- Celebrities Living with IBD: Raising Voices and Awareness
- Colitis and Crohn’s: Is 21st century living to blame?
- More than 200 genes identified
- IBD arises ‘in newly industrialized countries’
- Our living spaces influence IBD risk
- Inheritance, but not as we know it
- What does the future hold?
- 24 Celebrities Who Have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Hollywood Actress Shannen Doherty
- Canadian Hockey Star Theoren Fleury
- Hollywood Actress Amy Brenneman
- Comedian Ben Morrison
- Former New England Patriots Offensive Lineman Matt Light
- President John F. Kennedy
- L.A. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr.
- Marvin Bush
- Buffalo Bills Offensive Tackle Seantrel Henderson
- Olympic Rowing Champion Sir Steve Redgrave
- NFL Quarterback David Garrard
- Former Whitehouse Press Secretary Tony Snow
- Musician Mike McCready
- Nightline Co-Anchor Cynthia McFadden
- Singer/Songwriter Anastacia
- Canadian Right Wing Kevin Dineen
- Singer/Songwriter Beth Orton
- The Movie “Alien”
- Olympic Kayaker Carrie Johnson
- George “The Animal” Steele
- Golfer James Morrison
- Soccer Star Darren Fletcher
- Musician Chris Conley
- Olympic Swimmer Kathleen Baker
- SNL Cast Member Pete Davidson
- San Diego Chargers Placekicker Rolf Benirschke
- Just Like You: 6 Celebrities Living With IBD
- 7 Celebrities with Crohn’s Disease
- 1. Cynthia McFadden
- 2. Mike McCready
- 3. Frank Fritz
- 4. Anastacia
- 5. Dennis Kucinich
- 6. Ken Baumann
- 7. Carrie Johnson
Celebrities Living with IBD: Raising Voices and Awareness
Internal inflammation, frequent bathroom trips and abdominal pain: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be extremely painful, inconvenient, and uncomfortable to talk about. Chances are, however, that you probably know someone living with IBD, as it affects 1.6 million—or one in 200—Americans.
IBD, which comes in the form of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the intestines. Symptoms can run the gamut from gas and bloating to intestinal bleeding and severe abdominal pain. In addition, the number of IBD patients has increased over time, rising more than fivefold since the 1950s. In fact, it is especially common in the Pacific Northwest, where more than 50,000 IBD patients live.
If you’re living with IBD, you know that it can feel like an embarrassing subject to discuss—which is why it might surprise you to hear about the number of celebrities including Olympic athletes, rock stars, and actors who have spoken up about their diseases and discussed their symptoms with the public. From local Seattleite Mike McCready to Emmy-nominated Amy Brenneman and Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave, these celebrities have all opened up about their diseases and are using their platforms to share how they’ve achieved their goals while living with IBD.
Thanks to the support of the IBD community, Seattle rock legend and lead guitarist of Pearl Jam, Mike McCready has become a vocal advocate for people living with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In an open letter to the public, he recounted spending the first song of his opening set for the Rolling Stones in Oakland, a lifelong dream of his, inside of a Porta Potty with stomach pains triggered by his diseases. Initially, he was hesitant about opening up about his IBD—“for the most part, I didn’t talk about it; I was ashamed and didn’t know anyone who really knew anything about it anyway,” he said. The support from others living with IBD helped him better understand and open up about his experiences. “I went public with my condition to show people that despite the disease, you can still have a life and career,” he explained.
Actress Amy Brenneman’s list of accomplishments includes climbing to 19,000 feet in the Himalayas, playing Sylvester Stallone’s love interest, and learning to manage her IBD. Her journey with IBD ultimately led her to opt for surgical treatment for her ulcerative colitis. As Amy has explained, “surgery ended up being what healed me. I’m so grateful to Western medicine.” Amy has also been a powerful advocate for those living with IBD: in an interview with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCF), a volunteer-driven nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, she explained, “while I have found a way past my ulcerative colitis, there are so many who still suffer. That’s why I’m an active supporter of the CCF. They are helping people understand these conditions, building wider awareness and are tirelessly working towards a cure.
