Lesley Garrett health: The opera singer nearly underwent surgery for appendicitis – signs

Lesley Garrett sings YNWA on Celebrity MasterChef

The year was 1980 when Lesley Garrett would sing her heart out on stage, then fall to the floor in crippling pain once the curtains closed. What was happening to her? It was during the Leeds Opera North tour when young Lesley felt herself become progressively weaker. “I was 26 and living out of a suitcase. I’d just split up with my first husband, Malcolm, so I was extremely unhappy as well,” she told the Daily Mail.

Lesley suffered from intermittent stomach aches, particularly on the right side of her body.

She also experienced cystitis. “I believe that my marriage break-up contributed to my becoming ill,” she stated.

“I’m a strong believer in the theory that your emotional and physical health are closely linked.”

What’s cystitis?

The NHS explained cystitis is inflammation of the bladder – a type of urinary tract infection (UTI), common in women.

Mild cases will usually resolve themselves within a couple of days, but frequent bouts of cystitis may benefit from long-term treatment.

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The symptoms of cystitis

  • Pain, burning or stinging when you pee
  • Needing to pee more often and urgently than normal
  • Urine that’s dark, cloudy or strong smelling
  • Pain low down in your tummy
  • Feeling generally unwell, achy, sick and tired

Treatment can include antibiotics, which is what Lesley was prescribed.

Although the antibiotics worked to clear up Lesley’s UTI, her stomach pain persisted.

“My tummy was so sore and incredibly tender,” she remembered. “There was no sickness or vomiting, just terrible pain and backache.”

Her parent’s GP suspected appendicitis, so Lesley was referred to hospital.

There, she was given intravenous antibiotics and Lesley signed a form to have an operation.

Why would appendicitis require an operation?

First, the NHS explained appendicitis is a painful swelling of the appendix.

The appendix is a small, thin pouch, roughly measuring up to 10cm long and is connected to the large intestine.

The purpose of the appendix is unknown, but removing it isn’t thought of as harmful.

Appendicitis typically begins with intermittent stomach pain, which traces to the lower right-hand side.

The pain becomes constant and severe, and one may lose their appetite, feel sick, have constipation or diarrhoea.

If the pain eases for a while and then worsens, the appendix may have burst, which can lead to life-threatening complications.

“If you have appendicitis, it’s likely your appendix will need to be removed as soon as possible,” said the NHS.

Just as Lesley was about to be whisked off to theatre (for her operation), the pain eased due to the IV drip she reviewed and further testing revealed she had an infected kidney.

Not only was the kidney infected, it was also in the wrong place, but after two weeks in hospital, Lesley made a full recovery.

Lesley Garrett will appear on ITV’s Celebrity Catchphrase on Saturday, January 23 at 6pm.

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