer. She has risen through the ranks of professional dance competitions to be where she is today, and has even met her fiancé Ben on the way. They were set to marry in the summer of 2020 as well as dance in their own solo tour. However, unfortunately due to the coronavirus pandemic they have had to put this on hold for the time being.

To watch the documentary, and see for yourself the struggles that Crohn’s sufferers face in their day-to-day lives follow the link https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000njmn/strictly-amy-crohns-and-me