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What Is the Best Medication for a Nail Fungal Infection?

Posted Monday 27 July 2020 14:03 by in Antifungal by Harman Bhamra

Fungi are single-celled or multicellular organisms. Common examples of fungi in the environment are yeasts, moulds, and even mushrooms! Along with various bacteria, fungi are present in and on the body.

There are many different types of fungal infection. In this article, we will look in close detail as to what Onychomycosis is and what is the best medication for a nail fungal infection.

Understanding Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis, also known as tinea unguium, is a type of fungal infection that affects your nails. The infection begins when a fungus gets in through the cuts in your skin or cracks in your nails. Remember that fungi love warm and moist environments — making your nails an ideal place for growth.

Onychomycosis is more common in your toenails that in your fingernails. This is because your toenails are often confined in your shoes where it’s moist and warm.

What does a nail fungal infection look like?

Nail fungal infections vary from one person to another. Below are the common signs of Onychomycosis:

  • Thickened nail
  • Brittle nail
  • Any form of distortion in the nail that may lift it from the nail bed
  • Bad smell coming from the infected nail

Onychomycosis may affect only a small portion of the nail or the whole of it. In some cases, the infection may spread to several nails.

What are the different kinds of nail fungal infections?

There are at least four common types of nail fungal infections. Let’s look at them in detail below:

1. Candida Infection

This type of nail fungal infection is caused by Candida yeasts. Candida infections are more common in the fingernails and among people who soak their hands in water frequently. This fungal infection usually begins around the cuticle. As the fungi grow, your nail will become red, tender, and swollen. Untreated, the infection may cause the nail to lift from the nail bed or fall off.

2. White Superficial Infection

This type of fungal infection is common in toenails. It is often characterized by white spots which may become flaky and pitted. Untreated, these white spots will eventually cover the entire nail causing it to become rough and soft. Toenails affected by white superficial infection are prone to crumble.

3. Distal Subungual Infection

This fungal nail infection is probably the most common one. The distal subungual infection affects both your toenails and fingernails. It begins under the nail and is characterized by white and yellow streaks across the nail. It may also cause the outer edges of your nail to become jagged.

4. Proximal Subungual Infection

Like above, this type of nail fungal infection develops in your toenails and fingernails. The infection begins at the base of your nail — characterized by yellow spots. It then spreads upwards. Proximal subungual infection is rare and often affects people who have weakened immune systems.

If you want to learn more about fungal infections, here’s our fungal infections guide.

Who can develop nail fungal infections?

Most causes of fungal nail infections are preventable. However, your risks of developing any of the infections we’ve discussed above increases when you:

  • Are more than 65 years old
  • Wear artificial nails
  • Have nail injury or cuts around the nail
  • Have a compromised immune system
  • Wear closed-toe shoes often
  • Have diabetes
  • Have moist fingers or toes for extended periods

What is the best medication for a nail fungal infection?

The best way to know what type of nail fungal infection you are dealing with is to have a doctor examine your nails. Remember that other diseases like psoriasis can mimic a nail fungal infection. Knowing the type of infection is the best way to get proper treatment.

Some of the common treatment for nail fungal infections include:

Taking oral anti-fungal drugs

Compared to topical drugs, oral anti-fungal medications clear nail fungal infections quicker. Most of these treatments work by helping your nails grow infection-free — replacing the infected part over time. It may take up to four months to replace the damaged nail and get rid of the infection. The downside of anti-fungal drugs is that they tend to have side effects ranging from a skin rash to liver damage.

Using Curanail

Curanail is a topical fungal medication that’s clinically proven to clear nail fungal infections within six months. It works by preventing the fungi from producing ergosterol — a key component of their cellular membrane — essentially, “killing” it.

Curanail is applied directly on the infected nail like a nail lacquer or varnish. It then slowly penetrates the nail and on to the nail bed where the root of the infection is. You can buy Curanail online from Express Pharmacy.

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What Causes Facial Hair on a Woman?

Posted Friday 17 July 2020 11:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Hirsutism is a medical condition that refers to abnormal or excessive hair growth in women. Like men, women also have body and facial hair but you barely notice it because it is normally light in colour and fine in texture. The hair growth caused by hirsutism is usually dark and coarse. So, what causes facial hair on a woman? Read on and find out for yourself.

Understanding Hirsutism

There are two types of excessive hair growth — hirsutism and hypertrichosis. Hypertrichosis is the increase of hair growth anywhere on the body, while hirsutism is excessive hair growth on areas that are naturally hairy on men. This includes the face, abdomen, chest, back, and arms.

