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Red Flags During the Menstrual Cycle That Tell You to Seek Medical Help

Posted Wednesday 22 February 2017 15:18 by Tim Deakin in Period Delay Treatment

menstrual cycle problemsMillions of women around the world experience periods each month. Yet they are still a source of significant embarrassment for many people. As a consequence of this, some women are reluctant to seek medical advice should something change or go wrong. A normal menstrual cycle should last for around twenty-eight days (although this can vary by several days). Periods do sometimes change, and this isn’t necessarily an indication that something is wrong, but it should still be investigated.

In this article we will outline some of the most common signs that there may be an issue with your menstrual cycle, so that you know when to reach out for help.

Missing a Period

Missing a period is usually based on the assumption that a woman is pregnant. This is, of course, relatively easy to diagnose through a simple pregnancy test. But it is important to note that it is not the only reason why a period can be missed.

Stress is a common cause of missing periods, as is intense athletic activity or sudden weight loss. Certain contraceptives, like the contraceptive pill, can also disrupt the menstrual cycle, while the contraceptive injection can sometimes stop periods altogether.

As women age, periods typically become less frequent as they approach menopause. Most women go through the menopause between age fifty and fifty-five, though early menopause can occur in women in their teens, twenties or thirties due to a range of medical conditions or lifestyle factors, such as autoimmune disease, smoking or premature ovarian failure.

Bleeding After Sex, Or In-between Periods

Bleeding after sex or in-between periods can be a sign of several different issues, including chlamydia or abnormalities of the cervix. Such abnormalities can be relatively harmless – as in the case of polyps – or be a sign of infection that requires urgent medical attention. To put your mind at rest it is always better to consult a doctor or speak to your pharmacist if you bleeding between periods becomes a concern.

Contraceptive pills with particularly low doses can sometimes result in bleeding between periods. If this is the case, then simply switching pills can be an effective way of resolving the problem.

In very rare cases, cervical abnormalities could be an indicator of cervical cancer. The National Cervical Screening Programme offers screenings to women to try and detect cancer early. Although cancer is a rare cause of bleeding, it’s important to seek medical help just in case.

Sudden Change to Periods

Sudden changes, such as much heavier or lighter periods, can be a sign that something isn’t quite right. For most women under forty, slightly irregular flows and cycles do not indicate any serious condition, but women over forty should always seek medical advice if they notice any changes.

These changes in women over forty can indicate endometrial cancer, cervical polyps, or a pre-cancerous condition like hyperplasia. This can be treated if caught early.

Unusual Discharge

Experiencing vaginal discharge during the menstrual cycle is perfectly normal, and is nothing to worry about. The female body naturally produces an excess of mucous before ovulation – which tends to be a white or creamy colour. If you notice a sudden change in this discharge, however, this is a sign that something probably isn’t right.

Green discharge, blood-stained discharge, or discharge with a strong, unpleasant odour are all common signs of infection, and should be explored and treated as soon as possible.

If any of these issues crop up during your menstrual cycle, be sure to seek medical guidance to alleviate your worries and help treat your symptoms.

If you have any worries or questions about periods, get familiar with Express Pharmacy’s online live chat to receive the advice you need and put you on the road to recovery as soon as possible. If you are looking for period delay treatments to help you manage your menstrual cycle, we stock Norethisterone – which can delay a period for a maximum of 17 days.

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How to Tackle Jet Lag

Posted Wednesday 15 February 2017 10:23 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

Whether you are travelling abroad for work or escaping it all for a relaxing week away, feeling healthy and fresh on arrival, is always a bonus. Unfortunately those trips that involve crossing multiple time zones can wreak havoc with our internal body clock – commonly known as jet lag.

Jet lag goes far beyond simple fatigue. In fact, there are a whole range of symptoms that can occur when our bodies struggle to adapt to a new light-dark schedule. Along with the common symptoms of disturbed sleep and lethargy, sufferers may experience a change in appetite, digestion, blood pressure and body temperature. And while jet lag is inevitable when you are crossing 7 or more time zones, there are a few easy tips that can greatly reduce its effects.

