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What Does Period Pain Feel Like?

Posted Thursday 09 July 2020 11:55 by in Period Pain Medication by Harman Bhamra

Menstrual cramps - often referred to more generally as period pain - typically occur before and during a period. While some women have little to no experience with period pain, others suffer for days on end with an uncomfort that makes normal tasks seem impossible.

While everyone has a different experience with period pain, there are sometimes a few telltale signs which suggest why some women suffer more than others. Within this guide, we will be exploring exactly what period pain feels like, as well as its causes and popular pain relief treatments.

Common Symptoms Of Period Pain: What Does It Feel Like?

So - how do you know if it's period pain and not something else? The first obvious sign is when you start to experience cramping pains in your lower abdomen around 1 to 3 days before your period is due. These cramps can sometimes feel like a throbbing sensation that can travel to your lower back and thighs, too.

If you’re familiar with your menstrual cycle, then it’s likely that you’ll notice the pain easing off a few days into your period. However, it’s important to remember that every woman is different; some may experience quick bouts of cramps, whereas others may have to endure the pain for days on end.

To round this up, common symptoms of period pain include:

  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Aches and pains in the lower back and thighs
  • Higher levels of discomfort 1 to 3 days before your period

Severe Symptoms Of Period Pain

Severe symptoms of period pain typically refer to experiencing the above common symptoms for long durations without getting any relief. However, period pain doesn’t always just cause cramping, and more disruptive symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If you find that your period pain is getting worse and starting to disrupt your everyday life, it is highly recommended to see your GP. This also applies to those who are over the age of 25 and experiencing severe menstrual cramps for the first time.

What Causes Period Pain?

Menstrual cramps tend to occur thanks to the contractions that are triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. The higher level of prostaglandins you have, the more severe cramps you’ll experience. Although this might seem like a nuisance, the contractions are important as they help your uterus to shed its lining (which is what causes bleeding during a period).

While not everyone will have a definite cause for their period pain, the following medical conditions are known for causing severe menstrual cramps:

Endometriosis: This is a condition that is diagnosed when your uterus’ tissue lining sits outside of it. In most common cases, this tissue sits on your ovaries or fallopian tubes instead. You can learn more about this here.

Cervical Stenosis: If you have Cervical Stenosis, the opening of your cervix may be smaller than normal. This disrupts your menstrual flow, resulting in added amounts of pressure and therefore more pain.

Fibroids: Fibroids are noncancerous growths that can develop in the walls of your uterus. These growths can vary in size, and the pain is usually determined by how large they are and where they are located.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID is diagnosed when you have an infection in the female reproductive organs. In most cases, it occurs from sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia.

How To Manage Period Pain

Period pain of any type can be extremely frustrating to deal with; especially if you have a busy schedule and would rather not have to take time out. Luckily, there are many different types of period pain relief to benefit from; all as to which take immediate effect. You can shop for period pain relief right here at Express Pharmacy and have your medication delivered to your doorstep in a matter of days.

Other ways to manage period pain include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress triggers
  • Using heating pads or hot water bottles
  • Taking a hot bath

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of HIV?

Posted Tuesday 30 June 2020 11:20 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a type of virus that attacks the cells - specifically the CD4 T cells - of your immune system. As more and more CD4 cells are killed by the virus, your body gradually loses the ability to fight off diseases and infections.

Currently, there is no cure for HIV. Once you get it, you have it for life. There are, however, some antiretroviral therapy treatments available to control the spread of HIV but early detection is key.

So, what are the signs and symptoms of HIV? Read on to find out.

How Do You Get HIV?

HIV was first identified in 1981. It’s one of humanity’s most persistent diseases, and it can be deadly too. Because there’s no cure or vaccine available for the virus, not getting infected should be your number one priority.

HIV is transmitted through direct contact with certain body fluids of an infected person. These fluids include blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. You can only acquire HIV if these fluids get into your bloodstream through open cuts, direct injection, or through the mucus membrane found at the tip of the penis, mouth, vagina, and rectum.

In the UK, the most common way of transmitting HIV from one person to another involves:

  • Anal or vaginal sex with a HIV positive person without wearing a condom or taking HIV medicine. Compared to vaginal sex, anal sex is riskier.
  • Sharing injections with someone who has HIV.

The less common ways:

  • Mother-to-child transmission through pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
  • Getting stuck with a HIV-contaminated needle (commonly for health care workers).

In extremely rare cases, HIV may also be transmitted by:

  • Oral sex
  • Blood transfusion, organ or tissue transplant
  • Contact between broken skin or wounds

What Are The Symptoms Of HIV?

