- Zanna van Dijk, 26, is a blogger and personal trainer who hosts a BBC podcast
- London-based fitness writer boasts more than 300k followers on social media
- She was rushed into hospital with stomach pain while on holiday in the Maldives
- The influencer needed emergency surgery for a double twisted bowel, she said
A glamorous BBC presenter live-streamed a terrifying ordeal that saw her rushed to hospital after suffering crippling stomach pain during a holiday in the Maldives.
Zanna van Dijk, 26, was enjoying a sun-kissed getaway when she was admitted to a local hospital after waking up in agony.
The personal trainer and fitness blogger is now recovering and in a ‘good condition’ following surgery to have her twisted bowel (volvulus) reversed and her appendix removed.
Zanna was staying at the luxury Niyama Private Islands retreat when she was rushed to the hospital earlier this week and kept in overnight. She said she was fed ‘lots of drugs’ while experiencing ‘lots of pain and lots of vomiting’ before she got her diagnosis.
Taking to Instagram on Tuesday, the host of BBC 5live’s ‘Fit & Fearless’ updated fans on her traumatic ordeal, writing: ‘I’m alive!
Zanna’s friend, Steph Elswood, who blogs as ‘Healthy Chef Steph’ and was travelling with her, also shared pictures of her hospitalisation, including her appendix removal. Steph said she was incredibly worried about her friend – but has since shared her relief that she’s ok
‘The doctors couldn’t find a cause and the pain wouldn’t go away despite being administered every drug they could give me.
‘It was crippling me so they flew me to the capital, Male. Here at a larger hospital, they did more tests and finally found a cause, a double twisted bowel.’
Zanna also revealed that she had undergone emergency surgery.
‘I was told that worst-case scenario I would be left living with a stoma bag,’ she continued. ‘I cried my eyes out as I went into the operating theatre.
WHAT IS VOLVULUS?
Volvulus is a condition in which the bowel twists so much it cuts off the blood supply to part of the organ, similarly to how a balloon produces pinch points when it’s twisted.
The illness can be a life-threatening emergency and requires quick surgery to treat it.
If part of the bowel does not receive enough blood because of the twisting, it can start to die. And the condition can cause painful bowel obstruction.
Symptoms of volvulus include pain and tenderness in the abdomen, vomiting, blood in the faeces and constipation.
Doctors can confirm the condition using blood tests, X-rays and other scans, and it is usually treated in surgery to manually untwist the bowel.
If part of the intestine has died because the blood supply was cut off it may have to be removed and the patient left with stomas – bags on the outside of the body which are connected to the intestines – if it is a large section.
Volvulus is more common among children. Figures suggest the condition strike around one in 50,000 people each year.
Causes in adults may include an enlarged colon, problems with healing after surgery or injuries, abnormalities in the colon, chronic constipation or pregnancy.
‘Luckily the surgery went well and I didn’t need a stoma! He said my body is very healthy and literally bounced back after he untwisted my bowel.
Zanna added that she now has a ‘huge incision’ along her stomach and that she ‘can’t move’ saying: ‘I’m peeing into a bag – glamorous!
‘I should be able to start drinking water again tomorrow (my mouth feels like the Sahara desert after 3 days of nil by mouth) and food within a few days.
‘I’ll be able to walk within a week and travel home within two.
The fitness expert also revealed she wouldn’t be able to exercise for three months and would have to cut her two-month travels short to fly home.
She also thanked her friend Steph Elswood, another fitness and nutrition blogger, for ‘holding her hand’ throughout her ordeal.
Zanna wrote: ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like watching your best friend writhe in pain for days. You kept me sane and my morale high, I love you.
Steph, who herself boasts 218,000 followers also shared an update on her friend’s condition.
She posted: ‘Hey guys. Thank you so much for the lovely messages and for sending your love to Zanna.
‘It’s been a terrifying 48 hours, flying between two different island hospitals, loads of tests and waiting for results.
Steph continued: ‘She has been so brave, bless her, and we are constantly trying to look for the positives.
‘She keeps referring to this as “part of the adventure.” We are cancelling the rest of our trip as her health is our main priority.
‘We will be staying in Male in the Maldives until further notice to give her the recovery time she needs.
‘She is being very well looked after and in between the pain she still is finding little reasons to smile.
‘I’m trying to stay strong for her but Jesus watching my best friend suffer like this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Zanna, who is 6ft 1 and has a Dutch father, studied speech therapy at Sheffield University before deciding to switch to a career as a personal trainer.
She now blogs and vlogs about fitness and food, as well as travel and sustainability – and she has her own swimwear line, which is made from recycled ocean plastic.
Steph said her best friend Zanna had been ‘so brave’ and kept looking for the positives despite the pain. Pictured in Newport, East Yorkshire during better health as she shared work-out tips with her thousands of fans
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