Reality TV star Sam Faiers has described how she was hit by ‘agonising cramps’ just days after entering the Celebrity Big Brother house last month which meant she couldn’t eat or drink anything without being violently ill.
The Only Way is Essex star told This Morning’s Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she had been ‘so excited’ about going on the programme but that it had quickly turned into a nightmare.
‘I can’t explain how gutted I was,’ she said. ‘I had been really looking forward to it.’
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However just five days into the show, Sam was hit by really bad stomach cramps within minutes of eating or drinking anything which led to being sick or bouts of diarrhoea.
‘It was awful to have it in the Big Brother house,’ she said. ‘For nearly a month I couldn’t hold any food or drink dow
Sam was joined on the This Morning sofa by Dr Chris Steele who helped explain the little-known condition
She saw the programme’s doctor who thought that Sam could be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and gave her some medication to relieve the symptons.
However the cramps persisted and it was thought she could be suffering from a virus.
The 23-year-old blonde started to suspect that it was something more serious.
‘I was in the shower and noticed that the weight was just falling off me,’ she recalls. ‘It also affected my skin. It sounds really gross but I had huge boils which burst in front of Louisa. I couldn’t believe it was happening on Big Brother!’
Looking cheerful – Sam said she was refusing to let her Crohn’s disease get her down
There were days in the Big Brother house when Sam just couldn’t physically get out of bed as her joints were aching so much and she was shivering uncontrollably.
Even when she could get up she couldn’t drink with the others or take part in many of the tasks which led to her being branded as ‘boring’ by viewers who had no idea she was so ill.
However Sam said that even though viewers were kept in the dark about her condition, her mother suspected that there might be a problem.
‘She knew something was wrong,’ said Sam. ‘I was just too quiet. I just couldn’t get involved with the others, it was as if I had the flu.’
Sam is now on meal-replacement shakes and says that she’s feeling better all the time
When she heard that the programme makers were extending the show by another five days, Sam started to think that she wouldn’t be able to make it.
‘But I thought that I’m come so far I’m just going to have to try and make it all the way to the end,’ she said.
This Morning’s Dr Chris Steele explained that Crohn’s disease was an inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract which often affects people between the ages of 15 and 30 years old.
Sam looked fabulous at the ITV studio today for her This Morning appearance
Sam says that she fell ill with stomach cramps and diarrhoea just days into her stay on Celebrity Big Brother
She might have been feeling terrible but Sam still managed to look great in the house
Sam admitted that she had been getting symptons such as diarrhoea for a year but had just put them down to her partying lifestyle.
There is no known cause but smoking is thought to be a factor – and Sam said that she hadn’t touched a cigarette for five weeks now.
She is currently on medication to treat the condition and for the next six weeks will just drink meal-replacement shakes to give her system a rest.
‘I’m improving all the time,’ she said.
Sam was determined to make it to through to the end of Celebrity Big Brother
In spite of being branded ‘boring’ by viewers who didn’t know she was ill, Sam finished 5th overall
Seeing her family, including fellow TOWIE star Billie who is expecting her first child, so concerned about her has made Sam more determined to feel positive about her condition.
‘My family were really concerned and upset,’ she said. ‘It made me want to be more positive and I want to get awareness out there.’
Dr Steele said that while at the moment there was no known cure for the condition, meanwhile Sam will learn how to live with Crohn’s, he also said that it was very manageable.
‘Rick Parfitt of Status Quo had it since he was 10,’ he said. ‘It can be managed. But people shouldn’t ignore it if they have any symptoms – they would need to see a specialist.
Symptoms of Crohn’s include weight-loss, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, aching limbs and weakness.