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The Express Guide to Acid Reflux

Posted Monday 08 September 2014 21:00 by in Acid Reflux by Tim Deakin

acid reflux medicationAre mealtimes often ruined by an uncomfortable burning sensation from the stomach right up to your windpipe? If so, then you could be suffering from acid reflux.

The first thing to know about acid reflux is: you are not alone in suffering from this affliction. The second thing to know is: you don't have to simply accept it.

Let us take a closer look at the symptoms, triggers and most importantly - relief and prevention techniques associated with acid reflux.

What is acid reflux?

The condition is caused when acid from the stomach leaks up into the gullet (oesophagus). This condition can cause heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms, which can be difficult to cope with.


The common symptoms of acid reflux are:

  • Heartburn: actually has nothing to do with the heart and is the most common symptom. Heartburn is a burning feeling, which rises from the upper tummy or lower chest towards the neck.
  • Other abdominal issues: pain in the chest and upper abdomen, an acidic taste in the mouth, feeling nauseous, belching, bloating,indigestion and a burning pain when you swallow hot drinks. Like heartburn, these symptoms tend to be worse after a meal and can come and go.
acid reflux medication

How can I help with my symptoms and what triggers should I be aware of?

If you are a regular sufferer of acid reflux, the following can help to ease it:
  • Avoiding certain drinks and foods.This can include tomatoes, peppermint, spicy foods, chocolate, hot drinks, coffee, and alcoholic drinks. Also, avoiding large-volume meals may help. If it seems that a certain food is causing symptoms, try to avoid it and see if your symptoms improve.
  • Quit smoking. The chemicals from cigarettes relax the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus and make acid reflux more likely. Symptoms may improve if you stop smoking.
  • Weight control. Being overweight puts additional pressure on the stomach and can lead to acid reflux.Losing weight should help to ease symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Better posture. Poor posture and bending over a lot during the day can result in reflux. Also, not sitting up straight or wearing a tight belt may contribute to worsening reflux as it puts unnecessary pressure on the stomach. Aim to sit and stand up straight and loosen any tight fitting clothing if you can feel symptoms are beginning.

How can I treat my acid reflux?

It is possible to reduce the amount of acid made in your stomach with the help of medication. Some people only need to take short courses of acid reflux medication when symptoms flare up, while others require a long-term daily prescription to keep symptoms away.

At Express Pharmacy, we stock a number of medicines that offer an effective relief for the symptoms of acid reflux, including:


Alkaline or antacid tablets or liquids work by reducing the amount of acid produced and can result in much needed, quick relief. Use antacids 'as required' for infrequent or mild heartburn.

Prokinetic medicines

These medicines work by speeding up the passage of food through the gut. Not as commonly used, they are particularly effective if you have belching or bloating symptoms.

Acid-suppressing medicines

For more serious, persistent cases of acid reflux, acid-suppressing medicines are available.This kind of medication helps to settle symptoms, allowing any inflammation in the oesophagus to clear. A short course of acid-suppressing medication is typically followed by the use of antacids.

Consult one of our fully-qualified pharmacists today and you could be just a next-day's post away from relieving your discomfort.

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Migraines: causes, prevention, and relief

Posted Friday 29 August 2014 16:23 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

migraine treatmentIf you are one of the 8 million people in the UK who suffer from migraines you will know only too well how scary and debilitating they can be. Blurred vision, vomiting, sensitivity to light, noises and even smells: these are just some of the symptoms experienced.

In fact, polls have found migraines to be considered among the top 20 causes of disability worldwide, accounting for 25 million days of missed work or school by individuals who are afflicted by this ailment. And yet according to the Migraine Trust – a UK base charity – a worrying 50% of sufferers do not seek help for their problem.

The 7th September sees the start of Migraine Awareness Week, where organisations such as The Migraine Trust will be encouraging individuals to seek help rather than suffer in silence. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what a migraine is . . . and what can be done to treat one.


What exactly is a migraine?

A migraine is usually an intense, throbbing pain which can be felt on one or even sometimes both sides of the head. Most people who suffer from migraine headaches feel the pain in the temples or behind one eye or ear, although any part of the head can be involved.

What are the symptoms and triggers?

Symptoms include severe pain, drug reactions or side effects from headache medications, severe nausea or vomiting, dehydration, and/or stroke-like neurological symptoms that might accompany the headache as well as sensitivity to light, smells or sounds.

One in five people who get migraines experience sensory symptoms about 10 to 30 minutes before an attack – this is known as an aura. These symptoms include seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots, numbness or tingling in the face or hands, disturbances to the senses or feeling mentally “hazy”.