The extreme physical pain that a flare can trigger makes being a professional athlete especially difficult. Thanks to the right medication, five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave hasn’t let his ulcerative colitis stop him from doing what he loves. Redgrave has served as an inspiration for those living and affected by IBD, often pushing past symptoms that had him doubled over in pain to follow his dream of winning gold at the Olympics. “There were times when it seemed as if Colitis would prevent me from reaching that fifth gold medal but, with the right medical treatment, I’ve been able to keep the illness under control and continue with my life,” he’s said.
Whether it’s taking medication, modifying diet and nutrition plans, or choosing to undergo surgery, there are options out there for people living with IBD. Beyond the current options, organizations like the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) are leading research on the cutting edge to understand IBD, to both improve treatments and ultimately find a cure. BRI’s inflammatory bowel disease biorepository, which stores tissue samples collected from people living with and living without IBD, is at the center of this work. “The inflammatory bowel disease biorepository has an exciting advantage,” explains Dr. James Lord, gastroenterologist and researcher at BRI. “Doctors can gather tissue during colonoscopies and sample the target organ, where the inflammation is happening, with relative impunity,” he says, which gives researchers unique insights into how IBD works.
If you’re living with IBD and want to connect with others who have similar experiences, check out the CCF, as well as online support communities including the foundation’s I’ll Be Determined and Just Like Me IBD. Finding the right medical treatment and pursuing your dreams while living with IBD is possible—whether it’s striving for another Olympic medal or finally running that 5k on your calendar, these advocates show that there’s no reason your goals have to take a back seat to IBD.
Colitis and Crohn’s: Is 21st century living to blame?
Inflammatory bowel disease is on the rise, especially in countries that adopt a Western lifestyle. Find out what the latest research reveals about how our modern lifestyle affects our chances of developing inflammatory bowel disease.
Share on PinterestGenetics alone cannot explain who develops IBD. It’s time to look at our environment and lifestyle, researchers say.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for the myriad of conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of IBD.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why or how IBD develops, but a dysfunctional immune system that attacks the body’s own tissues is a classic sign of the condition.
Chronic inflammation causes the formation of ulcers and serious tissue damage, causing the symptoms that people affected by IBD experience. These include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and anemia. There is currently no cure for IBD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1–1.3 million people in the United States have some form of IBD, and the number is steadily rising.
While research is continuing to find genes linked to IBD risk, the focus has increasingly shifted to environmental and lifestyle factors.
Here, we look at research that has been published this year and shine the spotlight on the roles that industrialization, urban environments, and our inherited gut microbiomes play in IBD.
More than 200 genes identified
While no single underlying cause for IBD has been identified, genetics certainly play a role.
Jeffrey C. Barrett, Ph.D. — who is a senior group leader from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge in the United Kingdom — explains in an article published in the Journal of Autoimmunity that identical twins had nearly 10 times the rate of Crohn’s disease and nearly four times the rate of ulcerative colitis as non-identical twins.
This ” support the importance of genetics in IBD risk,” he says. But it is not straightforward.
More than 200 genetic variations in the DNA code have now been linked to IBD, and this number is continuing to rise as molecular biology technology is becoming ever more sophisticated.
What are all these genetic data telling us about IBD?
Certain biological processes or pathways keep on cropping up. These include genes involved in the innate immune response — including some genes responsible for keeping the lining of our gut intact — as well as those involved in the activation and regulation of the adaptive immune response.
Perhaps these findings come as no surprise; the classic hallmark of IBD is a dysregulated immune response. However, without detailed knowledge of how these pathways are disrupted, treatments will mostly focus on symptoms, rather than the underlying causes of the condition.
Yet genetics can only explain a proportion of the risk associated with developing IBD.
IBD arises ‘in newly industrialized countries’
Prof. Gilaad G. Kaplan — who is a gastroenterologist and epidemiologist at the University of Calgary in Canada — and colleagues recently published an article in The Lancet thathighlights how IBD rates have evolved across the globe.
In North America, Australia, and most countries in Europe, IBD rates are estimated to have passed the 0.3 percent mark, but the number of new cases diagnosed each year has reached a plateau.
“More striking,” explains Prof. Kaplan, “is the observation that as newly industrialized countries have transitioned towards a westernized society, inflammatory bowel disease emerges and its incidence rises rapidly.”
Industrialization and a Western lifestyle are now clearly in the mix of culprits to blame for rising IBD rates.
