Only Twitter could turn a discussion of a teenage girl’s health issues into an international talking point. That’s what has happened with former Justin Bieber girlfriend Caitlin Beadles: over the past few hours, rumours of stomach cancer spread, only to be knocked back; the latest rumour is Crohn’s Disease.
Update: Since this post was written, there have been new reports that Caitlin Beadles might have stomach cancer.
Crohn’s Disease (aka regional enteritis) is a form of inflammation of the intestines that can cause complications all through the digestive system, from mouth to anus. The main symptoms are stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. It is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the intestines. There is no cure, but the condition can be treated and symptoms minimised.
As someone who has had a family member suffer from Crohn’s Disease, I can confirm that while it’s not usually fatal and is manageable, it’s not pleasant for the sufferer and it can affect your lifestyle. It can also be very uncomfortable and painful at times, and can restrict your diet. Find out more at the Crohn’s and Colitis UK site.
It’s easy to dismiss anything Bieber-related as hormonal white noise, but the fact is that thousands of teenagers have been discussing health issues online. Many will now know what Crohn’s Disease is. So in a bizarre way, the profile of this condition will have been raised. It’s like a kind of crowdsourced group learning experience, tinged with some genuine sympathy for someone who’s apparently going through a tough time.