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Is Trimethoprim an Effective Treatment for Cystitis?

Posted Tuesday 15 December 2020 10:30 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Trimethoprim is one of the most commonly used drugs for treating urinary tract infections and cystitis. As an antibiotic, trimethoprim works by killing the bacteria associated with the aforementioned illnesses. Within this guide, we will uncover just how effective trimethoprim is for treating cystitis.

Is trimethoprim effective?

The short answer is: yes! Trimethoprim is a fast-acting medication that works within just a few hours of taking it. By stopping the growth of bacteria that causes cystitis, trimethoprim enables your body’s immune system to fight off the infection more effectively.

Several clinical studies show that trimethoprim is highly effective in treating UTIs --- easing most of the cystitis symptoms you feel within 24 hours. Since this medicine is well-tolerated, you experience fewer side effects, too.

How does trimethoprim work?

Cystitis is usually caused by the imbalance of natural bacteria found in your urinary tract. Untreated, this infection can spread toward the bladder, causing further damage. That’s why it’s important to treat UTIs as soon as possible.

Simply put, trimethoprim works by inhibiting the growth and spread of bacteria. This gives your immune system enough time to get rid of the existing infection for good.

Who can take trimethoprim?

Adults and children can take trimethoprim safely. However, this medicine is not suitable for people who have:

  • Kidney problems
  • Liver issues
  • Anaemia
  • Low amount of folic acid in the blood
  • Had allergic reactions to trimethoprim in the past

Women who are pregnant or are already pregnant are also cautioned against using trimethoprim. Remember that Trimethoprim works by lowering the levels of folate in the body. Folate or folic acid is important for the baby’s normal development. If you must take trimethoprim, your doctor may prescribe you with high doses of folic acid as a supplement especially during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

How should I take trimethoprim?

You take two doses of trimethoprim a day --- one in the morning and one in the evening. Since trimethoprim doesn’t cause an upset stomach, you can take this medicine with or without food. Your daily dose of trimethoprim will depend on the illness you have. For example, for treating UTI, your doctor may recommend taking trimethoprim 200mg twice a day.

Never take two doses of trimethoprim at the same time. If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it's almost time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose and continue as usual.

What are the side effects of trimethoprim?

Trimethoprim is a very well-tolerated drug. This means that most people don’t experience side effects associated with this medication. However, like all medicines, trimethoprim also has some side effects. Below are the most common ones which happen in 1% of patients:

  • Itching
  • Mild rash
  • Feeling sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches

Serious side effects of trimethoprim are rare (happens only to 1 in 1000 patients). These include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle weakness
  • Serious skin reactions (blisters, skin ulcers, swelling etc.)
  • Over-sensitivity to bright light coupled with fever, headache, tired, feeling ill, and stiff neck
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding

If you encounter any of these symptoms, consult with your doctor right away.

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How to Lose Water Weight

Posted Thursday 10 December 2020 11:00 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

Did you know that most of your body weight is made up of water? Any extra water held by your body is referred to as water weight or oedema. While not serious, water weight can cause bloating and puffiness especially in the areas around your legs, abdomen, and arms. Too much water weight can also cause complications in your heart and kidneys. Within this guide, you will find some simple tips to help you lose water weight.

8 easy ways to lose water weight at home

Tip #1. Get enough sleep

If you want to lose water weight, get a healthy amount of sleep every night. A good night’s sleep can help your body manage its sodium and fluid levels more effectively. Aim for around 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Tip #2. Keep your electrolytes balanced

What are electrolytes? These are minerals that contain an electric charge. Common examples of electrolytes are potassium and magnesium. Electrolytes play a crucial role in your body - especially in regulating water balance.

Too many or too few electrolytes can lead to increased water weight. So, balance is key. The best way to ensure a good balance of electrolytes is to tailor it with your water intake. You may need to take more electrolytes if you:

  • Exercise
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Live in hot or humid regions

Too many electrolytes from food and supplements and low water intake can lead to water retention and increased water weight.

Tip #3. Manage your sodium

Sodium is the most common electrolyte in the body. And your primary source of sodium is salt. Like in the previous tip, an imbalance in your body’s sodium levels (too high or too low) can cause fluid shifts which may lead to increased water weight. Avoid high salt diets if you want to stop your body from retaining too much water.

If you are looking for low sodium alternatives, try natural foods like seeds, nuts, and vegetables. Certain foods like avocados, bananas, and leafy vegetables are also known to help reduce sodium levels in the body.

