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Does Period Pain Become Worse When You’re Stressed?

Posted Wednesday 10 July 2019 22:18 by in Period Pain Medication by Tim Deakin

Period pain is something almost every woman is familiar with. Considered a normal part of the menstrual cycle, period pain is usually felt as uncomfortable muscle cramps in the stomach, often spreading to the back and the thighs. This pain can be intense and sharp, or dull and constant.[1]

According to Women’s Health Concern, more than 80% of women will experience some form of period-related discomfort at some point in their lives, and this pain can be severe enough to disrupt day-to-day life in around 5-10% of women.[2]

But can your emotional state impact your period, and does feeling stressed actually make your pain worse?

Do you experience more pain when you’re stressed during your period?

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health back in 2010 found that stress could indeed lead to worse symptoms of period pain. Participants who said they felt stressed two weeks before starting their period were between twice and four times as likely to report severe period pain symptoms compared to women who reported no signs of stress.[3]

Researchers couldn’t pinpoint an exact reason for why this might be the case, though several theories were suggested by the team. These include that stress can alter ovarian hormones, or that the stress hormone cortisol may have a direct effect on period pain.[4]

Speaking to SELF, Dr Antonio Pizarro, MD, described how a lack of sleep and an increase in stress can cause hormone imbalances which could exacerbate pain, saying:

“If you don’t sleep enough, your body will release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which affects how your pituitary gland works. Your pituitary gland regulates hormones, so this can have a major effect on your cycle, leading to periods that don’t arrive when you’re expecting them to. Thanks to the imbalanced hormones, they may even be heavier or more painful than usual.”[5]

The relationship between stress and period pain goes both ways too. Studies have shown that when women are on their period, they are generally more prone to feelings of anxiety and stress. Menstruation leads to a number of hormonal changes, potentially leading to physical and emotional effects which contribute to anxiety. Fluctuations in hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can impact appetite, digestion and energy, all of which can impact your mood.[6]

So while there are still questions regarding the link between stress and period pain, it’s clear that relaxation is an important part of making your period more manageable.

How to effectively deal with period pain

The NHS recommends several simple lifestyle changes which can help to alleviate the severity of your period pain. These include:

Exercising, such as gentle swimming, cycling or even walking

Using a heat pad or hot water bottle to ease the pain

Having a hot bath or shower to help you relax

Stopping smoking, as smoking is thought to increase the risk of pain

Lightly massaging your lower abdomen

Relaxation techniques such as yoga or Pilates[7]

Medication is also available to help effectively ease the pain you experience while on your period. Mefenamic acid works by reducing inflammation, therefore lowering pain levels.

Discover safe and effective period pain medication like mefenamic acid right here at Express Pharmacy. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Period pain. 2016

[2] Women’s Health Concern. Period Pain. 2017

[3] Gollenburg, A.L. et al. Perceived Stress and Severity of Perimenstrual Symptoms: The BioCycle Study. Journal of Women’s Health. 2010

[4] Nauert, R. PhD. Stress Exacerbates Menstrual Symptoms. PsychCentral. 2019

[5] Barnes, Z. 8 Habits That Are Making Your Periods Even Worse. SELF. 2016

[6] Nillni, Y.I. et al. Anxiety Sensitivity, the Menstrual Cycle and Panic Disorder: A Putative Neuroendocrine and Psychological Interaction. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011

[7] NHS UK. Period pain. 2016

Tags: Period Pain

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Does Low Testosterone Impact Erectile Dysfunction?

Posted Monday 01 July 2019 23:20 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Tim Deakin

Erectile dysfunction, otherwise known as impotence or ED, is more common than most men realise, and is characterised by the inability to reach or maintain an erection during sexual activity.[1]

Because many men don’t like to talk about erectile problems such as ED, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the condition. One of the most common theories is that ED is directly caused by low levels of testosterone.

But although ED can sometimes be linked to testosterone, it’s actually unlikely that low levels of the hormone are causing your symptoms.