The exact cause of a migraine is still not fully understood but there are several triggers that are often mentioned which could activate these migraines. These include:

  • Lack of or too much sleep
  • Not eating enough
  • Bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells
  • Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Environmental/weather changes
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine (too much or withdrawal)
  • Overexertion of the body

Quick facts about migraines:migraine medication

  • Migraines often affect people most severely between the ages of 15 and 55.
  • Most sufferers have a family history of migraine or of disabling headaches.
  • Migraines are more common in women.
  • Research often shows that prior to puberty, boys tend to suffer more often from migraines than girls but as adolescence begins migraine headaches increase more rapidly with girls than boys.
  • Compared to 18% of women, migraine headaches affect only about 6% of men. This may because more severe and more frequent migraine attacks often occur in women as a result from fluctuations in estrogen levels.
  • Middle-aged men who suffer from migraine headaches are 42% more likely to have a heart attack when compared with non-sufferers.
  • Migraines often become less severe and less frequent with age.

How do you prevent or ease a migraine?

A good way to reduce migraine attacks is to find out what triggers your attacks and manage exposure to these triggers. This can often require changes to diet or lifestyle, including:
  • Eating regularly and avoiding skipped meals
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy diet which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B
  • Introducing cayenne, vitamin b complex and turmeric to your diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Avoiding pre-packaged foods
  • Increasing your magnesium levels which has been shown to significantly decrease the amount of migraine headaches.
  • Balancing your hormones, specifically the ratio between estrogen and progesterone
  • Finding a way to reduce your stress levels
  • Massage therapy
  • Staying away from bright lights
  • Aromatherapy

Pain relief

Completely curing a migraine sufferer is still beyond science, currently. But there are ways in which those prone to migraines can relieve pain and tackle the affliction through medication.

The key, of course, is to seek medical attention from a health professional rather than struggling with migraines on your own. Consulting your pharmacist is an easy way to access advice on medications, and at Express Pharmacy we are able to even prescribe the appropriate pills and nasal sprays online if you are unable to get to one of our bricks and mortar pharmacies.

Want to know more about accessing medications such as Zolmitriptan and Sumatriptan online? Explore our migraine treatments now.

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Don’t Brush the Issue of Female Hair Loss Under the Carpet

Posted Friday 15 August 2014 12:20 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

Hair loss treatmentAugust marks Hair Loss Awareness Month in the US. The initiative aims to educate women on the prevalence of female hair loss, debunk some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the issue and encourage sufferers to share experiences and seek treatment.

Few people realise 40% of all hair loss patients are women – a statistic that flies in the face of the commonly held belief that men are the only victims of hair loss.

In an interview with Beauty World News, Dr Yael Halaas said: “Most women begin to lose their hair in their twenties or thirties and don't even notice that they're thinning until they've lost 50% or more of it.”

Rather than a condition that affects only some women in old age, hair loss appears to be more common than was ever imagined. A significant chunk of women will be going bald to some extent by middle age, largely due to changes in the body caused by the menopause and common signs of ageing such as drying skin and wrinkles which impact on the hair follicles.

But it is the fact that women are largely scared to talk about hair loss which makes it difficult for women to come to terms with the problem. Many believe that they must have a rare condition or are suffering from an abnormality rather than understanding that their peers are most likely experiencing similar changes.

In the words of John Van Houten, of B'IOTA Botanicals Laboratories, "The problem withthinning hairis not always what's visible. It's how it rocks a woman's self-esteem.For women, who put so much emotional value on their hair, it can be absolutely devastating for their self-image and emotional well-being."

Women who struggle to come to terms with their hair loss and are afraid to discuss it are also less likely to consult medical professionals for reassurrance, advice or to discuss hair loss treatments.

Here are some facts and figures about female hair loss:hair loss medication

1) In a recent study, 24% of women considered losing their hair as traumatic as losing a limb

2) A stress response known as Telogen Effuvium can cause a woman to lose up to 70% of her hair. The stress is often triggered by eating disorders, childbirth or anaemia, among other factors.

3) Some of the most common stress-related reasons for female hair loss are: childbirth, flu, crash-diets, divorce and anti-depressants.

4) Hair loss is thought to be 90% genetically determined.

5) Though hair loss from stress is often temporary, in 25% of cases, the hair will not grow back naturally.

6) Themenopause is a major cause of female hair loss, with as many as 40% of middle aged women reportedly losing their hair?

7) Senescent alopecia, a type of hair loss that occurs naturally through ageing, affects most women after they hit fifty. It can be treated in some cases.

8) In the case of senescent alopecia, unlike female pattern baldness, hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are significantly thinned. The amount of time the hair grows and the width of the hair follicle decreases substantially.