Tip #4. Avoid too many carbs

Did you know that unused carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen? And each gram of glycogen contains 3 grams of water! If you want to lose water weight, cutting your carb intake can help. Eating fewer carbohydrates causes your body to use up its glycogen reserves which in turn reduces water weight.

A common source of carbohydrates in our diet include pasta, rice, and bread. Try replacing these with high-protein alternatives like lean meat, soy products, and egg. On average, a normal adult only needs about 130g of carbohydrates to function normally.

Tip #5. Exercise regularly

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular exercise when it comes to keeping your body healthy. A good exercise session helps to promote increased blood flow which prevents the buildup of fluids all over your body, particularly in the arms and legs. Exercising also helps reduce water weight by burning your body glycogen reserves.

Tip #6. Drink more water

This may sound counterintuitive but drinking more water can help you lose water weight. Why? Well, let’s just say that your body is wired to survive. If it senses dehydration, it’s immediate action is to hold on to extra water as much as it can. Thus, increasing your water weight.

Proper hydration also improves kidney function which enables your body to flush out excess sodium and water. The best way to lose water weight is to replace sugary drinks with plain water. An average adult needs approximately 2 litres of water every day.

Tip #7. Drink tea and coffee

The caffeine found in coffee and tea is diuretic. This means it makes you pee more often. Studies show that increased urination can help decrease water weight. You can combine caffeine with more water intake to significantly increase the volume of your urine.

Tip #8. Take water pills and weight loss pills

Water pills are designed to treat mild fluid retention. Like caffeine, these pills function as a diuretic that makes you urinate more often. Though not recommended for long-term use, your doctor may prescribe water pills on a case to case basis.

Another great way to lose weight is by taking weight loss pills. Weight loss pills are designed to make it hard for your body to absorb fat. They also make you feel full sooner which decreases the amount of food (especially carbs) that you eat.

Being overweight poses a lot of health risks. And increased water weight is just one of the many causes of weight gain. Losing your water weight is a good first step towards a healthier you!

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How Will Doxycycline Protect Me From Malaria?

Posted Monday 07 December 2020 10:00 by in Anti Malaria by Harman Bhamra

If you are wondering how Doxycycline will protect you from malaria, you’ve come to the right place. Malaria is a serious and potentially fatal illness caused by parasites carried by infected mosquitoes. This disease infects your red blood cells, causing them to burst. If untreated, Malaria can cause anaemia and yellowing of the skin (jaundice) which could lead to seizures, kidney failure, coma, mental confusion, and death.

A common cause of malaria is P.Falciparum. This parasite has led to the most malaria-related deaths around the globe. P.Falciparum causes your blood vessels to clog. It also spreads rapidly in your bloodstream causing various complications like kidney and liver failure.

Everything you need to know about Doxycycline

Fortunately, Malaria is a preventable disease. Doxycycline is one of the most common and affordable malaria treatments available. Although this drug is primarily used as an antibiotic to treat infections (e.g., skin infections, sexually transmitted diseases, chest infections, etc.), you can also take Doxycycline to prevent malaria if you are travelling abroad.

How does Doxycycline work?

Doxycycline is a drug that belongs to a family of medicines called tetracycline antibiotics. Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria and parasites that cause malaria by inhibiting their ability to produce the proteins they need to stay alive.

Who can take Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a prescription-only drug given to adults and children over 12 years old. However, those who have:

  • Problems in the kidney and liver
  • Inflamed food pipe
  • Allergic reaction to Doxycycline in the past
  • Lupus

are not recommended to take Doxycycline. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding are also cautioned against taking the drug.

How should I take Doxycycline?

You should take 1 dose of Doxycycline 2 days before you travel to a malaria high-risk country or area. While there, take one dose daily. After you leave, continue taking one dose of Doxycycline every day for 28 consecutive days.

The daily dose for Doxycycline in adults is 100mg.

For children, the daily dose is calculated based on their weight and should not exceed 100mg per day.

Always take Doxycycline 100mg with a full stomach to avoid any irritations. Also, take it with a full glass of water. Avoid the following for a couple of hours after taking this drug:

  • Milk
  • Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt
  • Lying down

There are no limits as to how long you can take Doxycycline. Several people are taking this medicine to prevent acne. So far, there is no evidence showing the detrimental effects of Doxycycline when taken for extended periods.

What are the side effects of Doxycycline?

Despite not having long term detrimental effects, Doxycycline still has some side effects that you need to be aware of. The most common side effect of this drug is increased sun sensitivity. If you are prone to sunburn, we strongly encourage wearing high SPF sunblock or avoiding the midday sun when going outside.

