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True or False: Are These Real Migraine Cures?

Posted Friday 24 January 2020 09:44 by in Migraines by Tim Deakin

Despite being such a common health concern, there are still many uncertainties surrounding migraines

Migraines impact as many as 1 billion people worldwide, making them the third most prevalent illness in the world.[1] Yet despite this, there is a lot of misinformation spread about migraines, and this can leave people confused by the condition even if they suffer from it themselves.

We’re going to take a closer look at all things migraines, exploring whether some of the most common migraine ‘cures’ stand up to scrutiny.

What are migraines?

Contrary to popular belief, a migraine is more than just a headache. It is a severe bout of head pain which is usually concentrated in one side of the head. Migraines can also cause further symptoms such as sickness, nausea and increased sensitivity to light or sound.[2]

How do migraines appear?

There is no single cause for migraines, as every case is different and comes with its own ‘triggers’. These can include lack of food, alcohol, hormonal changes, environmental changes, lack of sleep and stress, among others.[3]

In general, migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism in the brain which releases pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.[4]

Because causes of migraines are difficult to pin down, determining concrete cures for migraines can be equally tricky.

Are these real migraine cures?

There is no cure

TRUE AND FALSE

It is true that there is no set cure for every migraine. But this doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.

Less than 5% of people living with migraines actually seek out treatment or the advice of a headache specialist.[5] So while a one-size-fits-all cure is difficult to determine, bear in mind that there are plenty of measures to put in place which may work for you.

For example, migraine patients are often suffering from co-occurring conditions such as obesity, hypertension or anxiety. In these instances, treating these conditions can alleviate migraine symptoms.[6]

Light and temperature control

TRUE

Sensory sensitivity is one of the most common migraine symptoms, so it’s no surprise that reducing your exposure to harsh lights, noises and temperatures can help ease your pain. Many people find that lying down in a quiet, dark and cool space can reduce the length and severity of a migraine attack.

Creating a sleep routine

TRUE

There is a clear relationship between how well you sleep and whether or not you suffer from migraines. Both sleep loss and oversleeping are common headache triggers, while regular, good quality sleep has been shown to result in fewer headaches.[7] Creating a bedtime routine you can stick to every day can be an effective way of reducing your symptoms.

Following a strict diet

FALSE

While there is a relationship between food and headaches, it’s more about what you’re not eating as opposed to what you are eating. Many people like to blame their migraines on particular foods, such as chocolate, but actually the most common food-related migraine cause is failing to eat altogether. For this reason, following a strict diet can often do more harm than good. There is no migraine diet, but missing meals is a well-established migraine trigger.[8]

It changes for everyone

TRUE

As we mentioned earlier, there are many migraine triggers and these can vary between sufferers. This is part of the reason why it is difficult to determine a single cure for migraines. When the cause changes, so does the cure. In order to alleviate your migraines, you need to identify your own triggers and take steps to avoid them.

Medication

TRUE
There is indeed medication that is safe and effective in its treatment of migraines and cluster headaches.

Popular medication options like sumatriptan have been proven through rigorous research to be an effective means of reducing migraine symptoms. In one trial, 74% of migraine sufferers found that their symptoms had significantly decreased after 15 minutes of taking sumatriptan, compared to just 26% of placebo patients.[9]

Find safe and effective migraine relief treatment right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0208 123 07 03. You can also contact us using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] Migraine Research Foundation. Migraine statistics. 2020

[2] NHS UK. Migraine. 2019

[3] The Migraine Trust. More than “just a headache”. 2019

[4] World Health Organisation. Headache disorders. 2016

[5] Hribar, C. Migraine Statistics. Migraine.com. 2019

[6] Rosenberg, J. Migraine has an impact on both healthcare costs and lost productivity. American Journal of Managed Care. 2019

[7] American Migraine Foundation. How Sleep Disorders Interact with Headache and Migraine. 2019

[8] Afridi, S. PhD. Food and diet. The Migraine Trust. 2016

[9] Ekbom, K. MD. et al. Treatment of acute cluster headache with sumatriptan. The New England Journal of Medicine. 1991

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Top 6 Foods Known for Causing Heartburn

Posted Friday 24 January 2020 08:45 by in Acid Reflux by Harman Bhamra

Heartburn is an extremely common condition which affects up to 25% of UK adults regularly. The symptoms of heartburn can cause extreme amounts of discomfort and disrupt everyday life.

