Megan Mckenna: TOWIE star on her ‘really awful’ secret health battle

Megan McKenna, 27, first entered the public eye in 2009, reaching the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent as part of the music duo Harmony. She then joined the cast of The Only Way Is Essex in 2016 before exiting the show to pursue her music career. Her chosen career path has not been plain sailing, however. In an interview with MailOnline, the TOWIE star turned country singer revealed she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) last year.

People were really criticising me

Megan McKenna

According to the NHS, IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system.

As the health body explains, people with IBS tend to experience the following symptoms:

  • Stomach pain or cramps – usually worse after eating and better after doing a poo
  • Bloating – a person’s tummy may feel uncomfortably full and swollen
  • Diarrhoea – a person may have watery poo and sometimes need to poo suddenly
  • Constipation – a person may strain when pooing and feel like they cannot empty their bowels fully

The TOWIE star revealed her fluctuating weight has made her a target online: “I didn’t know what it was and people were really criticising me, saying you look anorexic, you look skeletal, it’s disgusting.

“It annoys me that people think they have the right to say it to me or have the right to call someone fat. The trolls online are vile.

“I was dealing with it in private which was upsetting me because a lot of people were commenting with my weight.”

The reality star revealed the toll it took on her professional life, having to dash to the toilet because of her bowel issues.

Megan also divulged the impact it has had on her social life. The reality star recounted how her intense bouts of bloating forced her to leave social engagements.

As the NHS explained, there may be days when a person’s symptoms are better and days when they’re worse (flare-ups). They may be triggered by food or drink.

Fortunately, the star has found taking probiotics an effective way to manage her symptoms.

“Probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut (including your stomach and intestines) when it’s been disrupted by an illness or treatment,” explained the NHS.

According the health body, there’s no single diet or medicine that works for everyone with IBS. Fortunately, there are lots of things that can help if a person has been diagnosed with it.

General tips to relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms include:

  • Cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients when you can
  • Keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you get – try to avoid things that trigger your IBS
  • Try to find ways to relax
  • Get plenty of exercise

Megan hopes to use her public profile to raise awareness about IBS.

She said: “When it comes to things [IBS], it is embarrassing and it can take over your life.’

“But hopefully by talking about it and saying that there are ways around it, I can help people.”

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