There are many things that can cause ED

Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to underline a single factor causing ED symptoms, as the condition itself is quite complex. Therefore, saying that low levels of testosterone always lead to ED simply isn’t true.

In fact, studies have shown that men with both ED and low testosterone don’t necessarily see any improvement in their ED when their testosterone levels are treated.[2]

ED can occasionally be related to testosterone, but it is actually almost always caused by low blood flow to the penis, as an erection occurs when there is increased blood flow due to sexual arousal. This difficulty with blood flow can be linked to a range of wider issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or hardening of the arteries.[3]

ED can also occur as a result of mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety and relationship problems. In these instances, taking things slowly, talking things through with your partner and seeking treatment and guidance on your wider health concerns can help to alleviate symptoms.[4]

The relationship between low testosterone and ED

There is no doubt that male sexual wellbeing and testosterone are closely linked, but the relationships between testosterone and ED is complex.

Many men who suffer from erectile problems have perfectly normal testosterone levels. As such, testosterone often isn’t considered as a suitable treatment unless certain other symptoms are also present, such as low libido and fatigue.[5]

Age is a factor in both ED and testosterone levels. The chances of developing ED increase as a man ages, and likewise male testosterone levels naturally decline by around 1-2% per year as he ages. But despite these occurring simultaneous, there is no proof that one causes the other.[6]

Treating ED

Prior to the release of medication like Viagra, many men’s go-to treatment for ED was Testosterone Replacement Therapy. But TRT can be extremely costly and carries with it many risks, including an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. On top of all this, in most cases of ED it is unlikely to help relieve symptoms[7], as low testosterone is rarely the cause of the condition.

Treatments like Viagra and Sildenafil are easily obtained and quick to consume, coming in the form of an oral tablet. Through clinical trials, they have been proven to be effective in improving blood flow to the penis and therefore making reaching and sustaining an erection much easier.[8]

Don’t be afraid to open up about ED. Finding the right treatment for your symptoms can open you up to a healthy, happier and more satisfying sex life.

Find many of the most popular erectile dysfunction treatments like Sildenafil, Viagra and Spedra right here at Express Pharmacy. If you have any questions, contact our pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Erectile dysfunction (impotence). 2017

[2] Rajfer, J. Relationship Between Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction. Reviews in Urology. 2000

[3] American Urological Association. Testosterone for Erection Problems. 2018.

[4] Thomas, L. Healing Erectile Dysfunction. Psychology Today. 2010.

[5] Pendick, D. A logical approach to treating erectile dysfunction. Harvard Health Publishing. 2012.

[6] Advanced Urological Care. Erectile Dysfunction. 2019.

[7] American Urological Association. Testosterone for Erection Problems. 2018.

[8] Moore, RA., Edwards, JE., McQuay, HJ. Sildenafil (Viagra) for male erectile dysfunction: a meta-analysis of clinical trial reports. BioMed Central. 2002.

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Can These Foods Help You Avoid Hay Fever This Summer?

Posted Tuesday 25 June 2019 19:43 by in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief by Tim Deakin

Summer is a time for long days, warm weather, fun and relaxation, but for many of us it’s also a time when hay fever symptoms rear their ugly head.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a condition that occurs due to an allergic reaction to pollen. It affects up to one in five people at some point in their life, and is often at its most common during the spring and summer, when tree and grass pollen are most populous.[1]

Symptoms of hay fever usually include:

Itchy eyes and throat

Sneezing

Blocked or runny nose

Watering, red eyes

Headaches

Blocked sinuses

Shortness of breath

Tiredness[2]

There are many reports of potential cures for hay fever, including certain foods. But how effective are they?