HIV symptoms vary from one person to another. Upon infection, it usually takes 2-4 weeks before you can feel any symptoms of HIV. According to studies, about 80% of infected individuals will have flu-like symptoms. HIV symptoms may take years to appear.

The virus infects the body in stages. For clarity, we will list down the signs and symptoms of HIV according to the stage the virus is in.

HIV symptoms in men

Around 80% of HIV cases are men. The virus is more prevalent among men who engage in sexual practices with men (gay men and bisexuals). HIV is also racially common among black heterosexual men.

Stage Symptoms
Acute (new infection)

Common Symptoms:

  • Skin rash
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Severe headaches

Less Common Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweat
  • Joint pain and muscle aches
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Ulcers on the genitals
  • Vomiting
Asymptomatic or Dormant During this stage, the symptoms of HIV disappear. The virus may remain dormant for months or even years. During this stage, the virus is still actively replicating and attacking your immune cells and can still be transmitted to others.

AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)

Advanced stage of infection

Depending on the person, it may take months or years for HIV to enter its advanced stage. During this stage, the damage caused by the virus to your immune system is beyond repair, leaving you more susceptible to opportunistic illnesses and infections.

Symptoms of men with AIDS include:

  • Persistent diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory loss, confusion
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Recurring fevers, chills, night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ulcers or sores in the mouth or on the genitals
  • Persistent swelling of lymph nodes

HIV symptoms in women

Most women get HIV from their male partners while others get infected through intravenous drug use.

Stage Symptoms
Acute (new infection)

Common Symptoms:

  • Skin rash
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Severe headaches

Less Common Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweat
  • Joint pain and muscle aches
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Vaginal infections (yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, etc.)
  • Vomiting
Asymptomatic or Dormant During this stage, the symptoms of HIV disappear. The virus may remain dormant for months or years. During this stage, the virus is still actively replicating and attacking your immune cells and can still be transmitted to others.

AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)

Advanced stage of infection

Depending on the person, it may take months or years for HIV to enter its advanced stage. During this stage, the damage caused by the virus to your immune system is beyond repair, leaving you more susceptible to opportunistic illnesses and infections.

Symptoms of men with AIDS include:

  • Persistent diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory loss, confusion
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Recurring fevers, chills, night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ulcers or sores in the mouth
  • Vaginal infections (yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, etc.)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Persistent swelling of lymph nodes
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause genital warts and cervical cancer is left untreated

Testing For HIV

HIV symptoms may take months or years to appear and you can easily mistake them for the flu. The best and only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to get yourself tested. Knowing your status means you can take precautionary measures to keep you and your sexual partners healthy.

Early diagnosis also gives you access to several HIV medicines which help control the virus in your body so you can live a long, healthy, and happy life.

Get yourself tested for HIV if:

  • You have had unprotected sex
  • You have multiple sex partners
  • You share needles
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted illness
  • You are worried about your status

You can get a HIV testing kit from Express Pharmacy which will be delivered discreetly to your doorstep. Our testing kits are 99.7% accurate and you’ll get your results within minutes.

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Study Reveals the Nations Sordid Lockdown Search History

Posted Friday 26 June 2020 11:51 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

A recent study conducted by Express Pharmacy showcased some seriously sordid Google search volume change since lockdown took hold.

Key National insights

  • In May 2020, Searches for “Pornhub” grew by 50% year on year.

  • Interest in specific positions grew, with each term growing by at least 49% year on year, with examples like: “reverse cowgirl” - up 233%, “missionary” - up 234% and “doggy style” - up 120%.

  • Sex toys remained front of mind for many, with search volumes growing from 110,000 in May 2019, to 246,000 in May 2020, a whopping 123% growth year on year.
  • Some decided nudes didn’t count during lockdown and searches reflected that, with search demand up 175% for “nudes” 310% for “thirst trap”.
  • Hundreds of thousands of men decided practice makes perfect, with searches for “how to last longer” growing 125% year on year in May.
  • Searches for Sildenafil reviews - the generic Viagra substitute grew by 84% year on year and even during lockdown searches for Viagra increased by 23% from last year.

  • Thousands were asking questions like “How to masturbate?” - up 83% year on year, “How to have sex?” - up 50% from last year and “How to kiss a girl?” - up 50% year on year.