“During the past 100 years, the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease has risen, then plateaued in the western world, whereas countries outside the western world seem to be in the first stage of this sequence.”
Prof. Gilaad G. Kaplan
This puts IBD squarely into the category of being a global burden, posing significant challenges for doctors and health policy makers.
“Consequently,” Prof. Kaplan adds, “these countries will need to prepare their clinical infrastructure and personnel to manage this complex and costly disease.”
But healthcare expenditure for IBD is very high: the cost of treating the condition in the U.S. has been estimated to be in the region of between $14.6 and $31.6 billion each year.
Our living spaces influence IBD risk
Back in July, we reported on a population study that looked at the influence of rural and urban environments on IBD.
While there was already evidence from several individual studies and a systematic review, pointing at the role of our living spaces on the chances of developing IBD, there were inconsistencies between the different study designs.
The research — which was led by Dr. Eric I. Benchimol, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada — identified that living in a rural environment offered significant protection against IBD, particularly in those below the age of 18.
The study involved more than 45,000 people, of which 14.6 percent lived in a rural postcode, and more people were city dwellers at the time that they received their IBD diagnosis.
In order to study the effect of early life exposure on subsequent IBD risk, Prof. Benchimol and his colleagues also assessed 331 rural IBD patients and compared them with 2,302 urban patients.
“Exposure to the rural environment from birth was consistently associated with a strong protective association with the development of IBD later in life, whether children were exposed continuously for 1 to 5 years from birth.”
Prof. Eric I. Benchimol
He adds that “the mechanism by which rurality protects against IBD is uncertain, and may include dietary and lifestyle factors, environmental exposures, or segregation of individuals with different genetic risk profiles.”
Inheritance, but not as we know it
Dr. Martin Blaser — a professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City — and team study the human microbiome. Previous work by Prof. Blaser and other groups indicates that antibiotics have a long-lasting effect and increase the level of risk of developing IBD that we inherit from our mothers.
The initial boost of microbes that we are exposed to at birth is crucial in getting our immune system off to a good start.
In a new study in Nature Microbiology, Prof. Blaser and colleagues found that it is not the antibiotics per se that cause an increase in IBD risk. Rather, antibiotic use changes the mother’s microbiome, which is then passed to the baby at birth.
“Our results provide strong evidence that antibiotics change the baby’s inherited microbial communities with long-term disease consequences, which is especially important given the widespread use of antibiotics in young women before and during pregnancy.”
Prof. Martin Blaser
Mice that were genetically engineered to carry increased susceptibility to ulcerative colitis showed a 55-fold increase in bowel inflammation when they inherited their mother’s antibiotic-treated gut bacteria.
This means that mothers can pass on an increased risk of developing IBD to their children not via their genes, but via their own microbiome.
“The basis for inheritance of IBD might possibly be quite different from what we had been thinking for many years,” explains Prof. Blaser.
What does the future hold?
Prof. Kaplan concludes his article by saying, “he changing global burden of inflammatory bowel disease during the next decade will require a two-pronged solution that involves research into interventions to prevent inflammatory bowel disease and innovations in the delivery of care to patients with inflammatory bowel disease.”
By combining the research efforts of geneticists, epidemiologist, microbiologists, physicians, and pharmaceutical scientists, we will hopefully get to the bottom of the many factors that influence whether a person develops IBD.
Armed with this knowledge, we can look to new treatments and technologies that aim to address the underlying disease pathways, and — crucially — the environmental and lifestyle factors that clearly contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases.
24 Celebrities Who Have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can strike anyone at any time and being a celebrity does not make you immune. IBD doesn’t shy away from the rich, powerful, and famous. It also doesn’t stop them from achieving greatness!
Here is a list of 24 celebrities, from the worlds of sports, music, politics and more, all with either Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. If you have kids, this would be a great blog to share with them. Let them know, they’re not alone in their disease and they can accomplish anything they set their hearts out to. Just take a look below.
LA Lakers basketball star, Larry Nance Jr. says it best “Never let it hold you back or limit your life in any way.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The 34th President of the United States of America was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease while in office in 1956. Despite being hospitalized at Walter Reed Hospital where he underwent surgery, President Eisenhower was re-elected to a second term.