Berries, ginger, citrus and more

A diet rich in antioxidants can help to alleviate symptoms of pollen allergy. In fact, antioxidants like Quercetin and the polyphenols have been shown to reduce sneezing in those allergic to pollen and dust. These antioxidants can be found in common fruits, herbs and vegetables such as red apples, onions, garlic, grapes and berries.[3]

Quercetin works in synergy with another important antioxidant: vitamin C. Found in citrus fruits, broccoli and dark leafy greens, vitamin C is an important anti-allergy component as it strengthens the immune system, calming allergic reactions due to its anti-inflammatory properties.[4]

Speaking of anti-inflammatory properties, spices like ginger and turmeric are among the most effective ingredients, inhibiting the production of the inflammatory compound histamine.[5]

Tried and tested methods for dealing with hay fever

It’s important to remember that, while increasing your intake of these foods may help reduce your symptoms, they don’t offer guaranteed success if used alone.

The NHS provides several key tips for reducing the impact of hay fever during peak times of year. These include:

Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen

Showering and changing your clothes after going outside

Staying indoors whenever possible

Wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes

Vacuuming regularly and dusting with a damp cloth

Keeping windows and doors shut

Investing in a pollen filter for your home air vents[6]

Combining treatments and precautionary methods can give you a greater chance of success when it comes to keeping your hay fever symptoms in check.

Medication can help you enjoy the summer without worry

For many people, antihistamine medication is necessary in order to ensure regular relief from hay fever. Unlike the foods mentioned above, these medications are specifically designed to tackle the impact of hay fever on your health and wellbeing during peak times of year, meaning they’ll probably be more reliable when it comes to alleviating your symptoms this summer.

Both oral medications and steroid nasal sprays can help encourage an anti-inflammatory response to your hay fever, offering significant daily relief.[7] Studies have found medication options such as Fexofenadine to be a clinically effective option for the treatment of hay fever, and one which offers minimal side effects.[8]

You can find safe and effective allergy relief medication like Fexofenadine, Telfast and Nasonex right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions for our team, call us today on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] NHS Inform. Hay Fever. 2019

[2] Allergy UK. Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis). 2019

[3] Barszcz, N. What to eat to beat hay fever. Healthy Magazine. 2018.

[4] Holford, P. Seven nutrients that work for hay fever. Patrick Holford. 2018

[5] Mashhadi, N.S., Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013.

[6] NHS UK. Hay Fever. 2017

[7] Asthma UK. Hay fever treatments.2019

[8] Simpson, K. Jarvis, B. Fexofenadine: a review of its use in the management of seasonal allergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria. Drugs. 2000

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Does Changing the Time You Eat Stop Jet Lag?

Posted Friday 21 June 2019 12:47 by in Jet Lag by Tim Deakin

Travelling opens you up to fantastic experiences, but one side-effect of far-flung jet-setting which isn’t so fantastic is jet lag.

Jet lag is the result of a disruption to an individual’s natural sleep pattern – typically caused by crossing several time zones on a long flight. The symptoms of jet lag usually continue until the body has adjusted to a new time zone – more often than not over the course of a few days.[1] These symptoms of jet lag usually include disorientation and finding it hard to function, fatigue and being unable to fall asleep.[2]

This is something many of us have experienced. In fact, one poll of 2,000 adults found that more than eight in 10 participants had struggled with severe fatigue after a long-haul flight.[3]

But there are also other contributing factors that have a part to play in determining the severity of your jet lag, as highlighted by recent research.

Research by the University of Surrey explored the link between jet lag and eating times

A study from the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey has looked into any possible connection between mealtimes and the likelihood of experiencing jet lag after travelling. In the study, 60 long-haul crew members were divided into two groups.