Here we share five easy tips to make sure jet lag does not affect your continental trip:

Say no to the drinks trolley

As tempting as it maybe to order a few glasses of wine or bottles of beer during a flight, it is something that definitely should be avoided if you are travelling long haul. Drinking alcohol may feel like a nice way to relax and may even help you nap. But the resulting dehydration will do you know favours and probably give you a nasty headache. It’s important to be aware that while alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it does not result in quality, restful sleep.

One of the most effective methods of fighting jet lag is to stay hydrated before and during your flight. This means watching your alcohol intake the week before flying to avoid dehydration.

Stay active:

A little bit of exercise before you fly is a great way to beat in-flight lethargy and you don’t necessarily need to commit to a full workout, either. Just make smart choices at the airport, instead of taking the escalators and travelators, take the stairs or carry out some light stretching before you set off for the airport.

Remember, you are going to be sat in a small space, for many hours so it is important to maintain blood circulation. Getting up and taking a walk whenever possible can help to keep your blood moving and prevent any numbness. Even whilst seated, stretching out your legs and wiggling your toes can help to keep your body in a better condition. It will also help to reduce the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis.

Time it right:

It is important to psychologically adjust to your new time zone as soon as possible so you are mentally prepared for the alteration to your sleep–wake cycle. Changing your eating schedule to match your new time zone is a great place to start. If you land in the morning, make sure you eat breakfast even if you are not hungry to get you settled sooner.

Tackle it with tech:

Adjusting your sleep schedule the week before you travel can be a tricky business, but thankfully there are plenty of apps out there that help you create and stick to a helpful sleeping plan before you go.

Choose your medication wisely:

It maybe a popular tactic, but taking sleeping pills on-flight should be avoided as they will only add to your drowsiness on arrival. However, there are other forms of medication that are better suited to tackling jet lag. Circadin is currently the only medication available with the active ingredient Melatonin – the hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle.

If you want to find out more about Circadin directly, talk to a member of our pharmacy team by using our Live Chat tool.

Related Products: Circadin

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How to Avoid a Valentine’s Day Nightmare: A His and Hers Guide

Posted Thursday 02 February 2017 10:54 by Tim Deakin in Erectile Dysfunction

For those in relationships and those who are single, February can be a dreaded month. Not only can the prospect of Valentine’s Day result in a lot of stress, the pressure to have a perfect evening may also be upsetting for men and women.

Couples often find the pressure of making the day extra special particularly daunting. Whether you’ve been married for a number of years, have just entered a new relationship or have scheduled a date with someone new, this issue never seems to go away.

Here we highlight how couples can avoid some of the worries of Valentine’s Day and enjoy Cupid’s presence for all the right reasons.

For him

For men, in particular, Valentine’s Day that brings with it the stress and strain of needing to impress. The anticipation of spending an evening with a partner can bring its own worries. Pressure to perform in the bedroom is a common problem amongst men of all ages, and according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the NHS, 1 in 10 men experience some form of sexual dysfunction on a regular basis.

Male sexual problems are a common occurrence among men of all ages and sexualities. But with the right advice you can overcome or manage the symptoms of erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence), premature ejaculation and loss of libido so your Valentine’s night can go ahead as planned. Impotence can be a particularly embarrassing problem especially when entering into a new relationship, whilst premature ejaculation can be equally disconcerting. However, it’s important to recognise that ignoring issues like impotence, premature ejaculation and libido loss won’t make them go away, in fact the added anxiety can exacerbate these issues even further.

Make the most of Valentine’s Day — and every day for that matter — by tackling the problem head on. Your GP and pharmacist is there to assist you by providing advice, reassurance and, in some cases, prescription medication to handle your issue. This may include treatments such as Generic Sildenafil or its branded counterpart, Viagra.

Most importantly of all, men should be aware of how widespread and normal these issues are – and how a more relaxed approach can actually benefit an experience in the bedroom.