Hollywood Actress Shannen Doherty
Famous for her role as Brenda Walsh in Beverly Hills, 90210 and as Prue Halliwell on Charmed, Shannen Doherty has played some great characters on television and the big screen. While filming for these and other roles, she was battling Crohn’s, but kept it from the public. In a 1999 interview with Star magazine, Doherty disclosed her condition, revealing that she had remained silent about it because it wasn’t very sexy.
Canadian Hockey Star Theoren Fleury
Theoren Fleury is another athlete, famous for his ice hockey career. The retired Canadian hockey star is a Stanley Cup champ and an Olympic gold medal winner. In 1995, Fleury was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and today is a motivational speaker.
Hollywood Actress Amy Brenneman
Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/AP Photo
Amy Brenneman is a well-known Hollywood actress who has starred in television hits like Judging Amy, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice. Off-camera, she uses her celebrity as a strong supporter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Brenneman struggled with ulcerative colitis, one form of IBD, for years before she finally agreed to surgery, which she says on the CCFA Web site is what ultimately healed her. Brenneman is an advocate for CCFA, because she wants to help the millions of others struggling with ulcerative colitis.
Comedian Ben Morrison
Some people take their problems in stride, while others make fun of them. Comedian Ben Morrison turned his awkward years in high school and college as a student “with a poop disease” to create his funny and cathartic show, “Pain in the Butt: a Touching Tale about a Touchy Tail.”
Former New England Patriots Offensive Lineman Matt Light
Matt Light was diagnosed during his rookie season in 2001 and quietly battled Crohn’s for a decade. Light says that during his football career, he couldn’t take most Crohn’s medications, and missed games because he was too sick to play. The three-time Super Bowl champion eventually had surgery to remove more than a foot of his intestine. Now retired from football, the athlete shares his story with others to raise awareness and educate the public about Crohn’s disease.
President John F. Kennedy
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
The former president may have had a heart-stopping smile, but behind it was pain. Though it was hidden from the public during his presidency, JFK struggled for most of his life with severe diarrhea and took antispasmodic drugs to try to control his IBD. Reviews of his medical records indicate that he may have suffered from ulcerative colitis, and some reports show he was diagnosed as a child. Other reports on his health indicate that he may have had IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, rather than ulcerative colitis.
By Mike Purgatori (Larry Nance in for the slam)
L.A. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr.
L.A. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. is on steroids, but not the performance enhancing drugs that you might think. Nance confided recently that he takes prednisone for Crohn’s disease. He also takes Remicade, which he says changed his life. The basketball player has lived with Crohn’s since he was first diagnosed at age 16. Today, at age 24, he’s in remission. His message is always the same: “Never let it hold you back or limit your life in any way.”
Photo Credit: Charles Dharaphak/AP Photo
Marvin Bush is the youngest son of former President George H.W. Bush. In 1990, he was a celebrity spokesman for the National Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis, speaking out about the ulcerative colitis diagnosis he received in 1985, when he was 28 years old. He tried medications, he told The Baltimore Sun in an interview, but lived in denial about his IBD. The next year, hospitalized after losing 30 pounds and suffering from severe internal bleeding, he underwent surgery to remove his colon.
Buffalo Bills Offensive Tackle Seantrel Henderson
Last year, the NFL suspended Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson for 10 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. According to CBS Sports, Henderson was taking prescribed medical marijuana for both his Crohn’s disease and the pain resulting from two intestinal surgeries tied to the condition. In an interview last October with the Buffalo News, Henderson told the newspaper, “I’ve got doctors telling me this is the No. 1 medicine that would help with your disease. You try to tell that to the league, and it seems like they didn’t care too much.”
Olympic Rowing Champion Sir Steve Redgrave
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave is one very successful athlete, in fact one of the most accomplished. As he was training for the Barcelona Olympic games, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. He received treatment for his IBD and was able to successfully compete until his retirement after the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. Redgrave is one of many famous people who support Crohn’s and Colitis UK and helps bring awareness to ulcerative colitis.
NFL Quarterback David Garrard
Drafted in 2002, David Garrard played quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2004, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s and underwent surgery that removed nearly a foot of his intestines. Still, he played in the 2004 season as starting quarterback for the Jaguars.
