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5 Simple Ways to Reduce Period Pain

Posted Wednesday 02 September 2020 15:14 by in Period Pain Medication by Harman Bhamra

Most women experience period pain at some point in their lives. It is common and a normal part of the menstruation cycle. Usually characterised by painful muscle cramps in the abdomen, period pain can also spread to your thighs and back.

Period pain can vary between dull and constant cramps to intense spasms. Your experience may also vary with each period. There will be periods where the pain is bearable or even non-existent, while other months may be very painful.

Here’s an article to help you learn more about the symptoms of period pain.

What are the Causes of Period Pain?

Normally, period pain is caused by the contraction (tightening) of the muscles surrounding your womb. Mild contractions of the uterine wall occur every day but they are so mild you won’t even notice them. However, during your period, this contraction becomes more vigorous to help your womb shed its lining.

When your uterine wall contracts, it compresses the blood vessels in your womb --- cutting off blood and oxygen supply. This causes the tissues in your womb to release chemicals that trigger pain. These chemicals also cause your body to produce prostaglandins which stimulate the uterine wall to compress even further --- increasing the pain levels you perceive.

Until now, doctors are not sure why some women experience more painful period pains than others. They suspect that the build-up of prostaglandins in the body is the culprit.

Some medical conditions can also cause period pains. But these tend to affect women between 30 to 45 years old. Some of these medical conditions are:

Fibroids - benign tumours that grow in and around the uterus.

Endometriosis - a case where cells which line the uterus grow in other areas like your ovaries and fallopian tubes. When they shed, these abnormal cell growth can cause intense pain.

Adenomyosis - a condition where the tissues lining the uterus starts to grow within the muscular womb wall.

Pelvic inflammatory disease - an inflammation in the ovaries, womb, and fallopian tubes caused by bacteria.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - usually begins a couple of days before your period. The pain continues into the first two days of your menstruation. 90% of women experience PMS at some point in their lives. According to doctors, PMS may be caused by the dipping of estrogen and progesterone levels at the beginning of your menstruation.

How Long Do Period Pains Last?

Most period pains start when you menstruate. However, some women also experience period pain even weeks before their bleeding begins. Usually, period pains last between two to three days. The pain is at its worst when your bleeding is at its peak. Some period pains can last longer.

Surprisingly, many women experience lesser period pains after they’ve had children.

How to Reduce Period Pains

Below are five simple ways on how to reduce period pains at home:

1. Keep yourself hydrated

Bloating is one of the common symptoms of menstrual cramps. And bloating can make the pain you feel worse. Drinking plenty of liquids can help ease bloating. Make it a habit to drink between six to eight glasses of water every day. You can add some lemon or mint to improve the taste.

There are many ways to hydrate if you are not loving plain water. Try a glass of fruit-infused water or a cup of ginger or chamomile tea. You can also prepare a pitcher of water with lemon and cucumber for the day. Sipping a cup of broth (low sodium) is also a great way to relax and rehydrate. You can also buy flavoured mineral water.

While you are hydrating, cut your alcohol and sodium intake as they promote dehydration and bloating.

2. Get some sunshine

Vitamin D helps reduce the production of prostaglandins in the body. Period pains can be disabling so if you don’t feel like going outside for some sunshine, take some vitamin D supplements. Studies show that high weekly doses of vitamin D can significantly lower the pain of menstrual cramps.

3. Avoid caffeine

Many women report that eliminating caffeine has helped reduce their period pains. Caffeine comes in many forms --- most of it are your favourites (i.e. chocolate, soda, tea, energy drinks, coffee, etc.). If you consume lots of caffeinated products every day, break the habit slowly so you don’t succumb to withdrawal symptoms.

A great substitute for caffeine is smoothies and shakes with protein powder, greens, and berries which are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.

4. Massage and apply heat

Massages promote blood flow. So, massaging your abdomen for at least five minutes every day can help reduce period pains. Use massage creams with essential oils like marjoram and lavender to take advantage of their amazing benefits --- including soothing the pain caused by menstrual cramps.

While you are at it, consider applying a heating pad to your abdomen too. Heat can help the muscles relax. No heating pad? Just grab a hot water bottle or a warm towel!

5. Take Mefenamic Acid

Mefenamic acid is a popular period pain treatment. This medicine works by reducing inflammation in your uterine wall thus providing relief from pain. Mefenamic acid is an effective pain reliever that belongs to a family of medicines called NSAIDs or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

Mefenamic acid is taken three times a day for a maximum of three days during your period. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol while you are taking this medication. You can buy period pain tablets from Express Pharmacy today.

