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Do You Know How to Prevent and Treat Traveller’s Diarrhoea?

Posted Monday 29 July 2019 23:25 by in Travellers Diarrhoea by Tim Deakin

food contamination

Traveller’s diarrhoea is one of the most common afflictions facing travellers, and is defined as passing three or more loose/watery bowel motions within 24 hours.[1] The condition affects as many as 20% of people travelling to high-risk destinations.[2]

But there are things you can do to reduce your chances of developing TD, and to ease the condition if you do fall victim to it.

Preventing Traveller’s Diarrhoea

High risk areas for TD include Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and many parts of Asia. Areas that carry an intermediate risk include southern Europe, Israel, South Africa and some Caribbean and Pacific Islands.[3]

When travelling to any of these areas, it’s important to take precautions in order to reduce your chances of developing TD.

Wash your hands

Washing your hands frequently is one of the simplest ways to stop the spread of germs and infection. Take the time to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do this after using the bathroom and before and after eating.

Be careful what you eat and drink

Contaminated food and drink are a major factor in the spread of TD, so take care to stick to a safe diet and habits. This includes:

Eating food that is cooked and served hot

Eating fruit and vegetables you have washed and peeled yourself

Consuming only pasteurised dairy products

Avoiding food served at room temperature, as well as food from street venders and raw or undercooked meat or fish

Drinking bottled water that is sealed and avoiding tap water

This also relates to swimming, as you’re advised to take care not to ingest pool water while using the pool.[4]

Home Remedies for Traveller’s Diarrhoea

As well as producing frequent loose stools, TD can also lead to symptoms such as cramping, pain, nausea, temperature, weakness and general discomfort.[5]

Thankfully, there are ways to deal with the condition effectively, whether your TD is mild, moderate or severe.

Mild TD

Dehydration is one of the most dangerous aspects of any form of diarrhoea, so however severe your TD is, you should drink plenty of fluids. Consuming small quantities of easily digestible foods like rice and bananas can also help to aid gut recovery in those with TD.[6]

In milder cases, over the counter medication like Imodium may help.

Moderate TD

Again, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. You can also use oral rehydration salts mixed with clean water in order to reduce the discomfort caused by your TD.

Again, over the counter medications may be helpful, but you may find prescribed treatment to be necessary.

Severe TD

Try to stay as hydrated as possible, but seek medical support if you can’t stomach fluids. Oral rehydration powders can be diluted into clean drinking water and are useful for addressing the electrolyte imbalances caused by severe TD. However, if oral rehydration powders aren’t available, a salt and sugar solution (six level teaspoons of sugar and one level teaspoon of salt to a litre of water) can be used.[7]

In more severe cases of TD, prescription anti-traveller’s diarrhoea medication can help to alleviate symptoms as quickly as possible.

Medication for Traveller’s Diarrhoea

In many cases of TD, medication can help to alleviate symptoms and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition. In fact, a short course of medication can help to reduce the duration of an upset stomach by as much as 50%, reducing the severity of the symptoms at the same time.[8]

Treatments like Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin are among the leading medications designed to treat cases of traveller’s diarrhoea. In fact, Public Health England recommends having azithromycin on stand-by when travelling to areas considered to carry high risks of TD.[9]

You can find safe and effective traveller’s diarrhoea medication right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to contact our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] Fit For Travel. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. NHS UK. 2017

[2] Travel Health Pro. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. 2019

[3] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Diarrhoea — prevention and advice for travellers. 2019

[4] World Health Organisation. Guidelines for safe recreational water environments: volume 2, swimming pools and similar environments. 2006

[5] Better Health Gov. Traveller’s diarrhoea. 2017

[6] DuPont, HL., Ericsson, CD., Farthing, MJG. et al. Expert review of the evidence base for self-therapy of traveller’s diarrhoea. Journal of Travel Medicine. 2009

[7] World Health Organisation. WHO position paper on Oral Rehydration Salts to reduce mortality from cholera. 2019

[8] British Medical Journal. Traveller’s diarrhoea. 2016

[9] National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England. Summary of antimicrobial prescribing guidance — managing common infections. 2019

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Food for Thought: How Diet Impacts Erectile Dysfunction

Posted Wednesday 24 July 2019 19:38 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Tim Deakin

diet and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual health problem, especially in men over 40. It’s simply defined by a chronic issue with achieving and maintaining an erection throughout sexual activity.[1]

Erectile problems are something most men will experience occasionally, whether due to worry, tiredness or relationship problems, but for some men the condition won’t go away.

We’re going to take a closer look at the relationship between diet and erectile dysfunction, exploring whether what you eat could make a difference to your symptoms.

What you drink matters more than what you eat

While food can have a part to play in erectile dysfunction, the clearest connection can be found between erectile dysfunction and what you drink. Or, more specifically, erectile dysfunction and alcohol.

Drinking excess amounts of alcohol has been shown to impact sexual health in many ways. For women, this might take the form of reduced lubrication or fewer orgasms, while for men it primarily increases the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.[2]

One 2007 study found that 61% of alcohol-dependent participants involved in the research reported sexual dysfunction, the most common form of which was erectile dysfunction, followed by a reduced sexual desire. In many patients, these two symptoms coexisted.[3]

Excess weight can affect your sexual health

What you eat can also play a part in erectile dysfunction, namely by looking at your diet overall. An unhealthy diet increases your risk of carrying excess weight, leading to conditions like obesity. This can make erectile dysfunction more likely.

A study from 2014 found that almost four out of five (79%) of men with erectile dysfunction possess a BMI of 25kg/m2 or greater. They also concluded that obesity leads to erectile dysfunction to a considerably greater extent than ageing.[4]

Erectile dysfunction is far more common in overweight and obese men than in healthy weight men. In fact, figures show that carrying excess weight can increase your chances of erectile dysfunction by between 30 and 90%.[5]

Can food help?

Although there is little scientific evidence to suggest that certain foods hold the power to alleviate and worsen symptoms of erectile dysfunction, the healthiness of your diet overall can definitely play a part.

Changing your dietary habits to be healthier, helping you lose excess weight, can help to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In one Massachusetts study, eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains decreased the likelihood of erectile dysfunction appearing.[6]

One Italian study also found that men with erectile dysfunction who had a diet and exercise program included in their treatment were far more likely to see improvements in their symptoms. After two years, 30% of men in the diet and exercise group had corrected their erectile dysfunction, compared to just 6% in the other group.[7]

Medication is also key to successfully treating erectile dysfunction. Treatments like Viagra and Sildenafil are not only quick and easy to consume, but they’ve also been shown in clinical trials to improve blood flow to the penis, relieving symptoms of erectile dysfunction.[8]

Discover a range of safe and effective erectile dysfunction medication right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

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

[2] Drink Aware. Is alcohol ruining your sex life? 2016

[3] Arackal, B.S., Benegal, V. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007

[4] Skrypnik, D. Obesity — significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men. 2014

[5] Bupa. Male Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction. 2011.

[6] Healthbeat. 5 natural ways to overcome erectile dysfunction. Harvard Health Publishing. 2016

[7] Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Obesity: Unhealthy and unmanly. Harvard Health Publishing. 2011

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

Tags: Sildenafil Viagra Erectile Dysfunction Sexual Health

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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


Blocked or runny nose

Watering, red eyes


Blocked sinuses

Shortness of breath


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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