Former Whitehouse Press Secretary Tony Snow
Former White House press secretary Snow died at age 53 after a battle with colon cancer. In a 2006 radio interview with Houston gastroenterologist Joseph S. Galati, MD, Snow, then a Fox News commentator, says, “I had ulcerative colitis for 27 years. It is, at least in my case, probably congenital.”
Musician Mike McCready
Diagnosed at the age of 21, Mike McCready took control of his condition and went on to help form Pearl Jam in 1990, igniting the grunge rock era.
After publicly announcing his condition, McCready took on the activist role, volunteering with the northwest chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, including lending his talents for fundraisers.
Nightline Co-Anchor Cynthia McFadden
Cynthia McFadden is the co-anchor of Nightline and Primetime and a correspondent for ABC News. McFadden also has to treat Crohn’s disease daily. She, like many other celebrities, uses her notoriety to raise awareness about the condition, including public service announcements.
At the age of 13, Anastacia, an American singer and songwriter, was diagnosed with Crohn’s. After undergoing surgery to remove part of her intestinal tract, she was bound to a wheelchair and had to learn how to walk again. While trying to lose weight to make it in show business, she suffered a severe flare.
Canadian Right Wing Kevin Dineen
The Canadian right wing struggled with Crohn’s disease throughout his 19-year National Hockey League career, particularly in the early years after his 1987 diagnosis.
Dineen, now coach of the Florida Panthers, tells USA Hockey magazine that the disease was “a real eye-opening experience” because there’s no quick fix. “This is a chronic, debilitating disease that’s with you for life,” he says. “It took me a couple of years to come to grips with that.”
Singer/Songwriter Beth Orton
Elizabeth Caroline “Beth” Orton is an English singer-songwriter, known for her ‘folktronica’ sound, which mixes elements of folk and electronica. She was initially recognized for her collaborations with William Orbit, Red Snapper and the Chemical Brothers in the mid-1990s. She released a solo album in 1993, Superpinkymandy, but since the album was only released in Japan, it went largely unnoticed by international audiences.
The Movie “Alien”
photo source: http://www.empireonline.com
What wasn’t widely known about this cult classic of a movie is that the writer of the script for the 70’s cult class, “Alien,” (O’Bannon, who died in 2009) battled Crohn’s disease himself. According to a recent book by colleague Zinoman; “The digestion process felt like something bubbling inside of struggling to get out. From his own torment came the idea for the alien bloodily punching its way out of John Hurt’s chest during dinner.”
Olympic Kayaker Carrie Johnson
Kayaker Carrie Johnson made it to three Summer Olympic Games despite her Crohn’s disease. Back in 2003, anemia, fatigue, and weight loss forced her to stop training. After many tests, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s, and doctors helped her manage the disease. She qualified for her first Olympics in Athens a year later. In her most recent Olympics, the 2012 London Games, Johnson reached the semifinals in two events.
George “The Animal” Steele
His given name is William James (Jim) Myers, but professional wrestling fans know him as George “The Animal” Steele. His career in the ring spanned more than two decades, culminating in his induction into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1995. Steele’s fight with Crohn’s disease began in 1988. He says he regained his health after a 2002 surgery to remove his colon.
Golfer James Morrison
British golfer James Morrison was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 16 years old. During the 2011 French Open, a flare-up landed him in the hospital, but Morrison rallied and managed to finish the competition. Although most people with Crohn’s have to watch what they eat, Morrison says he doesn’t have many problems with his diet. But, he adds, symptoms like fatigue tend to creep up in warm weather. To stay in tip-top shape for golfing, Morrison exercises and takes dietary supplements.
Soccer Star Darren Fletcher
Photo Credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images
Soccer star Darren Fletcher, a midfielder for Manchester United, is struggling to maintain his superstar soccer celebrity while battling ulcerative colitis. Diagnosed in 2011, he had to sit out part of a season before he returned to the field in September 2012. But in January 2013, Fletcher announced he was stepping off the field again in order to undergo surgery to get his ulcerative colitis under control and hopefully be able to resume his career on the soccer field.
Musician Chris Conley
Christopher Lane “Chris” Conley is an American musician, songwriter, and composer. He is also the lead-singer/rhythm guitarist in Saves the Day. He is the only remaining original member, as well as major artistic contributor. Chris continued to tour despite having Crohn’s disease.