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4 Proven Ways to Stop Hair Loss

Posted Friday 28 August 2020 11:00 by in Hair Loss by Harman Bhamra

In this article, we are going to talk about 4 proven ways to stop hair loss so you can walk with full confidence once again.

Understanding Hair Loss

Hair loss or alopecia affects both men and women. It is, however, more common among men with about 40% experiencing noticeable balding by the age of 35.

The average adult head contains about 150,000 strands of hair and it’s considered normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day. So, don’t be alarmed if you find strands of hair on your hairbrush or on the floor.

Our hair is actually made up of dead keratin cells. As hair follicles produce new hair cells, old or dead keratin cells are pushed out through the skin’s surface --- this then becomes the hair that we can see. On average hair grows at a rate of approximately 6 inches every year.

Normally, 90% of the hair on a normal person’s scalp is growing. Hair growth follows a cycle with three distinct phases:

  • Anagen Phase - hair grows actively during this stage. This phase lasts around 2 - 8 years.
  • Catagen Phase - a transitional stage that lasts between 2 - 3 weeks.
  • Telogen Phase - a resting stage that lasts about 2 - 3 months. At the end of this phase, the old hair falls out and the cycle returns to the anagen phase.

Hair loss is affected by age, genes, hormones, stress, certain drugs, burns, x-rays, injuries, cosmetic procedures, diet, autoimmune diseases, and certain medical conditions like diabetes, anaemia, lupus, and iron deficiency.

For more information, here’s a more detailed article that explains the causes of hair loss.

4 proven ways to stop hair loss

1. Consider having a hair transplant

This option is perfect for those who have already suffered significant hair loss. Don’t worry - you don’t have to replace all 100,000 strands of hair. In fact, only 25,000 strands of hair are needed to give the appearance of a relatively complete hair.

Hair transplants are done by taking hair follicles that are resistant to DHT from the back and sides of your head. Doctors then graft these portions on to the balding area of the scalp. Modern procedures involve using hair stem cells to stimulate regrowth of healthy hair in the “donor” area of your head. This allows for repeated transplants if needed.

2. Try changing your lifestyle

Do you know that stress is a major factor that affects hair loss? Changes in lifestyle can help prevent or slow down hair loss. Here are some of the things that you can do.

  • Reduce stress by getting more sleep, drinking plenty of water, and reducing your hours at work.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet.
  • Eat protein-rich foods regularly. Remember that keratin which makes up your hair is a type of protein so supplementing your diet with healthy protein can do wonders to your hair.
  • Get enough vitamins and minerals. You can easily get vitamins B3, B5, B9, and E from orange, fish, soya beans, spinach, and broccoli. For minerals, a healthy quantity of Zinc (dairy, egg yolk, and wheat), magnesium (tuna, banana, and milk), and iron (fish, beans, and leafy greens) is a must.

3. Use hair-friendly products

Hair products like gels may contain chemicals that could get trapped in the follicles --- preventing your hair from growing. If you are starting to see signs of hair loss, stop using gels and try more natural or organic styling products.

You can also opt for shampoos that combat DHT. Studies show that DHT is one of the main culprits of hair loss. Anti-DHT shampoos contain ketoconazole which prevents the conversion of testosterone into DHT.

4. Use hair loss medications

Hair loss medications like finasteride are proven to be effective in preventing or slowing down hair loss. Express Pharmacy stocks two hair loss drugs that you can buy online and get delivered right to your doorstep.

Propecia

Propecia contains finasteride as its active ingredient. This hair loss drug is used to treat male pattern baldness on the vertex and anterior mid-scalp areas. Propecia is a constant treatment. This means that you have to take one pill a day on an ongoing basis.

Studies show that men who are taking Propecia stop losing hair within 3 to 6 months of treatment. 90% of men noticed visible improvements in their condition over 5 years of taking the tablet.

Finasteride

Finasteride is the generic counterpart of Propecia. This hair loss treatment has the same medical composition as its branded counterpart and is perfect for treating male pattern baldness. This hair loss drug should not be used by children and women.

Same as Propecia, you have to take one tablet of generic Finasteride every day. You should start seeing improvements within six months of use.

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When to Take the Morning After Pill

Posted Wednesday 26 August 2020 12:00 by in Emergency Contraception by Harman Bhamra

Do you know when to take the morning after pill in order to maximize its effectiveness?

The morning after pill is an effective emergency contraceptive that’s designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Studies show that 20% or 1 in every 5 women in the country between ages 18 and 35 take the morning after pill at least once every year.