For her

Women may also feel the pressure to impress when spending some one-on-one time with their partner on Valentine’s Day. Among the most frequent concerns is the possibility of mother nature calling with a period during the most romantic day of the year. While a period itself is completely natural and should be understood by a caring partner, there are times when you may wish to delay the inevitable. If you suffer from particularly heavy periods that result in cramps and severe mood swings, it is possible to take control of your menstrual cycle by using Norethisterone – a prescription medication that contains a hormone similar to the body’s own progestogen.

It should be noted, however, that if you regularly experience heavy, painful periods you should contact your GP or a trained pharmacist. There are several conditions that can contribute to chronic period pains and increased bleeding, including polycystic ovary syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, endometriosis, hypothyroidism, endometrial or cervical polyps.

The use of the coil, anticoagulants and chemotherapy medication can also cause heavy, painful periods. If you suffer from extreme period pain, you may want alleviate painful cramps with medication like Mefenamic Acid, as well as working with your GP to establish the cause and manage the problem.

For all

Valentine’s Day and other relationship milestones can be filled with expectation. However, it is always crucial to remember that hiding a problem or allowing oneself to become anxious is not a solution. It is always far better to be open and seek a solution to a problem rather than letting it cause further issues. Communication between partners is vital and by making sure you are both on the same page before the big day you can avoid disappointment and ease worries in the process. Remember, no matter how much you want to impress on Valentine’s Day, it is just a normal day, which you can make special without the pressure.

If you believe that you may require medical assistance to help you with an issue ahead of this Valentine’s Day, why not try our Live Chat feature to get fast, confidential advice from our pharmacy team?


Khalid alabdulgader on Saturday 04 February 2017 20:56

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The Effects of Weight Gain Are More Than Skin Deep

Posted Wednesday 01 February 2017 09:24 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

It may be the end of a long January. But if you have been paying attention to your diet and exercise regime for the last month, there are plenty of reasons for you to keep up the good work. And none of them have anything to do with preparing for a beach body.

There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain. Whether it’s poor diet or just a sedentary lifestyle, millions of people in the UK now eat a little bit too much that’s not good for them and exercise a little too infrequently to keep the weight off.

Weight gain has become a huge issue nationally and, indeed, globally. According to research by the World Health Organisation, ‘At least one in three of the world's adult population is now overweight and almost one in 10 can be categorised as obese.’ And worryingly figures are even higher in the UK. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate that one in four British adults is now obese – a figure much higher than many of our European counterparts.

It should be no real surprise to hear that obesity can have an extremely serious impact on health – including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and several forms of cancer. All of these issues can cause or contribute to premature death.

Yet, it isn’t just those people who are clinically obese whose health can be affected by lifestyle diseases. A poor relationship with nutrition and exercise can lead to a catalogue of health concerns that affect both the body and the mind. Let’s take a closer look at some of the symptoms that may be encountered with weight gain:

Mental health issues and depression:

Alongside the stresses placed on the body, weight gain can also have a major psychological impact. Those who are overweight often encounter low self-esteem, negative body image, anxiety and in some cases more serious mental health issues such as eating disorders and depression.

The role that diet plays in mental health is an obvious but under-recognised fact. At a basic level, maintaining a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals in the body can play a significant role in balancing mood and emotions. Conversely, erratic spikes in nutrients and particularly blood sugar can lead to mood swings and greater stress.

In the same vein, regular exercise can have a profound impact on mental health, helping to combat depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, through the release of endorphins.

Joint pain:

Weight gain can also lead to joint pain, particularly on weight-baring joints like the knees and hips. In fact every extra pound of weight gained puts an extra four pound of pressure on to our knee joints. Which means that extra 5 pounds of holiday weight adds 20 pounds of weight to each knee. So it’s really no surprise bones and joints can suffer wear and tear overtime.

Indigestion and heartburn:

Recent studies have shown that those who gain weight dramatically increase their risk of heartburn. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, occurs when the acidic stomach juices flow up into the oesophagus. This is thought to be caused by pressure in the stomach. While this can bring discomfort it can also increase the chances of something much more serious. If left untreated, it can lead to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.