We’re continuing the list:
Olympic Swimmer Kathleen Baker
Kathleen Baker is an American competition swimmer who specializes in the freestyle and backstroke events. She won a gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 4×100-meter medley relay and a silver medal in the individual 100-meter backstroke. When she was 11 she watched the Olympics in Beijing and fell in love. When she was 14, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and everyone thought her dreams of becoming an Olympian were over. Boy were the wrong.
SNL Cast Member Pete Davidson
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Pete was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 17 years old and had been a big proponent of medical marijuana for years, while working on the cast of Saturday Night Live. He is now clean and sober – “I quit drugs and am clean and sober for the first time in 8 years. It wasn’t easy, but I got a great girl, great friends and consider myself a lucky man”.
San Diego Chargers Placekicker Rolf Benirschke
As the third most accurate placekicker in NFL history at the time of his retirement, Rolf Benirschke had an famous 10-year career with the San Diego Chargers from 1977 to 1986. In his second season, Rolf was struck with ulcerative colitis, which required major abdominal surgery the following season, and nearly cost him his life. His faith, family, personal drive and teammates helped him return to the NFL to continue his remarkable football career.
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Just Like You: 6 Celebrities Living With IBD
Celebrities seem exempt from all the things that make us human like worrying about the bills, having pores and looking ridiculous on photos that are not selfies. Celebrities also seem to have it easy on the health front – with their personal trainers, diet plans made by top-notch nutritionists that are themselves famous professionals, expensive equipment and every opportunity to make their lives less stressful responsibility-wise, it’s hard to picture them having any health concerns at all.
We at FindMeCure have a history of dispelling this myth by talking about the health issues of the rich and famous. It’s not an attempt on our part to reiterate the boring – and so often untrue – saying that ‘you can’t buy health’ or a way to be gloating over someone’s misfortune, far from it.
By talking about famous people who like any regular Joe or Jane are faced with difficulties and have to figure out ways to overcome their health issues, we’re trying to tell you that you’re in no way alone in your struggles. There is no special group of exceptionally blessed people that you just don’t have the good luck to belong to.
We all experience pain the same and even though in some parts of the world health does cost money, ultimately no one is guaranteed a recovery and we still haven’t discovered the no-fail cure for all ailments.
Now without further ado, we’ll let you know which celebrities share your condition because in a way they really are ‘just like us’.
The former president of the United States John F. Kennedy himself lived with an IBD. some reposts indicate that he suffered from Ulcerative colitis, while others claim it was, in fact, IBS – irritable bowels syndrome.
One thing is certain, however, the man who is still rumored to have had an affair with Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe had to fight a very embarrassing condition behind closed doors. He took strong antispasmodic drugs to control his severe diarrhea.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Another former US president to have suffered from an IBD. Eisenhower was diagnosed in 1956, while still a president, with Crohn’s disease. He was even hospitalized during his presidency in order to undergo surgery, before being re-elected.
For all the pain and anxiety IBD causes, apparently, you can run a country for eight years while fighting your chronic disease and all of the mental distress it brings along. Far from telling you to ‘just be strong’ or ‘get over it’, we’d like you to know that an IBD diagnosis is not a death sentence in the sense that it will prevent you from fulfilling your goals, chasing your dreams and ultimately live a life of service, growth, and satisfaction.
If you’ve ever been worried about how ‘unsexy’ an IBD is, you’re not alone in this. Actress Shannen Doherty famous for her role as Prue Halliwell in the cult TV series Charmed had been keeping her Crohn’s disease secret because, in her own words, it wasn’t very sexy.
Shannen Doherty, however, remained a sex symbol long after that 1999 interview in which she disclosed her health issues, proving that struggling with a chronic disease doesn’t have to take away from your charm and appeal. It’s the way you handle whatever life throws at you that affects how people see you. You can be sexy and still be human with all the embarrassing, ridiculous, sad and vulnerable parts of it.
Athletes can have health issues too and not just of the injury variety. Football player Matt Light who is a three-time Super Bowl champion has battled Crohn’s disease for a decade and told the press that during his football career he couldn’t take most of his Crohn’s medication – corticosteroids which are often prescribed in such cases can lead to disqualification.
