Gillian Wright health latest: Cause of Eastenders star's 'unbelievable' stomach pains

Gillian Wright health latest: Cause of Eastenders star's 'unbelievable' stomach pains

Gillian Wright, 58, has played the recurrent role of Jean Slater on BBC’s Eastenders since 2004. Her acting work, depicting a bipolar disorder sufferer won, her a Mental health Media Award in 2006. But back in 2015 Wright had her own health battle. She was rushed to hospital after she experienced a sharp pain that didn’t go away.

At hospital, doctors said she was lucky to be alive, after she was diagnosed with a condition called acute pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis is when the pancreas, located behind the stomach, becomes inflamed over a short period of time.

According to the NHS, symptoms include:

  • Suddenly getting severe pain in the centre of your tummy (abdomen)
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • A high temperature of 38C or more (fever)

While most people with acute pancreatitis start to feel better within a week and have no further problems, some people with severe pancreatitis can develop serious complications.

Wright told the Sunday Mirror: “It was touch and go. It’s no exaggeration to say I had a real brush with death.”

She added: “The pain was unbearable. If somebody had given me the choice of living with that pain a day longer or swallowing a pill to end it all, I’d have taken the tablet.

“No question. It was unbelievable.”

The actress also told the publication she experienced side effects from the morphine she was prescribed to help ease the pain, such as hallucinations.

“It makes you high as a kite,” she said. “One night I was found at the foot of a bed giving a Shakespearean monologue.”

Luckily, Gillian made a full recovery and even signed up to play the Wicked Queen in Cinderella a few months later.

Acute pancreatitis is often linked to glass tones and drinking too much alcohol, but sometimes the cause is not known.

Reducing your alcohol intake and altering your diet to make gallstones less likely can help you reduce your chances of acute pancreatitis.

If you suddenly develop severe abdominal pain you should see your GPP immediately or contact NHS 111 for advice.

Another soap star who has spoken about his health condition is Emmerdale star Jeff Hordley.

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