Obesity can have significant implications in terms of fertility, particularly for women. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), more than 70% of women who are infertile due to weight issues, would be able to successfully conceive without the aid of fertility treatments if they maintained a healthy weight. Excess fat is the main culprit here as fat cells help create the reproductive hormone, oestrogen. Too many fat cells, lead to an overload in sex hormones, which can disrupt ovulation.

Men who gain excess weight also experience hormonal changes that effect fertility — mainly a reduction in testosterone levels. There are also much higher rates of erectile dysfunction among obese men, making it more difficult for couples to conceive.

Maintaining a healthy BMI is the best way to avoid the health impacts caused by weight gain. Weight loss should always be achieved through healthy means. That means maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

For those who are carrying a lot of extra weight, there are also several medications available that can help you on your weight loss journey. Xenical, also known as Orlistat works well as part of a healthy weight loss strategy.

Want expert medical advice about safe and sustainable weight management? Why not contact our pharmacy team today on 0208 123 0703?

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Travellers’ Diarrhoea: How to Deal With an Unwanted Holiday Companion

Posted Wednesday 25 January 2017 13:53 by Tim Deakin in Travellers Diarrhoea

traveller's diarrhoeaWhether you are travelling to an exotic destination or holidaying on the continent, going overseas is an exciting time for all the family. Not to mention a chance to create lots of wonderful memories that you can look back on for years to come. Unfortunately, travelling abroad isn’t all fun and games, and for many people that trip to somewhere new can come with the odd health problem.

As the name suggests, travellers’ diarrhoea is one condition that is common among tourists, and it is particularly rife when visiting developing countries like Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In fact, up to 50% of travellers spending two weeks or more in these countries are affected by the condition. As with any travel-related health issue, it is important to understand the nature of the problem, how to prevent it and the treatments to take if illness does strike. Here we offer an essential guide to travellers’ diarrhoea so you can be prepared for your upcoming trip.

What is travellers’ diarrhoea?

Travellers’ diarrhoea is the frequent passing of watery or loose stools. The condition is commonly caused by the presence of the bacteria E.coli as a result of the unsanitary handling of food and drink. E.coli is easily transmitted and is extremely contagious if an individual handling food has failed to wash their hands after using the bathroom. The infection mainly affects the stomach and intestines, leaving sufferers frequently passing loose stools and often experiencing symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, discomfort, weakness, cramps, painful gas and appetite loss.

With this particular condition it is important to make sure that travellers’ diarrhoea is what you have. Diarrhoea can be a symptom of numerous travel-related illnesses – including malaria – so seeking medical assistance is important if you find that the problem persists for more than 24 hours. You should also look out for the presence of blood in your stools, as this can be an indication of something more serious.

How to prevent travellers’ diarrhoea

Taking extra care with food and drink is a vital part of preventing travellers’ diarrhoea. Maintaining a good level of personal hygiene will help to limit exposure to E.coli, so care should be taken when cleaning utensils, plates and cups. You should also take the time to wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after going to the toilet. When visiting developing countries, hand washing facilities may not be as readily available as they are at home, so make sure to keep alcohol rub and wipes to hand at all times.

Avoiding certain food and drink items can also minimise the risk of contracting travellers’ diarrhoea. It is best to stay clear of tap water (including ice in drinks), raw or uncooked foods, street food and dairy products.

Seeking treatment for travellers’ diarrhoea

Staying hydrated is an important step in treating travellers’ diarrhoea, particularly if the individual affected is a young child. Be sure that any fluids consumed are safe, and utilise these in conjunction with oral rehydration salts to re-establish the fluids lost.

Being prepared with suitable medication for the treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea is also vital to the successful management of symptoms. Stock up on medication to deal with any potential illnesses, including travellers’ diarrhoea, before you travel as the language barrier and location may make it difficult or even impossible for you to get the treatment you need whilst you are away. Here at Express Pharmacy we stock Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin, both effective medications for the treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea.

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