Other side effects of Doxycycline include:

  • Nausea and stomach pain (can be lessened by taking the medicine with food)
  • Vaginal yeast infection (women who suffer from this side effect can take over the counter or prescription medications to get rid of the symptoms)
  • Occasional vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Headaches (make sure you are getting enough rest. Drink plenty of liquids. You can also take regular painkillers)

Most of these side effects are mild and does not merit stopping your antimalarial medication. Contact your doctor if you are having a hard time coping up.

Remember that there are no vaccines available for malaria. The best way to prevent malaria is by following the ABCD approach:

A – awareness of the risk of malaria

B – bite prevention

C – chemoprophylaxis (taking antimalarial drugs exactly as prescribed)

D – diagnosis and treatment of any malaria symptoms

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What Causes a Hangover? The Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Posted Friday 04 December 2020 10:00 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

The free-flowing booze, the loud music, the endless dancing --- everything seems fun until the next morning when fatigue, excessive thirst, and pounding headache kicks in. Yep, that’s what you call a hangover. What causes a hangover? What are the effects of alcohol on the body? We will answer these questions in this blog, so, read on!

What is a hangover?

A hangover is a group of symptoms that you experience after drinking too much alcohol. While the symptoms vary from one person to another, the general rule is that the more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to experience a hangover the following day.

A hangover isn’t just about headaches, muscle aches, and vomiting. It’s also been linked to conflict at work or at home and poor overall performance. So much for a good time, eh?

What are the symptoms of a hangover?

Hangover symptoms often occur when your blood alcohol levels drop to near zero --- this is usually the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Hangover symptoms vary from person to person and depend on how much alcohol you drank. Common symptoms of a hangover include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Shakiness
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor sleep
  • Vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Depression, irritability, and anxiety

What causes a hangover?

Simply put, a hangover is caused by drinking too much alcohol. But it’s not as simple as what you think. Various factors contribute to a hangover. Let’s take a look at each one below:

1. Alcohol causes dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic --- a diuretic is a substance that causes your body to produce more urine which in turn results in you peeing more often. Frequent urination may lead to dehydration as often indicated by lightheadedness, dizziness, and of course, thirst.

2. Alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from your body

Alcohol wreaks havoc to your immune system --- triggering an inflammatory response which causes physical symptoms like memory problems, decreased ability to focus or concentrate, lack of appetite, sensitivity to light, etc.

3. Alcohol hurts your gut

If you drink too much alcohol, your stomach will produce more stomach acid than normal. This irritates the sensitive lining of your stomach and delays stomach emptying. As a result, you experience symptoms like vomiting, stomachache, nausea, and abdominal pain.

4. Alcohol causes your blood sugar to plummet

Blood sugar is important in daily body functions. Drinking too much alcohol causes the blood sugar levels in your body to dip. When it reaches a critical level, you may experience seizures, mood disturbances (e.g. irritability, depression, and anxiety), shakiness, weakness, and fatigue.

5. Alcohol dilates your blood vessels

Too much alcohol will cause your blood vessels to expand --- a common culprit behind those pounding headaches.

6. Alcohol causes drowsiness

Alcohol can make you sleep but it’s not the good type of sleep. Too much alcohol often leads to light sleeps with frequent awakenings in the middle of the night. Lack of deep sleep will leave you tired and groggy the next morning.

7. Alcohol contains congeners

Congeners are ingredients that give alcohol beverages a distinct flavour. Several studies show that these congeners can affect the severity of a hangover as well as your likelihood of getting it. As a general rule, the darker the alcohol drink, the more congeners it has.

Who is more likely to experience a hangover?

Not everyone gets a hangover. Some people can get drunk and get a hangover after a few glasses of beer while some heavy drinkers get away with it. This shows that some people are more susceptible to developing hangovers than others. Below are risk factors that you need to consider:

  • Genetics – if you have a family history of alcoholism, then you may have inherited a problem with the way your body deals with alcohol.
  • Drinking on an empty stomach – your body absorbs alcohol more quickly with an empty stomach.
  • Not getting enough sleep after a night of heavy drinking – several studies show that some hangover symptoms are caused by not getting enough sleep.
  • Drinking dark alcoholic beverages – dark-coloured alcoholic drinks have more congeners which are known to produce a hangover
  • Smoking and substance abuse – if you drink and smoke (or use prohibited drugs) at the same time, expect a hangover the next day.