The morning after pill should not be used as a regular contraceptive. Being an emergency contraceptive, it should only be taken if the sex was unprotected or if your contraception failed (e.g. you missed your pill, split condom, etc.).

When is the right time to take the morning after pill?

Express Pharmacy stocks three types of morning after pills. Namely: Levonelle, ellaOne, and Richter. All have different windows of effectiveness.

Levonelle

Levonelle is a type of emergency hormonal contraception. It was licensed in the UK in June 2004. Levonelle’s active ingredient, levonorgestrel, works by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg. It also helps prevent the sperm from fertilizing any egg that may have been released by your ovaries prior to unprotected sex.

When to take Levonelle

Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse. Studies show that it’s most effective if taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex. If taken within 24 hours, Levonelle can stop up to 95% of unwanted pregnancies.

How to use Levonelle

Take one tablet of Levonelle orally within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. Take a replacement dose if you vomited within 2 hours of taking the medication.

ellaOne

Another type of emergency hormonal contraception is ellaOne. This prescription-only medication has an active ingredient called ulipristal acetate which inhibits or delays ovulation. This means that your ovaries will not release an egg for the sperm to fertilize during unprotected sex.

When to take ellaOne

Like all emergency contraceptives, ellaOne is most effective when taken as early as possible. Studies show that ellaOne can be effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sexual intercourse.

How to use ellaOne

Take one tablet of ellaOne orally within 120 hours of unprotected sex. If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of taking the tablet, take another dose. You can take ellaOne with or without food.

We don’t recommend using ellaOne again within the same menstrual cycle. If you have an active sex life, make sure to use other forms of contraception until your next period.

Richter

Like the previous two, Richter is also an emergency hormonal contraceptive. It also contains levonorgestrel --- the same active ingredient as Levonelle. Richter works by preventing or delaying your ovulation. It also prevents pregnancy by keeping the sperm from fertilizing an egg that may have been released by your ovaries prior to unprotected intercourse.

When to take Richter

Like Levonelle, Richter must be taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. The sooner, the better. This emergency contraception is known to prevent 84% of unwanted pregnancies if taken within its effectiveness window.

How to use Richter

Take one tablet of Richter orally within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Ideally, within the first 12 hours. If you vomited within 3 hours of taking this after morning pill, take another dose.

We don’t recommend using Richter as your regular contraceptive. Don’t take another dose of Richter until your next menstrual cycle. If you plan on having sex before your next period, make sure to use other forms contraceptives like a condom to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

Frequently asked questions about the morning after pill

Is the morning after pill safe?

Millions of people in the UK have taken a morning after pill at least once a year. There have been no reports of serious complications involving after morning pills so these drugs are generally safe.

Some common side effects of after morning pills include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful period

These side effects are usually mild and will go away on their own after some time.

Can I take the morning after pill regularly?

While taking the morning after pill as needed will not hurt you, we don’t recommend using it as your main contraceptive. Why? Because it’s not as effective as other forms of birth control and they are also more expensive than your regular pills.

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Achieve Peace With These Top 3 Tips for Meditating at Home

Posted Friday 21 August 2020 11:00 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

With the coronavirus pandemic completely changing the way we live our lives, it’s become all the more important to focus on our mental health. Staying indoors and having reduced social interactions can naturally dampen our spirits, meaning it’s wise to take time out of our days to actually do things that make us happy. And, what better way to stay grounded than with a spot of meditation?

Within this guide, we will be taking you through how to achieve peace with these top three tips for meditation at home.

How Meditation Impacts Mental Health

Before we dive right into the tips, let’s take a look at why you should practice meditation in the first place.

Meditation involves the art of focusing purely on the mind (or a particular object). The main goal is to achieve a mentally clear - and stable - brain. This stable state is what contributes to a positive mental mindset - all worries essentially melt away while you focus on tuning in with your body.

3 Tips For Meditating At Home

The following three tips are perfect for both beginners and those who practice meditation regularly.

1. Make A Tranquil Space

Meditation works better without any distractions. This means that sitting in the kitchen while dinners cooking or sitting in the living room with the TV on probably won’t help you to achieve peace. For best results, find a quiet space with little distractions. Have a declutter of any unnecessary waste and create a comfy seating area that won’t make you want to move around every few minutes.