Key City Specific Insights

  • The largest UK cities showed a significant increase in demand for "virtual dating", with search volume increasing by over 1000% year on year in May, in Birmingham, followed by London, Leeds & Bradford and Glasgow, whose demand all increased by over 600%.
  • Liverpool had little imagination on the whole, as search demand for "pornhub" grew by over 82% YoY during May 2020.
  • Men prepared for a long and boring lock with searches for "male sex toys" growing 83% nationally YoY, with significant demand growth in Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle (+128%, +141% & +180%).
  • Whilst national interest in ways to “last longer” more than doubled, Interest change was greatest in Liverpool and Leeds and Bradford where demand was +200% and +180%.
  • Whilst national demand for keeping oneself entertained grew overall, Liverpool and Sheffield saw the biggest change, leading the way with searches for "sex toys" growing 190% and 120%.

For full study data and information, please visit our contact us page and send us a note.

Please note that the volumes were correct at time of writing and sourced from Google Adwords (UK).

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What Causes Hair Loss?

Posted Friday 26 June 2020 11:00 by in Hair Loss by Harman Bhamra

Shedding hair is normal. In fact, we shed between 50 to 100 hairs a day. However, if you are losing more hair than usual, then there’s a chance that you are suffering from alopecia or hair loss.

Within this guide, we will be taking you through what causes hair loss and how to prevent it from disrupting your life.

Am I Shedding Hair Or Balding?

While shedding and balding both involve losing some of your hair, there are telltale signs that your hair loss is indeed a greater deal. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of hair loss:

Gradual thinning on the top of your head

This type of hair loss affects both men and women as they age. For men, the most common sign is a receding hairline from the forehead that looks like the letter “M”. Most women don’t lose their hairline.

Loosening of hair

Some factors like shock can cause your hair to loosen to the point where a handful might come out even by just gently combing or tugging. This type of hair loss leads to the overall thinning of hair. It rarely causes baldness.

Bald spots

Some people suffer from bald spots, usually the size of a coin. This type of condition is usually caused by a problem on the scalp. It can also occur in eyebrows or beards.

Full-body hair loss

A type of hair loss that’s caused by medications or therapy. Usually, the hair grows back after the treatment.

Causes Of Hair Loss

Your hair follows a natural cycle of shedding and growing that’s divided into three phases:

  • Anagen - most active hair growth occurs during this phase. This stage lasts from 2 to 6 years.
  • Catagen - a transitional hair growth stage which typically lasts between 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Telogen - a 2 to 3-month resting phase. After this period, the hair is shed and new hair starts growing again.

You lose, on average, up to 100 hairs a day but this is never too noticeable or distressing. Hair loss occurs when this natural cycle gets disrupted. Below are some of the most common causes of hair loss:


The most common types of hair loss (called male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness) are usually caused by genetics and age. If your parents suffer from hair loss, there’s a big chance that you will too.

Hormone changes

Some changes in the levels of your body hormones may cause hair loss. For example, women who experience pregnancy, childbirth or are already at menopause experience more defined hair loss than others.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions can cause hair loss too. For example, thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism) can lead to hair loss. Hair usually grows back when the underlying thyroid problem is treated.

Another medical condition that can cause hair loss is alopecia areata which creates bald spots on your head. Scalp problems like ringworm, psoriasis, and dermatitis and disorders like trichotillomania (hair-pulling) can also cause hair loss.

Lupus, an autoimmune disease, can also cause hair loss that is patchy with lesions on the scalp.

Stress and shock

Traumatic or stressful events can lead to general thinning of the hair for several months. Hair loss caused by such events is usually temporary.

Medical treatments

Radiation to the head and chemotherapy also cause hair loss which may be irreversible. Certain medications like those used for high blood pressure, heart problems, gout, depression, and arthritis can also contribute to hair loss.

Hair treatments

Perms and hot oil treatments can damage the hair follicle. This could lead to permanent hair loss if scarring occurs. A tight hairstyle like pigtails and cornrows can also cause hair loss (traction alopecia).

Nutritional deficiencies

Studies show that the lack of iron and zinc may contribute to hair loss. There is also evidence that deficiencies in fats, vitamins D, B-12, C, and A, and minerals like copper and selenium are also to blame.

How To Treat Hair Loss

Now that we’ve talked about the causes of hair loss, let’s look at some of the hair loss treatments available.

Most hair loss can be treated through medication. The most common one is Propecia which you can get from Express Pharmacy. Propecia is a treatment used for male pattern baldness. This type of medication is for men only and should not be used by children and women because it can cause birth defects.

Available as a pill, Propecia can be taken once a day. This drug was first used to treat prostate issues until it was discovered that it can block the formation fo certain male hormones that can cause hair loss.

If medication doesn’t work, hair transplant surgery may be performed. During this procedure, small plugs of skin with some hair are moved to bald spots of your scalp.