Is hirsutism common?

Based on the study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, hirsutism affects up to 10% of women. It can be hereditary and is typically more common among women of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and South Asian descent.

Is hirsutism dangerous?

While there are no direct health concerns with hirsutism, excessive hair growth on the body can affect a woman’s self-esteem.

Causes of facial hair on a woman

The main culprits behind hirsutism are the hormones androgen and testosterone. Too much production of these hormones can cause male-pattern hair growth and other symptoms like deepening of the voice, acne, decreased breast size, enlargement of the clitoris, balding, and increased muscle mass.

So, what triggers the overproduction of androgen?

There are several medical conditions that affect the production of androgen in the body. Some of the common ones include:

Disorders in the adrenal glands

Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones in your body. They are found just above your kidneys. Common adrenal gland disorders include:

  • Adrenal tumours
  • Adrenal cancer
  • Cushing Syndrome - a condition where your adrenal glands produce too much cortisol or “stress hormones”.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia - a group of genetic diseases that prevent the adrenal glands from producing hormones normally.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Commonly known as PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome is characterised by benign cysts that form on the ovaries — affecting your hormone production, menstrual cycle, and fertility.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Pelvic pain
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Infertility

According to studies, polycystic ovarian syndrome is the most common cause of facial hair on women. In fact, it is responsible for 75% of hirsutism cases.

Certain medications

Aside from illnesses, certain medications may also cause excessive hair growth in women. Some of them are:

  • Minoxidil - a medicine used to treat endometriosis in women. Also used to encourage hair growth.
  • Testosterone - usually taken to correct testosterone deficiency
  • Cyclosporine - a drug that’s usually used before organ operations
  • Anabolic steroids - many of these are synthetic versions of testosterone.

Who are at risk of developing excessive facial hair?

Now that we know what are the causes of hirsutism, let’s look at who is more likely to develop it.

Women who are obese - too much weight may stimulate overproduction of androgen.

Family history - most of the underlying causes of facial hair on women (i.e. polycystic ovarian syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia) run in families. This means that if one of your family members develops hirsutism, there’s a big chance that’ you’ll get it too.

Ancestry - several studies show that women who are from South Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East are more likely to develop facial hair than women from other countries. Until now, doctors can’t pinpoint a reason why this is the case.

What are the complications of hirsutism?

Hirsutism in itself is not fatal but it can have a big impact on a woman’s self-confidence. As one study states: “Hirsutism is recognized to cause profound distress in affected women, due to cosmetic and psychosexual implications.”

The hormonal imbalance that causes hirsutism may have a significant impact on a woman’s health. For example, if you have the polycystic ovarian syndrome, you are at risk of infertility.

If you have Cushing’s Disease, you are more at risk of developing premature atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries), diabetes, and hypertension.

How to treat facial hair on a woman

Treating hirsutism may involve treating the underlying disorder that caused it. Aside from that, you can also develop a self-care routine to get rid of excess hair as well as various medications and therapies. Let’s discuss below some of the ways that you can treat excessive hair growth.

Oral contraceptives - hormonal contraceptives or birth control pills can help treat hirsutism that’s caused by excessive androgen production. This is a good option if you don’t want to become pregnant.

Anti-androgen drugs - these types of drugs are used to prevent androgens from “activating” inside your body. Anti-androgens are usually given if oral contraceptives are not effective. Spironolactone (brand name: Aldactone, CaroSpir) is the most commonly used anti-androgen drug. It takes about six months for results to become noticeable.

Vaniqa - this topical cream is specifically made for women who have facial hair. Vaniqa is applied directly to the affected area. Although it doesn’t get rid of existing hair, Vaniqa is very effective in slowing down new hair growth. You can see results within 4 - 8 weeks of using this product. You can buy Vaniqa online from Express Pharmacy today.

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How Can I Test for HIV at Home?

Posted Wednesday 15 July 2020 12:00 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

If you fear that you may have contracted HIV, the best thing that you can do is stay one step ahead and get a test. While there is currently no cure for HIV, detecting it in its early stages is vital so that you can live a comfortable life.

The easiest and quickest way to test for HIV is in the comfort of your own home. This short guide will take you through everything you need to know about these home testing kits.

How To Know If You Have HIV

The only way to 100% know whether you have HIV is by taking a test. While there are some non-specific symptoms (headaches, fevers, pneumonia, etc), you may not develop them until years after you contract the virus.