The first set of participants followed a regular meal plan on their days off following a long flight, while the second group had no plan for regular meals. The results found that sticking to a regular mealtime schedule played a significant role in helping the crew members adapt their circadian rhythms during their days off.[4]

Author of the study, Dr Cristina Ruscitto, discussed these results further, saying:

“Many crew tend to rely on sleep rather than earing strategies to alleviate symptoms of jet lag, but this study has shown the crucial role meal times can indeed play in resetting the body clock.”[5]

How to deal with jet lag effectively

Mealtimes aren’t the only outside factors to play a role in either worsening or lessening the impact of changing time-zones. The direction of travel, natural light levels, caffeine intake and alcohol all have a part to play in determining just how severe your experience of jet lag will be.[6]

Jet lag can be worsened by factors like stress, discomfort and air pressure. All of these factors can occur while flying, meaning that moving time zones via a plane can lead to a significant risk of jet lag.[7]

Medication is one of the main ways to effectively combat jet lag while travelling. A poll by NSF found that 15% of respondents used either a prescription medication and/or over the counter sleep aids. These were found to be an effective way to manage the short-term insomnia brought on by travel.[8]

Treatment such as Circadin can help to regulate your body’s production of melatonin – our natural sleep hormone. This will help you feel more tired when night falls, aiding your body clock in its adjustment.

You can find safe and effective treatment for jet lag here at Express Pharmacy, such as Circadin. And if you have any questions for our pharmacists, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Jet lag. 2017

[2] British Airways. Jet lag advisor. 2019

[3] Elsworthy, E. How to avoid jet lag before, during and after a flight. The Independent. 2018

[4] La, P. Jet-lag is given the swerve by adjusting meal times on the ground, find researchers. University of Surrey. 2016

[5] Ruscitto, C. PhD. accessed via La, P. 2006

[6] American Sleep Association. Jet lag treatment, recovery and symptoms. 2019

[7] Sleep Education. Jet Lag – Overview. 2019

[8] NSF. Sleep in America Poll. 2002., accessed via: National Sleep Foundation. Jet lag and sleep. 2012

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The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Vaccinations

Posted Thursday 06 June 2019 12:51 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

vaccinations

Heading off to a foreign destination can be both an exciting and daunting experience. While so much adventure lies ahead, it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by all of the preparation which needs to take place before you jet off. However, once everything is set and ready to go, you get to reap all of the benefits that come from travelling, without a single worry in the world!

Unfortunately, heading off abroad means that your body may become victim to some nasty diseases. These diseases are likely to leave you feeling very unwell and may even mean you have to cut your travels short. Although a scary thought, these diseases are simple to avoid, thanks to vaccinations.

Vaccines Needed Around The World

You won’t need to get a vaccination for every country you travel to, but it’s worth checking what is recommended in your specific location before it’s too late. To make things easier for you, you can use the map below to establish whether the country you are travelling to is at high risk of disease.

As you can see, places residing in South Asia and Africa are at the highest risk of disease. Shockingly, up to ten jabs are required if you’re travelling to Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan - to name a few. Did you know that so many were needed?

With so many countries being at both medium and high risk, it’s clear to see just how important it is to get the correct vaccinations. Even some of the most popular travel destinations require vaccinations for safe travels, including Mexico, Greece and South Africa. It’s worth noting that the recommendation levels might be lower in some of these popular destinations, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The next time you’re planning an adventure, you can use this interactive map as a guide, in order to make sure that you’re as protected as much as possible. It really is a life or death situation here, and your holiday shouldn’t have to be ruined by something so preventable.

How Do I Get A Vaccination?

Getting your recommended vaccinations has never been easier. Simply book an appointment with your GP around four to six weeks before your departure date; they’ll be able to do the vaccination for you and discuss any further instructions, too. The lifespan of the vaccination will entirely depend on which one you have been given, but roughly, they can last anything from a few months to several years.


Once again, the cost of the vaccine will completely depend on what it is for. Vaccines for high-risk diseases like Cholera and Typhoid are usually free to receive from the NHS, but for less common diseases such as Japanese Encephalitis, you will be expected to pay a fee. Don’t forget that when you’re purchasing something that's going to protect your life, it’s a small price to pay.

How much does the vaccine cost?

