Strictly’s Amy Dowden reveals secret health battle that could impact live shows

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has bravely opened up on her secret health battle.

The professional dancer has been battling Crohn's disease since childhood, but was only diagnosed when she was 19.

Speaking on today's This Morning, Amy said she "doesn't want any sympathy" but wants to raise awareness for the condition.

Amy revealed she had only confided in a handful of her Strictly co-stars about her illness and the production team.

Admitting she knows what it feels like to have dancing taken away from her, she said: "I’m not Amy with Crohn's. I’m Amy the dancer. It won’t define me. I believe it was meant to happen. It's made me stronger."

"I don’t allow it to worry me. I think positive attitude is the best. A slight symptom, I’m on to it. The production team on Strictly are incredible."

Amy, who has been paired with comic Brian Conley (2017) and actor Danny John-Jules (2018) during her time on Strictly, said fellow pro dancers Oti Mabuse and Dianne Buswell have seen her symptoms first hand.

She said: "I don’t want sympathy. It's not something I'll sit and talk about. Sometimes they’ll see me and think Amy is down today. Deep down I think they know.

On whether it could effect live shows, she said: "I guess that is a possibility – but anybody could come down with a sickness bug on the day or have an injury.

"There's always a back up plan. I talk to the production team and we're on top of it."

Amy was inspired to campaign for awareness after receiving a letter from 9-year-old Lacey, who thanked her for speaking out.

She suffered crippling symptoms, such as extreme pain, stomach cramps and vomiting, as a child but only got diagnosed eight years later.

Amy said: "I was hardly in school. I was in and out of hospital. It took until 19 until I got diagnosed. It came with a vengeance when I was 18.

"My body couldn't cope. It shut down. I'd need to go to hospital."

Amy ended the interview by confirming she would be back for this year's series of Strictly.

*This Morning airs weekdays on ITV at 10.30am

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