Amy Dowden reveals the medication she takes for Crohn’s disease has led to body shaming and abuse

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has said the medication she takes for Crohn’s disease has led to body shaming and abuse.  

Speaking to Hello! magazine on Monday, Amy revealed that a high dose of intravenous steroids made her gain weight and that people have made ‘spiteful’ comments. 

The 30-year-old professional dancer first admitted she was suffering from the condition in 2019, in a bid to help others. 

Spiteful: Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has said the medication she takes for Crohn's disease has led to body shaming and abuse after steroids caused her to gain weight

Spiteful: Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has said the medication she takes for Crohn's disease has led to body shaming and abuse after steroids caused her to gain weight

Spiteful: Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has said the medication she takes for Crohn’s disease has led to body shaming and abuse after steroids caused her to gain weight 

Crohn’s is described by the NHS as a lifelong condition in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed.

People with the disease commonly experience phases of intense abdominal pain, severe vomiting, exhaustion and bloody diarrhoea, among other symptoms.

And Amy revealed she has recently experienced a flare-up and the high dose of intravenous steroids she was given in hospital made her gain weight.

She said: ‘Although it made me feel better, it creates water retention, making my hips, thighs and bottom bloat and my face puffy. 

‘I want to look my best on the dance floor, but when you get photographed in an unflattering light and people make spiteful comments about your size, it can be very hurtful.’ 

Amy added that she has been dealing with the effect of medication on her body throughout her career.

She said: ‘I was either too skinny and people assumed I was anorexic, or I’d bloat from my medication.’ 

Tough: 'When you get photographed in an unflattering light and people make spiteful comments about your size, it can be very hurtful,' she revealed

Tough: 'When you get photographed in an unflattering light and people make spiteful comments about your size, it can be very hurtful,' she revealed

Tough: ‘When you get photographed in an unflattering light and people make spiteful comments about your size, it can be very hurtful,’ she revealed

She recalled: ‘I’d just come off the dance floor when a dressmaker in the changing room looked at me and said “She has a fat bottom and a thick middle”

‘I felt so humiliated and embarrassed. I was only 21 and still trying to deal with my condition. As a dancer struggling to fit into tiny costumes, I became very self-conscious.’

However, the pro dancer said the Strictly Come Dancing team are very supportive of her condition, adding: ‘Everyone has been so kind. If I’m not feeling well, the boys are so thoughtful and say “Nobody’s lifting Amy today”.’ 

Rock and a hard place: 'I was either too skinny and people assumed I was anorexic, or I'd bloat from my medication,' she added

Rock and a hard place: 'I was either too skinny and people assumed I was anorexic, or I'd bloat from my medication,' she added

Rock and a hard place: ‘I was either too skinny and people assumed I was anorexic, or I’d bloat from my medication,’ she added 

Out now: The full interview with Amy is in the latest issue of Hello! magazine

Out now: The full interview with Amy is in the latest issue of Hello! magazine

Out now: The full interview with Amy is in the latest issue of Hello! magazine

She continued: ‘Dianne [Buswell] is always checking on me and, when I had to go to hospital, Oti [Mabuse] got into a car the moment she finished filming and turned up at 11pm to see me.

‘Another time when I was ill, Katya [Jones] took me to hospital and sat with me until 5am.

‘I’m urging people to stop and think before they speak or write an unkind message.

‘Some people are too quick to comment about the way someone looks. They have no idea what the target of their remark is going through.’

The full interview with Amy is in the latest issue of Hello! magazine, out now.

'Everyone has been so kind': But the pro dancer said the Strictly Come Dancing team are very supportive of her condition and have even gone to hospital with her in the past

'Everyone has been so kind': But the pro dancer said the Strictly Come Dancing team are very supportive of her condition and have even gone to hospital with her in the past

‘Everyone has been so kind’: But the pro dancer said the Strictly Come Dancing team are very supportive of her condition and have even gone to hospital with her in the past 

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.

Inflammation most commonly occurs in the last section of the small or large intestine but it can affect any part of the digestive system. 

Common symptoms can include:

  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • unintended weight loss
  • blood and mucus in your faeces (stools)

Remission occurs when people with the disease go long periods of time without symptoms however these periods can be followed by flare ups of symptoms.  

Why it happens

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, research suggests a combination of factors may be responsible. These include:

genetics – genes you inherit from your parents may increase your risk of developing Crohn’s disease

the immune system – the inflammation may be caused by a problem with the immune system that causes it to attack healthy bacteria in the gut

previous infection – a previous infection may trigger an abnormal response from the immune system

smoking – smokers with Crohn’s disease usually have more severe symptoms than non-smokers

environmental factors – Crohn’s disease is most common in westernised countries such as the UK, and least common in poorer parts of the world such as Africa, which suggests the environment has a part to play 

Source: NHS 

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