Due to lack of symptoms when you first contract HIV, it is recommended to take a test if you have had unprotected sex or sex with someone who you now know has HIV. It is also wise to take a test if you have ever shared needles with someone else - whether it be for tattoos, piercings or drug use.

How Do HIV Testing Kits Work?

Most HIV testing kits work by searching for antibodies in your blood or cells that would have only developed if your body was trying to fight off HIV. These antibodies typically appear after 3 months of contracting HIV, meaning if you test negative the first time, it’s wise to try again a few months later to be 100% certain.

One of the most popular HIV testing kits is the BioSURE HIV Testing Kit. This kit detects the antibodies via your blood which is drawn by a simple pinprick on your finger. After around 15 minutes, the test will have your results ready and will indicate your status through the use of lines (similarly to a pregnancy test).

How To Get A HIV Testing Kit

Buying a HIV testing kit online has never been easier thanks to accredited pharmacies. You can purchase the popular BioSURE HIV testing kit right here at Express Pharmacy and have it delivered to you in as little as 1 working day. This testing kit is priced at £28.95.

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Travellers Diarrhoea: The Symptoms and Causes

Posted Tuesday 14 July 2020 12:37 by in Travellers Diarrhoea by Harman Bhamra

Amazing experiences are always around the corner when you travel to a foreign country. From the interesting people and incredible views right through to exotic foods and drinks; there’s always something remarkable to discover. However, with foreign experiences comes foreign reactions - typically in the form of travellers diarrhoea.

This guide will take you through the symptoms and causes of travellers diarrhoea so that you can feel fully prepared in the unfortunate situation of experiencing it.

What Is Travellers Diarrhoea?

If you find yourself asking: ‘is it normal to have diarrhoea when travelling?’, then we’re guessing you’ve encountered an incredibly uncomfortable situation that is stopping you from enjoying yourself. And, unfortunately, the answer is yes: it is normal to have diarrhoea when travelling. It goes by the name of Travellers Diarrhoea.

While it’s not a serious condition, travellers' diarrhoea can leave you with incredibly loose stools and, occasionally, abdominal cramps. You are likely to develop it when your body isn’t used to the change in climate or sanitisation that the country you’re visiting has to offer.

Symptoms Of Travellers Diarrhoea

The symptoms of travellers' diarrhoea are fairly obvious, making it easy to establish why you might have fallen ill. The following symptoms typically last for 1 to 2 days and will either occur while on your trip or soon after you get home:

  • Having to pass loose stools 3+ times a day
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constant feeling of needing the toilet

In more severe cases, some people experience:

  • Vomiting
  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Bloody stools

If you seem to be experiencing severe symptoms and they don’t ease off after a few days, it is recommended to visit your doctor for further assistance.

Causes Of Travellers Diarrhoea

As mentioned previously, travellers' diarrhoea is caused when your body isn’t used to the climate or sanitary conditions in another country. In most cases, you will develop travellers' diarrhoea when consuming contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

While the idea of putting contaminated food and water into your body might seem like a scary thought, this is not a life or death situation and your body will recover. Travellers diarrhoea is an unpleasant experience, but not a damaging one.

How To Prevent Travellers Diarrhoea

It’s not easy to know whether you’re putting contaminated foods into your body, but luckily, there are many ways to prevent travellers' diarrhoea. The following tips are important to keep in mind so that you can enjoy your trip without any distractions.

Don’t Drink Tap Water: It’s all too easy to drink tap water when you need hydrating, but such a simple action can result in the dreaded traveller’s diarrhoea. Instead of drinking unsterilised water, drink from bottles instead. Make sure that you don’t consume any water when showering, either. If you can’t access bottled water, be sure to boil the tap water for 3 minutes before consuming. This will help to kill off any bacteria.

Say No To Ice: Ice is often made out of unsterilised water, meaning it should be avoided at all costs. Get into the habit of asking for drinks without ice when abroad.

Think About Your Food: As tempting as it may be, avoid buying food from street vendors. The food given at these vendors has often been sitting around for long periods of time, making them a feeding ground for bacteria. Instead, only eat hot foods that are served from reputable sources. If you are cooking your food yourself, stick to things that you can peel and boil.

Pack Tablets: Travellers diarrhoea can sometimes be unavoidable, making it all the more important to pack medication that will treat it as quickly as possible. The most popular travellers' diarrhoea treatments are Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin; both as to which are available at Express Pharmacy.