2. Don’t Stick To Thoughts

Meditation involves letting go of passing thoughts whenever they arrive. This is a lot harder than it sounds and may take a lot of practice to get right, but if you persevere, you’ll soon find it incredibly easy to do. As soon as a thought pops up, acknowledge it is there and let it float by. Don’t get tangled up in the thought and don’t get anxious over the fact your mind is more active than you’d like it to be. As you start to practice more, the passing thoughts will slow down, and you will achieve greater peace.

3. Make Time For Practice

Achieving mindfulness cannot be done if you’re constantly thinking about the next thing you have to do. This means that, no matter what your schedule, you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of time to practice meditation properly. Whether it be ten minutes or half an hour, allocate a specific slot each day and stick to it. For best results, try to do this in the morning so that you feel prepped and refreshed for the day ahead. Just ensure that the time you allocate is a time when you have no responsibilities elsewhere.

Watch The Benefits Roll In!

While there are hundreds of tips and tricks to learn about for effective meditation, these top three are great starting points. Keep them in mind at all times (but don’t stress about them!) and watch as your ability to meditate gets easier and easier. Before you know it, you’ll have a far more ‘zen’ state of mind, allowing you to tackle most anxieties and stresses thrown at you.

If you or someone you know has been struggling with their mental health as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, check out this list of helpful resources for further guidance.

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How Effective Is ellaOne at Preventing Pregnancy?

Posted Friday 21 August 2020 10:00 by in Emergency Contraception by Harman Bhamra

It can be hard to find the best contraceptive for you, but if you’re curious about ellaOne, you’re in the right place.

EllaOne is a morning-after pill designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It is considered to be the most effective morning after pill in Europe - but just how effective is it at preventing pregnancy?

How effective is ellaOne?

EllaOne’s mechanism of action is actually very simple. It works by delaying ovulation if it has not already happened. This means that the sperm waiting in your fallopian tubes will not be able to meet an egg which they can fertilise. Eventually, they’ll die out.

Like all contraceptive pills, ellaOne is not guaranteed to be 100% effective -- especially if you have already ovulated. For the highest chance of success, take ellaOne as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you decide to have sex after you’ve taken this after-morning pill, we strongly recommend that you use condoms and other methods of contraception until your next period.

Has anyone got pregnant after taking ellaOne?

Yes, but the percentage of women who got pregnant after taking ellaOne is very small. According to this article from the BBC, approximately 0.6 to 2.6 per cent of women who take the after-morning pill after unprotected sex still get pregnant.

You have to remember that after-morning pills don’t work if you have already ovulated once you have had unprotected sex. So, knowing when you ovulate is key to maximizing the effects of ellaOne. Usually, ovulation happens about two weeks before your period.

What happens after taking ellaOne?

Like all types of treatments, ellaOne also has its own side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling sick
  • Headache
  • Painful period
  • Abdominal pain

Most of these are pretty mild and will go away on their own. One thing you need to keep in mind is that these symptoms are also signs of pregnancy. Most women who take ellaOne don’t suffer any of these side effects. If you experienced one of these coupled by a lighter, heavier, or missed period, take a pregnancy test.

It’s possible to experience a delay in your period for more than a week after taking ellaOne. You can take a pregnancy test for your peace of mind.

How long does ellaOne stay effective?

EllaOne can be effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex. It’s more effective the sooner you take it. Use a barrier method of contraception if you are planning to have sex again after taking ellaOne to lower your risks of unwanted pregnancy.

How ellaOne compares against other forms of contraception

EllaOne is best used together with other methods of contraception. But for comparison’s sake, we’ll take a look at how this after-morning pill stacks against other contraceptive methods in terms of effectiveness (information taken from NHS UK).

Form Of Contraception Perfect Use* Typical Use**
Male condoms 98% effective 82% effective
Female condoms 95% effective 79% effective
Contraceptive pills (combined pill and progestogen-only pill) 99% effective 91% effective
Contraceptive injection (lasts between 8 to 13 weeks) More than 99% effective 94% effective
Contraceptive patch More than 99% effective 91% effective
Diaphragms and caps 92% to 96% effective 71-88% effective
Contraceptive implant More than 99% effective No user failure
Intrauterine system (IUS) More than 99% effective No user failure
Intrauterine device (IUD) More than 99% effective No user failure
Vaginal ring More than 99% effective 91% effective
Emergency contraception (e.g. ellaOne) 98% effective May result in pregnancy if taken after ovulation.

*Perfect use - contraceptive method is always used correctly
**Typical use - contraceptive method is not always used correctly (e.g. missed pill, leakage, etc.)

Where can I get ellaOne?

You can buy ellaOne online from Express Pharmacy.

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