If you are concerned about hair loss, you should hesitate to seek out the help and advice of a qualified medical professional. Your doctor or pharmacist can often help diagnose issues of temporary hair loss as well as identify gradual thinning caused by ageing.

At Express Pharmacy we offer a variety of treatments for men and women experiencing hair loss. For more information and advice, follow this link: https://www.expresspharmacy.co.uk/treatments/hair-loss/propecia

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Vaping: The smoking addict’s solution or just another slippery slope?

Posted Friday 15 August 2014 09:13 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

smoking cessation

According to national charity Ash, smoking is well and truly on the way out. New research has shown diminishing numbers among young people, with 3% of 11-15 year olds in England classing themselves as ‘regular smokers’ compared to 9% a decade ago.

This change has been helped greatly by the changes to the law, which have seen smoking outlawed in cafes, pubs, shops and other public places. But there have been other factors at play, too. And in some quarters the rise of E-cigarettes and "vaping" is credited with having as big an effect on smoking rates as anything else.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered gizmos that simulate smoking by releasing nicotine via a heated liquid. They have grown hugely in popularity over the past 12 months, with an estimated 2.1million in regular use.

The string of celebrities using e-cigarettes - including Lily Allen, Johnny Depp, Snoop dog and even Kevin Spacey’s character on TV show House of Cards- has helped to not only build awareness of e-cigarettes, but even managed to give them an air of "cool" among smokers.

Vaping has not escaped controversy, however. Contrary to claims that it can play an important role in smoking cessation, critics have described vaping as a ‘gateway’ to cigarette use, as well as highlighting the risk of smoking beingnormalised around children.

In response, the British Medical Association has requested research be carried out on the effects of e-cigarettes on young people and whether they encourage switching to traditional cigarettes. In a recent web post, they said: "It's really important that we find out if the hand-to-mouth use of e-cigarettes either breaks or reinforces smoking behaviours."

Currently, the e-cigarette industry is unregulated, meaning there is no evidence to say definitively if vaping is safe or not. There are also no marketing or advertising restrictions on the products. This means the sale of e-cigarettes operates in a grey area of sorts.

A GP based in North Wales, Dr Nitin Shori said: "There are definitely quality concerns with some of them. The reason people are not being strongly warned off the use of e-cigs is that there is a presumption that they won’t carry as many safety risks as normal cigarettes.

"Regulation and rigid long term safety data are required for the medical profession to fully support e-cigs. Until that time, we are relying on a presumption and can therefore only offer tentative advice."

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5 Simple Steps to Quit Smoking

Posted Monday 04 August 2014 15:00 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

smoking cessation

If you are a smoker you have probably heard the gruesome facts about the impact it is having on your body a million times or more. And your friends, family and doctor have no doubt encouraged you to quit. But kicking the habit is tough, and it doesn't matter how much you want to give up your nicotine fix, you just can't seem to get a clean break.

So, how should you go about quitting this time? Here are 5 tried and tested methods to getting giving up smoking.

1. Establish your goals and set an actual quit date. It seems obvious but an officialquit date can be a great motivator, a way of drawing a line under the past and a benchmark for future success - so you know when to celebrate your anniversary every year afterwards. Set up a chart or program to record your progress. Visual representations can go a long way. Work on your goal one day at a time and focus on the present.

2. Set up a support group. It is very important to let your family, friends, and co-workers know about your goals and plan of action. Many people fear sharing their efforts because they feel that they will be letting others down if they fail to quit. But studies have shown that letting others know about your established plans gives you more of a reason to follow through and accomplish them. And other smokers will know not to tempt you by inviting you out on their next cigarette break.

3. Avoid smokers and associated situations. Temptation can be a cruel and deadly mistress. The seductive smell of fresh tobacco is enough to crumble anyone’s resolve to quit. The best solution for anyone who cannot resist tempting situations is to avoid themaltogether. This may require a bit of planning if you have a favourite pub, bar or restaurant with a designated smoking section.

4. Download a Quit-smoking App. With the age of technology upon us, a great cost effective solution would be to go to your phone’s app store and download a quit-smoking app from a wide selection of free ones available. You can personalize your quit smoking plan and they also offer the virtual support you would need to kick the habit for good. Cool featuresinclude showing you your cigarette smoking reduction percentage, your financial gain and the number of hours you’ve tacked on to your life since quitting.

5. Invest in stop-smoking medication.Research has established that combining your quitting methods with medication is an effective way of helping smokers give up for good. Sometimes willpower alone isn’t always enough, but used in tandem with the other strategies above, medications such as Champix are proven to help achieve long-term smoking cessation.

Find out more about Champix and the role of medication in smoking cessation?

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