Matt Light eventually had a surgery to remove a part of his intestine and how, retired from football, he is dedicated to raising awareness about Crohn’s disease.
If you’re too young to know who singer Anastacia is, you missed out on a pop culture gem. The pop diva was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 13 and had to undergo a surgery to remove parts of her digestive tract.
However, in an interview the singer mostly focuses on the large scar that remained, sharing her fears and concerns that no man could now ever love her, “They’d given me a big scar and no guy would ever want to touch me and love me – or that was pretty much what I thought.” The medicine she had to take to manage her condition made her gain weight and after a producer told her she had to lose it, Anastacia reportedly went on a diet of fruit and fiber.
After the huge flare-up that followed the singer had to gain a new perspective. She says she ‘learned not to be vain’ and treasure her inner qualities more than the ‘outer shell’.
Even rock stars can have an IBD and Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready is proof that the opposite is true as well – people with an IBD can still be rock stars.
McCready says he spent a lot of the time he was supposed to be on stage in the bathroom instead and that he had ‘accidents’ on stage too. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease years after first experiencing concerning symptoms at the age of 21.
Now in his fifties, McCready is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and he said in a statement, “I went public with my condition to show people that despite the disease, you can still have a life and career”.
His message is close to what we would like you to take away from this piece – an IBD doesn’t have to prevent you from chasing your dreams and being an absolute rock star. Sure, Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist spent some songs in the bathroom on tour but he was still there for many of them and we still know him as Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist.
Nelly Katsarova 6:00 pm
7 Celebrities with Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes severe intestinal inflammation. People who are diagnosed with the condition often experience symptoms like pain, diarrhea, and fatigue.
It’s unclear how many people live with this disease because it’s often underdiagnosed or not reported to doctors, but experts estimate up to 780,000 Americans have it.
While you’re more likely to develop Crohn’s disease if someone else in your family has the condition, anyone can be diagnosed with it. Crohn’s disease occurs in people both young and old, famous and unknown. Learn more about celebrities and notable people who’ve lived — and thrived — with Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease: Symptoms to watch out for “
1. Cynthia McFadden
Cynthia McFadden is NBC’s senior legal and investigative correspondent. Before joining NBC, she was an anchor and correspondent at ABC for 20 years.
Prior to her television journalism career, however, McFadden was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. During her sophomore year of college, the disease became increasingly troublesome and painful.
McFadden’s friends dubbed the new disease “George” so they could talk about her symptoms and illness more inconspicuously. “They weren’t going to say, ‘Did you have 15 diarrhea attacks today?’ So instead they’d ask me, ‘How’s George?’” McFadden said.
Shortly after graduating college, McFadden experienced internal bleeding. Treatment for that required surgery to remove 15 feet of intestine. Since that time, she’s lived without the disease and launched a highly successful career in journalism. “I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to live my life around George,” she said.
2. Mike McCready
The quintessential rock star life is filled with parties, loud music, and crazy times. But for Pearl Jam’s lead guitarist Mike McCready, his rock star life meant spending a lot of time in bathrooms.
“I was successful beyond my wildest dreams musically, but very sick physically. I had ‘accidents’ on stage, and spent the first song of my lifelong dream of opening for the Rolling Stones in a side-stage Porta Potty,” McCready wrote for Huffington Post in 2012.
His first serious symptoms showed up when he was 21, but it took several more years before the now-51-year-old musician would be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He still deals with the symptoms and complications of this disease, but he has a supportive team of bandmates who are sympathetic and helpful.
Today, McCready uses his condition to raise awareness and funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He hopes seeing people like himself be honest about the struggles, realities, and victories of this disease will bring others to seek a diagnosis, treatment, and eventually acceptance.
3. Frank Fritz
He’s most famous for picking his way through other people’s hidden treasures, but the co-host of the History Channel’s “American Pickers” certainly wouldn’t have picked this disease for himself.
“Crohn’s is a terrible, terrible disease,” Fritz told the Quad-City Times. “It’s a disease that affects so many peoples’ lives and their family members.”
Fritz, who is on the road more than 175 days a year, has found ways to follow his dreams while dealing with the daily realities of Crohn’s disease. He adjusts his eating schedule around filming times, and he relies on the “American Pickers” crew to help him cope with his frequent trips to the bathroom.