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Your Travel Packing Essentials Checklist

Posted Tuesday 23 June 2020 13:00 by in Anti Malaria by Harman Bhamra

Whether you’re a certified traveller or somebody who just got bitten by the travel bug, this travel packing essentials checklist is for you. We’ll list down all the things you need in this travelling checklist to keep your adventure fun, safe, and worry-free.

Let’s start with your clothes!

Clothes To Pack When Travelling

Clothes are the most important thing to remember on your travels. You want to be both comfortable and stylish (for those inevitable Instagram pics!). So, here’s a quick list of the stuff you need to pack. Feel free to customise this travelling checklist based on your destination. You don’t want to end up bringing sweaters and coats in the tropics!

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Sleepwear
  • T-shirts
  • Dress Shirts
  • Casual Shirts
  • Jeans
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatshirts
  • Suits
  • Swimsuits
  • Cover-ups
  • Coats
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Umbrella
  • Laundry Kit
  • Laundry Bag
  • Leisure Shoes
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Snow Boots
  • Dress Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Belts
  • Ties
  • Jewellery
  • Purses
  • Collapsible Totes
  • Money Belt

When it comes to clothing, pack smart. Pick clothing that can be worn on your day to day adventures and then dress up slightly with a different pair of shoes or bottoms.

Toiletries To Pack When Travelling

The next group of items in your travel packing essentials checklist are your toiletries. You can buy some of these at your destination to save on luggage weight. Remember that any liquid, aerosols, pastes, creams, and gels that are over 100 ml (3.4 ounces) should be put in your checked-in luggage. Airport authorities are very strict about this rule.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair Brush
  • Styling Tools
  • Facial Cleanser
  • Face Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Contact Lenses
  • Contact Solution
  • Shaving Supplies
  • Makeup
  • Makeup Remover
  • Feminine-Hygiene Products
  • Birth Control
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bandages
  • First-Aid Ointment
  • Insect Repellent
  • Medications
  • Pain Relievers
  • Vitamins

Other Essential Items

  • Cell Phone
  • Laptop/Tablet
  • Electronics Chargers
  • Travel Adapter
  • Film/Memory Card
  • List of Medications
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Credit Card/Bank Contacts
  • Copy of Passport

What To Put In Your Carry-On Bag When Travelling

Your carry-on bag is the bag that you’ll carry with you on the plane. So, ideally, pack only the things you need while on the flight. It’s also a good precaution to pack at least two pairs of clothes in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage gets lost (yes, this does happen!).

You’ll be carrying this bag with you on the plane, bus, train, or boat so keep it light and handy. Here’s a quick rundown of the things you can put in your carry-on bag.

  • Books or E-Books
  • Video/MP3 Player
  • Headphones
  • Travel Blanket
  • Travel Pillow
  • Eye Mask
  • Earplugs
  • Tissues
  • Lip Balm
  • Change of Clothes
  • Snacks
  • Gum
  • Empty Water Bottle
  • In-Flight Medication
  • Valuables
  • Camera
  • Passport/Visa/ID
  • Paper/Pen
  • Cash
  • Credit/ATM cards
  • Insurance Cards
  • Itinerary
  • Maps/Directions
  • Guidebook
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • House Keys

Keeping Yourself Safe From Malaria

Most people in the UK visit the tropical countries because of their pristine beaches and the sun. But there are also hidden dangers lurking in paradise - malaria. This mosquito-borne disease can be fatal. Malaria is commonly found in Africa, South Asia, parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the causes of malaria.

“Malaria is an almost completely preventable but potentially fatal disease and it remains an important issue for UK travellers. With the summer holidays fast approaching, it is a timely reminder to all travellers going to countries where malaria is present to seek pre-travel advice about the appropriate measures to take to protect themselves, including preventive medicines. If you have any symptoms (usually flu-like or a fever), either while you are away or for up to a year after you return home, you must seek urgent medical help; malaria may cause severe complications and can be fatal.” - Public Health England

If you intend to travel to places where malaria is present, it’s important to take certain precautions to keep yourself safe. There are several methods available to keep yourself safe from this potentially fatal disease. Here are two:

Use mosquito repellants

Malaria is transmitted through the bites of the female Anopheles mosquito. Mosquito repellants can help keep these insects away for a short time. Make sure you use one that contains at least 50% DEET. Apply mosquito repellants on exposed skin and under thin clothing.

Take anti-malaria tablets

Express Pharmacy stocks malaria tablets that effectively take any worries away from your travels. These tablets are not 100% effective so its best to take them together with mosquito bite prevention measures. Most antimalarial tablets need to be taken for four weeks after you return with the exception of Malarone which needs to only be taken for one week.

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