What Is Acid Reflux/Heartburn?

Heartburn is a fairly painful burning sensation which forms in your lower chest. It is caused by acid reflux - acid reflux is when stomach acid is forced up into your oesophagus (the pipe in which your food/drink travels down from your mouth to your stomach). This is not usually possible as your sphincter acts as a barrier to avoid this acid escaping, so when it does happen, heartburn takes place.

Usually, unless you burp or swallow, your sphincter stays shut. Those that suffer from acid reflux often have a weakened sphincter and so it opens on other occasions and allows acid to get out, leading to heartburn.

Top 6 Foods Known For Causing Heartburn

Diet is the number one culprit for heartburn as many foods can cause your sphincter to relax, allowing those pesky acids and foods to escape into the oesophagus. But what foods are best to avoid when trying to prevent heartburn?

Here are the top 6 foods that have been linked to heartburn, and if you suffer from acid reflux, you should steer clear of them!

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is likely to be the last thing you wanted to read on this list, but unfortunately, it is a common trigger of heartburn. The cocoa in the chocolate can increase serotonin levels, which can relax your sphincter and allow acid to sneak up your oesophagus; you don’t want that!

As well as boosting serotonin, chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine. Now we all know what caffeine is, but theobromine is a bitter compound that is found in cocoa and is therefore in chocolate. Both of these can also stimulate your sphincter to relax. Yet another reason to avoid chocolate!

A tiny bit of chocolate will unlikely affect you, but if you do suffer from acid reflux, avoid dark chocolate at all costs. Dark chocolate contains high levels of cocoa.

2. Spicy Foods

Put that takeaway menu back in the draw! Curry, chilli or any spicy foods are infamous causes of heartburn as more often than not they contain capsaicin which has been known to slow digestion rate.

As well as digestion issues, capsaicin is a compound that irritates tissue it comes into contact with and so can inflame your oesophagus, worsening heartburn. And so, it is best to take a step back from anything with a kick.

3. Onions

As well as saving you from bad breath, excluding raw onions from your diet will help you to reduce heartburn. Much like other foods, onions can cause you to burp/belch frequently which, as we know, opens your sphincter and could allow acid to escape in the process.

Burping/belching is caused as onions are rich in fermentable fibre, which exasperates acid reflux symptoms. Beans and legumes are also sources of this fibre and so it is also best to limit intake of those as well.

4. Mint

Unlike other foods, mint does not lead to heartburn through relaxing the sphincter. Instead, mint has been known to irritate the oesophagus lining.

It was often thought that mint helped digestion but has since been linked to the opposite. Peppermint tea and other forms of mint are putting those that consume them at a higher risk, so best to avoid it, just to be on the safe side.

5. Fatty Foods

Foods that have high-fat content are a risk to multiple aspects of your health and acid reflux is no exception. And we’re not just talking about fast-food or unhealthy snacks. Healthier produce such as avocados, cheese and nuts all have high-fat content, too!

These fatty foods can lead to the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin, which relaxes your sphincter and causes food to sit in your stomach for longer than usual. This also increases the risk of heartburn and acid reflux symptoms.

6. Salt

Again, salt has a bad reputation when it comes to your health. Adding salt as a seasoning to your meals or eating foods that have a high salt content can boost the chances of you experiencing acid reflux symptoms by 50%. With such a high figure, it’s best to limit your intake.

Common Acid Reflux Symptoms

It’s all well and good to advise you on what food to avoid when preventing acid reflux, but how do you know if you suffer?

Common acid reflux symptoms include:

  • Heartburn: as previously mentioned, this is the most common symptom and is a burning feeling that occurs in your lower chest, abdomen or throat
  • Regurgitation: when stomach acid escapes through your sphincter and causes a sour/bitter taste of acid in your throat or mouth
  • Dysphagia: this is the sensation of feeling as though you have food stuck in your throat
  • Hiccups
  • Burping/belching
  • Nausea

How To Stop Heartburn

There may be many foods which cause problems, but luckily, there are also a few that can stop heartburn from occurring.

  • Ginger: this is often used to relieve nausea. It can also help reduce symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn
  • Green Vegetables are low in fat, acid and sugar and have been proved to prevent pain and discomfort

These natural remedies can be helpful, but when battling acid reflux regularly, it’s wise to seek medical treatment.