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How Does Weight Gain Affect My Health?

Posted Friday 10 July 2020 15:46 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

Being overweight or obese can bring a lot of problems to the table; from mental health issues related to low confidence right through to serious health problems that can be life-threatening.

It’s extremely important to understand how weight gain will affect your health in order to ensure that you keep up with a healthy lifestyle. Within this guide, we will be taking you through the relationship between health problems and weight gain. We will also explore plans of action for achieving a healthier, happier weight.

The Relationship Between Health Problems and Weight Gain

Unfortunately, being overweight or obese can cause several health problems. While results are likely to vary between individuals, the following health problems are known to be the most common and severe.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Some people suffer from type 2 diabetes as a result of hereditary, but for many people, it occurs as a result of excessive weight around the waist and an unhealthy lifestyle. To put this into perspective, over 85% of adults with diabetes are overweight or obese.

Through losing weight, you are at a better chance of delaying or preventing diabetes altogether. You will gain back control of your body, keeping blood sugar levels at a healthy point and eliminating the risk of a fatal incident from happening.

Cancer: Perhaps one of the scariest parts about weight gain is developing a higher risk rate of getting cancer. It has been found that those who are overweight are more likely to develop breast, colon, gallbladder and kidney cancer in particular. While it is still uncertain as to what exactly encourages the growth of cancer cells, many experts believe that it's due to too many fat cells releasing hormones and affecting cell growth.

High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure occurs when the blood pumping through your arteries pushes too hard against the artery walls. As your body is larger when overweight, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood around, resulting in added pressure.

In a worst-case scenario, high blood pressure can result in heart disease or kidney failure. You may even suffer from a stroke. This is why it is all the more important to maintain - or achieve - a healthy weight to ensure that your heart is never overworking.

One of the easiest ways to reduce blood pressure levels is by monitoring your diet. Cutting out salty foods in conjunction with exercising frequently will be sure to contribute positively.

Heart Disease: Heart disease is an umbrella term for a whole range of issues that can affect your heart. Having high blood pressure and high cholesterol (which are both health issues encouraged by weight gain) can lead to heart disease. If untreated, heart disease can result in a heart attack, heart failure, cardiac arrest and so on. Losing weight will help your body to pump blood more easily, preventing such a disease from occurring.

Fatty Liver Disease: If you can’t tell by the name, fatty liver disease is a problem that occurs when too much fat builds up inside the liver. This type of issue can result in severe liver damage or liver failure. Everyone who is diagnosed with fatty liver disease is encouraged to reduce their body weight in an attempt to lower the quantity of fat in the liver.

What Causes Weight Gain?

So - what causes weight gain? Each body is different, and while some people can eat for England without putting on weight, others have a hard time maintaining a healthy BMI. The main causes of weight gain include:

  • Genetics - this usually determines how easily you gain/maintain weight
  • Medication - some medications (eg: antidepressants) have a side effect of weight gain
  • Poor diet - overeating on fatty and sugary foods
  • Alcohol
  • Misinformation - a lack of understanding surrounding nutritious diets

How To Find Out If You Are Overweight

One of the easiest ways to establish whether you are overweight or not is by measuring your BMI. Your body mass index (BMI) is worked out by taking some basic information about height, weight and age. From here, your BMI is placed onto a chart to establish whether you are underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. These guidelines are as follows:

  • Healthy weight: BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: BMI of 30 and above

You can use a BMI calculator to find out more.

How To Lose Weight: Minimising The Risk Of Developing Health Problems

If you are classified as obese or overweight, it is advised to lose around 5% of your weight to lower your risk of developing health problems.

To lose weight healthily, it is advised to lose around 1-2lbs per week. This can be achieved through a combination of techniques, revolving around:

Eating Healthily: Through eating regular meals, plenty of fruit and vegetables and cutting back on snacking, you’re at a higher chance of experiencing weight loss. Resist junk food and replace it with high fibre alternatives, instead. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too!

Exercising: Alongside eating healthily, exercising regularly is a huge contributor to healthy weight loss. It is advised to complete around 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to promote weight loss.

Taking Supplements: If you are eating healthily and exercising regularly yet still struggling to shed the pounds, your doctor may recommend weight loss pills. These pills are used alongside the above methods to speed up weight loss and get you back to a healthy weight. However, to ensure that you aren’t harming your body, never take weight loss pills that aren’t supplied by an accredited doctor or pharmacy.

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