“My entire crew knows about my Crohn’s,” he said during an interview with National Enquirer. “They understand it when I need a break. I mean, if I have to go, I have to GO!”
The pop star is best known for her eclectic style and early 2000s hits like “I’m Outta Love” and “Paid My Dues.” But while she was electrifying radios and selling out concerts, the American singer-songwriter was dealing with something bigger: Crohn’s disease.
“Bottling things up fuels the symptoms of Crohn’s. I have had to learn not to be frightened of feelings. You might think it strange that I still wanted to fulfil my ambition of becoming a singer, trying to make it in a business that is so difficult and so pressurized,” she told Daily Mail.
Anastacia was diagnosed with the digestive tract disorder at just 13. She’s dealt with the symptoms and complications since then. Today, the 48-year-old is still producing music and looking forward to a life well lived, despite her diagnosis.
“What is seen as a curse for some is a gift for me because it has helped me to discover who I really am,” she said.
5. Dennis Kucinich
The former mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, former U.S. Congressman from Ohio, and once Democratic Party presidential hopeful served eight terms representing the people of Ohio’s 10th district. Throughout his multiple tenures, he was also living with Crohn’s disease.
Earlier in life, he underwent a few surgeries to treat the condition but found the most success with alternative diets.
“I had Crohn’s disease very bad as a young person. I mean, it literally almost killed me,” he told Lifescript. “In 1995, I met someone who was a vegan, and I tried it, and I started to experience a totally different response in my body to the food that I was eating. As a result, it put me on a path towards becoming totally vegan.”
6. Ken Baumann
He was a book publisher, designer, and an author before he got his biggest break, being cast as Ben Boykewich on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” But his busy schedule wasn’t enough to keep symptoms of Crohn’s disease at bay, so the now 27-year-old star decided to be open about his experiences.
At 22, Baumann underwent surgery to treat the condition and lost 20 pounds in the process. He chose to go public with his story so that younger fans of his show wouldn’t be ashamed or scared of the pain and symptoms they might be experiencing, too.
“If you have a sense of humor, even when you’re in pain, it helps. When I did my first fart after surgery it was like hearing Beethoven’s Ninth,” he said.
7. Carrie Johnson
Olympic athletes are often a specimen of health and wellness. That’s why Carrie Johnson’s story is an inspiring but unlikely tale.
The three-time Olympic canoer was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2003, just a year before her first Olympic appearance. She still managed to qualify for the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics, and she finished with a gold in the 2011 Pan American Games.
Still, those accomplishments don’t prevent her from facing down days thanks to Crohn’s toll on her body. “When I have the harder days, I have a real appreciation for just being able to train,” Johnson told CNN in 2012.
“In addition to achieving my athletic dream, I saw that I could live any life I wanted despite Crohn’s,” Johnson wrote for Girls with Guts. “Walking in to the Olympic Stadium in Athens Greece is still one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.”
After the 2012 games, Johnson enrolled in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
The best Crohn’s disease blogs of the year “
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can strike anyone at any time and being a celebrity does not make you immune. We’ve compiled a list of seven famous personalities who suffer from ulcerative colitis using information from health.com and everydayhealth.com. Discover some yoga asanas for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients. Marvin Bush The youngest son of President George H.W. Bush, Marvin Bush was 28 when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1985. Bush used his famous name to raise awareness of the condition and in 1990, became an advocate and spokesperson for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Bush’s UC was so severe he needed to have part of his colon removed and an ostomy bag fitted. Fernando Pisani The now-retired hockey player is most remembered for the time he spent with the Edmonton Oilers, though he did play a season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Pisani was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2005 and two years later the disease began to wreak havoc on his health. Pisani admitted that he needed to go to the bathroom more than 30 times a day and lost 40 pounds. He managed to get his condition under control with steroids and biologic medications. Amy Brenneman Actress Amy Brenneman is an Emmy award-winning actress famous for her roles in several TV shows including Private Practice, Judging Amy, and The Leftovers. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis during her second pregnancy and in 2010 underwent an operation to remove her colon. Brenneman is also an active spokeswoman for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. What are the differences between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis? Find out here. Casey Abrams Casey Abrams shot to fame on Subscribe or log in to access all post and page content.