How to cope with a hangover

Sometimes, it’s hard to say no to a party. Below are some tips on how to deal with a hangover when you end up drinking too much:

  • Over the counter drugs – some medicines like paracetamol can help you deal with headaches and other symptoms of a hangover. Buy paracetamol online at Express Pharmacy.
  • Eat before drinking - a full stomach will prevent the alcohol from getting absorbed right away.
  • Drink some water between drinks – stay hydrated!
  • Know your limits and take it slow – listen to your body and stop when it says enough.

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Stages of HIV Infection

Posted Tuesday 01 December 2020 09:00 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus, first discovered in 1981, attacks the CD4 T-cells of your immune system --- making it weaker and unable to fight off opportunistic infections in the later phase of the disease. There is currently no cure for HIV but antiretroviral drugs are available to help control its spread and to enable you to live a happy, normal life.

In this blog post, we are going to talk about the different stages of HIV infection, taking into account the impact of early detection and treatment.

Stage 0. Acute HIV infection and the seroconversion phase

The seroconversion phase occurs during the first few weeks after getting infected with HIV. During this time, you experience flu-like symptoms like tiredness, fever, muscle aches, and swollen glands. Your body also starts producing antibodies for HIV during this period. The symptoms you feel during the seroconversion phase vary from one person to another. Some don’t experience any symptoms while others are severe. This stage of HIV infection lasts between two to three weeks.

The seroconversion phase is also referred to as Acute HIV infection --- dubbed as “Stage 0” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You are most contagious during this stage as there are high levels of HIV in your body.

Impact of treatment:

Getting treatment during this stage will significantly strengthen your immune system. People who start taking antiretroviral drugs during this time go straight to the chronic stage of HIV infection.

Stage 1. Asymptomatic HIV infection

As the name suggests, this stage of HIV infection does not present any symptoms. Even if you are not taking any medications, your HIV infection will still enter this dormancy phase which could last for several years.

Even though you don’t exhibit any symptoms, the virus is still alive and active in your body. You can take a viral load test to see how fast the virus is replicating and a CD4 cell count to assess the health of your immune system.

Impact of treatment:

Starting HIV treatment during this stage is crucial. The earlier the better. People who begin antiretroviral therapy at this stage usually go straight to the chronic phase of the disease.

Stage 2. Symptomatic HIV infection

Without treatment, your CD4 count will begin to fall and opportunistic diseases will start taking its toll in your body and you will start experiencing signs of HIV. Some of the common symptoms of HIV at this stage include:

  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Thrush
  • Fatigue
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Night sweats
  • Persistent diarrhoea

Impact of treatment:

Most people are not even aware that they have HIV. So, many start getting checked when they begin experiencing symptoms of the disease. Diagnosis during this stage is known as late diagnosis, meaning, you already have HIV for many years, untreated.

But it’s not too late. You can still take HIV treatments at this stage and they will still be effective in lowering the amount of virus in your body and in strengthening your immune system. If you do, you go straight to the chronic stage of the disease --- skipping its most fatal phase.

Stage 3. Acquire immune deficiency syndrome

Advanced HIV disease or commonly known as AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV infection. During this period, your immune system has been significantly weakened and you are now very susceptible to opportunistic diseases like certain cancers, pneumonia, cryptococcal meningitis, and toxoplasmosis. Untreated, people with AIDS usually live for about 3 years. Once opportunistic illnesses come in, life expectancy drops to 1 year.

Impact of treatment:

Getting AIDS doesn’t mean death. Thanks to advances in modern medicine and healthcare, many patients who have AIDS-related illnesses recover from the disease and carry on to live with chronic HIV infection for the rest of their lives.

The chronic HIV stage

We are not counting the chronic HIV stage as Stage 4 in terms of the progression of the disease as this phase is only achieved with proper and effective HIV treatment. Chronic HIV stage means you will be living with a manageable HIV infection for a long time, perhaps, for the rest of your life.

People who receive proper health care and treatment will continue to live the rest of their lives and are less likely to die due to HIV-related illness. Those who started HIV treatment early and who regularly take proper HIV treatment are more likely to have the same life expectancy as those who don’t have an HIV infection.

Final Thoughts

With the right treatment, an HIV infection can be effectively managed so you can live a healthy, happy life. Like most diseases, early detection is key so you can get the right treatment right away and stop the disease from creating more damage.

A HIV test kit is one of the best and simplest ways to know if you have HIV or not. Express Pharmacy’s BioSure HIV testing kit is 99.7% accurate in detecting HIV. If you are a high-risk individual, get yourself tested for HIV in the comfort of your home. Order today and we’ll deliver the HIV test kit discreetly right at your doorstep.

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