Vaccine Vaccine Cost
Cholera £70
Hepatitis B £195
Hepatitis A & B £255
Hepatitis A & Typhoid £100
Combined Diptheria, Tetanus & Polio £52
Influenza £10
Japanese Encephalitis £224
Meningitis ACWY £82
Meningitis B £300-£600
Rabies £255
Rabies - intradermal £159
Tick-borne Encephalitis £255
Typhoid £47
Yellow Fever £82
Hepatitis A £150
Tuberculosis (BCG) £77
Malaria £3.50

You can use the above table to figure out how much you will be expected to pay for the jab you are receiving. As you can see, the average cost for a vaccination is around £50, but the price will ultimately depend on the vaccine which is needed. More times than not, the prices will vary, so be sure to check with your GP for an updated price list.

Are Vaccines Worth The Money?

Paying for vaccinations is probably the last thing you want to do after paying for a holiday, but when you look at the bigger picture, they’re a worthwhile investment. Vaccinations not only prevent you from falling ill to a nasty disease; they prevent you from having to pay a hefty medical bill, too. Check out the below chart for an insight into just how expensive treatment costs are for various, preventable, diseases.

How Much Does The Treatment Cost?

Illness Treatment Cost
Cholera £70
Hepatitis B £8,977.63 - £15,505.93
Hepatitis A £255
Japanese Encephalitis £2,862.34 - £14,769.76
Meningitis ACWY £82
Meningitis B £300 - £600
Rabies £1,213.14
Tick-borne Encephalitis £2,862.34 - £14,769.76
Typhoid £55.13
Yellow Fever £82
Tuberculosis (BCG) £101,918.39
Malaria £2,120.41
Tetanus £58,871.11
Polio £5,896.52 - £38,310.33
Influenza

As you can see, there isn’t a single illness on the above table, which doesn’t come with a hefty treatment cost. When you next hesitate about paying £77 for a Tuberculosis jab or something similar, remember that you could be ending up with an illness which will cost over £100,000 to treat.

So, in short, yes - vaccines are certainly worth the money when your health is in the works.

How Many People Die From Not Getting Vaccinations?

Although there may be no legal requirements to get jabs done, it’s far too risky to put off getting them. In fact, an increasing number of people have lost their lives due to not getting vaccinations; is the risk really worth it?

To put this into perspective, there are an estimated 128,000 to 161,000 deaths each year from the disease Typhoid. Considering the vaccination to prevent this disease is free from the NHS, the numbers are very alarming.

How Many Death Are There Each Year?

Illness Number of Cases Deaths Per Year
Cholera 1.4 to 4.0 million 21,000 - 143,000
Hepatitis B 257 million 887,000
Hepatitis A 1.4 million 11,000
Japanese Encephalitis 68,000 3,600 - 20,400
Meningitis B 400 - 1,200 379,000
Rabies 15 million 59,000
Tick-borne Encephalitis 2,057 280
Typhoid 11-20 million 128,000 - 161,000
Yellow Fever 200 000 45,000
Malaria 300-600 million 1,000,000
Polio 22 1
Tuberculosis (BCG) 10 million 1.6 million
Influenza 3 to 5 million 290,000 - 650,000
Tetanus 12,476 72,600

Other alarming cases included 1,000,000 deaths a year from Malaria and 887,000 from Hepatitis B. Of course, the risk of dying from these diseases will depend on which country you live in and the standard of healthcare available, but these numbers alone should highlight just how easy it is to catch bugs when you aren’t protected.

Things To Remember

Once you’ve had your vaccination, your doctor might tell you to take some medication throughout the duration of your trip. This is a common practice for anti-malaria in particular, and luckily, you can buy our anti-malaria tablets online if you’re prescribed them.

Your overall health will be taken into consideration before you are given the vaccination, as those with poor health may not be able to receive it.

If you are travelling to central Europe, North America or Australia, then the chances of you needing a jab are very slim. However, please check with your GP.

Vaccinations might be uncomfortable, but catching a disease will be far worse. Look after yourself!

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