Treatments For Acid Reflux

Express Pharmacy has a multitude of acid reflux and heartburn treatments which are guaranteed to provide long-term relief and prevention. The two most popular treatments for acid reflux can be found below:

Omeprazole is an effective and established medication for treating acid reflux; it helps to decrease the amount of acid your stomach is producing. As well as this, Omeprazole helps to repair acid damage to your stomach and oesophagus which, if left, could result in stomach ulcers or oesophagus cancer.

Lansoprazole is another type of medication Express Pharmacy sells to treat stomach and oesophagus problems, such as acid reflux. Lansoprazole also decreases the amount of acid your stomach is making while relieving symptoms such as heartburn, coughing and swallowing difficulty.

For more information regarding effective treatments for acid reflux, speak to our team on 0208 123 0703.

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How Do I Know if I Have Erectile Dysfunction?

Posted Tuesday 21 January 2020 10:48 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Harman Bhamra

man looking out of window

It is perfectly normal for men to struggle with arousal at some point in their lives, but if the problem becomes frequent, it can cause strain on a relationship.

Studies have found that up to 52% of men experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives, making it a pervasive problem across the globe. But how do you know if you actually have erectile dysfunction, and how is it treated?

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is diagnosed when a male near enough always has difficulty achieving and/or maintaining an erection. It typically occurs when the blood flow is restricted to the penis.

There are many causes of erectile dysfunction; from stress and tiredness to anxiety and over-drinking. Medical problems can also cause erectile dysfunction, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

What Are The Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

There are three main erectile dysfunction symptoms to look out for. If any of the below are frequently occurring when in the bedroom, you may be dealing with erectile dysfunction and could benefit from treatment.

1. Being Unable To Get An Erection

The main tell-tale sign of erectile dysfunction is being unable to get an erection when in the bedroom. Although this is perfectly normal from time to time and can be caused by other factors, frequent trouble may suggest an ED problem.

2. Being Unable To Maintain An Erection

There’s a common misconception that erectile dysfunction only means that you can’t get it ‘up’. However, in some instances, erectile dysfunction leaves some men unable to maintain an erection for as long as desired instead.

This symptom is not to be confused with premature ejaculation (although the two problems can overlap). When a man has erectile dysfunction and struggles to maintain an erection, it is unlikely that he will ejaculate.

3. Low Desire To Have Sex

Another symptom of erectile dysfunction is a reduced desire to have sex. Many men find that, if they are struggling with one of the above problems, they have a low sexual desire. However, the above problems aren’t always the cause; some men naturally have low sex drives, meaning getting aroused becomes quite the challenge.

Who is likely to be at risk from erectile dysfunction?

As mentioned previously, over 50% of men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Although it can affect anyone, people who fall into any of the following categories are at a higher risk of suffering from erectile dysfunction:

  • Frequent alcohol drinkers
  • Men aged over 40
  • Those with depression, stress or anxiety
  • Overweight men
  • Those with a medical condition (eg: high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease)

With the above categories being fairly broad, it’s clear to see just how many men may have erectile dysfunction.

How do you treat erectile dysfunction?

Luckily, due to being such a global problem, there are many erectile dysfunction treatments available. The most popular treatments include:

Lifestyle Changes

You may have noticed that some of the people at risk of having erectile dysfunction can alleviate the issue with a few lifestyle changes. Reducing alcohol intake, maintaining a good exercise routine, eating healthily and stopping smoking are all lifestyle changes that can reduce the chances of erectile dysfunction occurring.

Therapy

If mental health problems are affecting your sexual performance, seeking help through therapy is a viable option. A therapist will be able to unravel any underlying concerns which might be triggering the mental health problem, and over time, your sexual performance will benefit as a result.

Prescribed Erectile Dysfunction Tablets

Erectile dysfunction tablets are one of the most popular, and quickest, solutions for erectile dysfunction. An oral erectile dysfunction tablet is taken roughly one hour before sex, and once in the system, can last for up to four hours!

The two most popular erectile dysfunction tablets go by the name of Sildenafil and Viagra. Both treatments are extremely similar and effectively enable more blood to flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. Sildenafil tablets and Viagra tablets are both available at Express Pharmacy and can be delivered to you in as little as one working day. It’s never been so easy to discreetly buy Viagra online.

If you have erectile dysfunction and would like to seek help, do not hesitate to contact our pharmaceutical experts on 0208 123 0703. Alternatively, browse our erectile dysfunction treatments today.

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What Causes Premature Ejaculation?

Posted Friday 17 January 2020 08:42 by in Premature Ejaculation by Harman Bhamra

Timing is everything in relationships, particularly in the bedroom. But with so many sexual health problems interfering with thousands of lives, many couples are struggling to stay satisfied.

There is a lot of taboo around sexual health problems; people are often misinformed about different concerns and their effects. This is particularly the case when it comes to premature ejaculation. But what causes premature ejaculation, and how can you treat it?

What is premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation affects between 30% to 40% of men at some point in their life, so it’s more common than you may think.

Ejaculation problems are one of the most common sexual concerns for men, and there are three main types:

  • Premature ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Retrograde ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is the most common, affecting as many as one in five men. It occurs when a man ejaculates too quickly (usually after less than two minutes) during sexual intercourse.

Studies have found that the average time taken for men to ejaculate is around five and a half minutes. Of course, it is up to each couple to determine whether they are happy with how long sexual intercourse lasts, and there is no definition of how long the duration should be. But if men are finding that around half of their attempts at sexual intercourse result in premature ejaculation, it could be a cause for concern.

Premature Ejaculation Causes

Various premature ejaculation causes can lead to ongoing problems. Some of the most common causes of premature ejaculation include:

Other Health Problems

Premature ejaculation can be caused by other health issues, with the most common being problems with the thyroid or prostate. However, it’s also worth noting that premature ejaculation can cause these problems, so be sure to monitor which came first.

Mental Health

Mental health issues tend to be a huge contributor to sexual performance problems. This is particularly the case with depression; low levels of serotonin can lower your ejaculation stamina, leading to premature ejaculation.

Premature ejaculation can also be caused by stress or relationship problems, as your mind will be too busy focusing on other things.

Anxiety Over Sexual Performance

Men who have anxiety over their sexual performance, especially in the early days of a new relationship, often find that they develop ejaculation issues. This may be an issue which naturally goes as confidence builds, but some may find that the anxiety still remains.

Conditioning

It is possible for early sexual experiences to play a big part in sexual performance later in life. For example, if a teenager conditions himself to ejaculate quickly in order to avoid being caught masturbating, this can become a habit that is difficult to break later in life.

Sexual Trauma

Traumatic sexual experiences can range from being caught masturbating by a family member to being sexually abused, and this can make performing sexually later in life very difficult.

Upbringing and Beliefs about Sex

Men who have had a strict upbringing and were taught certain things surrounding sex may still have those beliefs in adulthood, impacting their ability to perform during sexual intercourse.

Biological Reasons

Biological problems, such as having an unusually sensitive penis, can lead to premature ejaculation.

Treatments for premature ejaculation

While many men find that they struggle with premature ejaculation at some point in their life, the good news is that there are several options for treating the issue. Treatment for premature ejaculation can range from behavioural techniques and exercise to therapy and medication.

Behavioural Techniques

Behavioural techniques can benefit a lot of men when it comes to controlling ejaculation. The ‘stop and start’ method involves you or your partner stimulating the penis until you are close to orgasm, then stopping for around 30 seconds or until the feeling passes. Begin the arousal again and then repeat the process three or four times before actually ejaculating, to train your body to last longer.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to premature ejaculation; pelvic floor exercises can help to strengthen the muscles in this area. These muscles are strengthened by locating the muscles used to stop your urine flow midstream and then holding them tight for three seconds before releasing them. Repeat this process ten times, three times a day.

Therapy

Therapy is also beneficial for some men who have negative emotions or thoughts surrounding sex. Therapy can be a useful treatment alongside medical or behavioural methods to deal with certain mental health issues which may be causing the problem.

Medication

Some men also find that certain medications can help them, including:

Priligy Tablets: Priligy tablets are a prescription medication containing dapoxetine which increases serotonin levels in the body, resulting in a significant impact on a man’s ability to reach ejaculation. The serotonin levels send nerve signal transmissions, providing men with more control over when they ejaculate.

EMLA Cream: EMLA is a local anaesthetic cream which uses Lidocaine and Prilocaine to numb the skin, preventing discomfort and reducing sensitivity. It’s a common ‘off-label’ solution to premature ejaculation problems as it can increase a man’s ability to last longer during sex by as much as six times. You can buy EMLA cream over the counter or online, and it is applied 30 minutes prior to intercourse.

Regain control of your sexual performance

Premature ejaculation is a common problem for men, and if it’s occurring sporadically, it’s nothing to worry about. However, if you’re finding that you regularly ejaculate sooner than you would like, it’s worth trying out a handful of the treatments mentioned in this guide. Get in touch with our experts on 0208 123 0703 or browse our treatment range for more information.

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Obesity Awareness Week: What Causes Weight Gain and Obesity?

Posted Monday 13 January 2020 08:40 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

Obesity is one of the most common health problems in the world and has been connected with numerous concerns, from high blood sugar to high blood pressure. Collectively, these related conditions are known as metabolic syndrome, and people with metabolic syndrome are more likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Much research has been carried out over the last few decades into the causes of obesity and the different ways that it can be prevented and treated. In light of obesity awareness week, we are taking a look at what causes weight gain and obesity, and how you can overcome it.

What is the definition of obesity?

The definition of obesity refers to someone who is very overweight. Obesity is a common global problem, with one in four adults in the UK alone affected.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most widely used method to check if someone is overweight; it’s a measure of whether you’re at a healthy weight for your height. A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a healthy weight, while 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight.

If you have a BMI of between 30 and 39.9, you will be classed as obese. And, if you score over 40, you are considered to be severely obese. However, while BMI is useful in indicating whether you’re at a healthy weight, it’s important to note that it doesn’t take into account other factors such as muscle percentage.

With this in mind, a better measure of excess fat is waist size – men who are obese generally have a waist size of 40 inches or more, while obese women have a waist of 35 inches or more.

What causes weight gain?

Many people believe that those who are overweight simply don’t have the willpower to get healthy, but that isn’t true in the majority of cases. In fact, what causes obesity can vary from genetics right through to medical problems.

The following pointers are the main causes of weight gain, which can lead to obesity:

Genetics

Genetics play a huge role in obesity and children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese themselves. That’s not to say that obesity is completely predetermined and out of your control, as diet and exercise can still influence your individual weight. But genetic components do affect how susceptible you are to gaining, and holding on to, weight.

Medication

Pharmaceutical drugs like antidepressants and diabetes medication cite weight gain as one of the side effects. These medications don’t impact your willpower, but they do affect the functioning of your brain, which reduces your metabolic rate and increases your appetite.

Food Addiction

Fatty foods stimulate reward centres in the brain, leading to an addictive sensation. In fact, these foods have been compared to drugs like cocaine, alcohol and nicotine in terms of how addictive they are.

Addiction is complex and difficult for many people to overcome, as it alters the chemistry of the brain, making it hard to stop. People who are addicted to food lose control of their eating habits and become more likely to gain weight as a result.

Sugar

The impact sugar has on our health is not new news. One of the ways it harms us is by changing the hormones and biochemistry in our bodies, altering insulin resistance and increasing the chance of gaining weight.

Misinformation

A lack of understanding about health and nutrition is largely to blame for the levels of obesity around the world. From inaccurate information online to magazines and newspapers; many sources quickly become misinterpreted or taken out of context. Food companies also play a role in this, as do diet brands.

What is the best way to lose weight?

The best way to lose weight is by combining a few different lifestyle changes. Firstly, assess your diet and take note of the types of food you are eating; could you switch to healthier alternatives? Make sure you eat three meals a day too - many people believe that skipping breakfast will be beneficial to weight loss, but the opposite is true, and it means you miss out on the necessary nutrients to kickstart your day.

Getting more active is also key to successful weight loss; start walking more when possible or join a fitness class at your local gym.

To give your weight loss journey an extra boost, you can even take effective weight loss pills. Xenical weight loss pills aim to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during digestion. They are an effective weight loss treatment when used alongside a balanced diet and exercise regime, improving your cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and reducing levels of insulin.

Conclusion

Obesity is a global epidemic that poses a significant concern for the health of millions of people. Your weight loss journey will require a lot of determination, but by combining weight loss pills, meal planning and exercise, you’ll begin to notice significant differences to your body image. You’ll even benefit from reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases.

Get in touch with our experts on 0208 123 0703 for more information regarding effective weight loss.

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