(NEW YORK) -- On TV, Ken Baumann plays sensitive, wholesome Ben Boykewich on the ABC Family hit, The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
In real life, Baumann also runs a publishing house, designs book jackets and has just written a novel. And he’s battling Crohn’s disease.
“It’s basically when your digestive system eats itself,” he said, discussing the condition Wednesday in an interview that aired on Good Morning America.
Crohn’s causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Its symptoms include pain and diarrhea, and can lead to potentially life-threatening complications.
Other celebrities who suffer from Crohn’s include the singer Anastacia and actress Shannen Doherty, who once said she didn’t want discuss it. She feared talk of frequent bathroom breaks might affect how she was perceived.
When asked why he wanted to discuss his condition, Baumann said, “Well, I was thinking about the 14-year-old fan of the show. Going through the pain and not knowing what it is.”
Baumann, 22, underwent surgery and lost 20 pounds. His dog, Oscar, weighs more than he does.
“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.
There’s no cure for Crohn’s, but Baumann said he has it under control.
And even though the actor plays a kid on TV, he’s all grown up. He married Superbad actress Aviva Farber, 28, last month in a secret ceremony in Malibu, Calif.
“We’re very democratic,” he said of their relationship, adding, “But I bow to her wisdom.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio