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Winter Illness: 6 Winter Health Conditions and How to Combat Them

Posted Thursday 29 November 2018 12:53 by in Primary Care Givers by Tim Deakin

woman blowing her noseTis the season to watch your health closely

There are a large number of health problems that are triggered by cold weather, such as colds, asthma and the flu. We’re here to help you identify and treat these conditions effectively, so you can enjoy this time of year without worry. Let’s take a look.

Colds

We’re all familiar with the common cold. In fact, colds are the most common acute illness in the industrialised world, with young children experiencing an average of 6-8 colds per year and adults experiencing 2-4.

Thankfully, you can reduce your likelihood of catching a cold through simple hygiene measures, such as washing your hands thoroughly and regularly. You should also keep your home and any household items clean – especially mugs, glasses, towels and pillows.

Fluwinter illness

The flu is a lot more than just a bad cold. In fact, the flu virus can even be fatal in people aged over 65, pregnant women, and people with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, COPD and kidney disease. The best line of defence against the flu is the flu jab, which offers protection for one year.

Joint pain

Although there is no evidence to suggest that weather has a direct effect on our joints, many people with arthritis complain that their symptoms worsen during the winter months. It is not clear why exactly this is the case, but the likelihood is that an overall downward turn in mood can have an impact on people’s perception of their arthritis. Many people feel more prone to negative feelings in the winter, which could cause them to feel pain more acutely.

What’s more, we also tend to move less in the winter, which could have an impact on our joints. Daily exercise is recommended as a way to boost both physical and mental wellbeing. Swimming is ideal as it is relatively gentle on the joints.

Cold sores

Harsh winter winds can dry out our lips and make them more susceptible to the virus that causes cold sores. However, we also know that cold sores are a clear indication of feeling run down or stressed. So, as well as keeping your lips moisturised this season, you should also look after yourself by taking steps to reduce your stress levels. This could involve doing a simple relaxing activity every day like having a hot bath, taking a walk or watching one of your favourite films. It could also involve talking to those around you – or even a professional – about your stress.

Asthma

Cold air is one of the leading triggers for asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing. This means that people living with asthma need to be extra careful at this time of year. Put extra effort into remembering to take your regular medications, and be sure to keep a reliever inhaler close by.

Asthma patients should try to avoid going outdoors on particularly cold and windy days. If this is unavoidable, wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth for an added layer of defence.

Acid reflux

Although acid reflux is not directly affected by a change in the weather, it often becomes worse in the winter due to the way our diets and habits change. We tend to indulge in more fatty and rich foods in the winter, as well as more alcohol – especially during the festive period. We also tend to move less and spend more time lying down or slouching, which can also worsen symptoms.

Making positive changes to your diet and fitness regime can help to keep symptoms like heartburn at bay. Effective acid reflux relief medication is also available right here at Express Pharmacy.

Don’t risk your wellbeing this winter; take the necessary precautions to enjoy the season with a clean bill of health.

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The Science Behind Erectile Dysfunction

Posted Friday 23 November 2018 15:01 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Tim Deakin

Despite being one of the most common sexual health concerns for men, many people remain in the dark about what actually causes erectile dysfunction

With the holiday season fast approaching, many men are facing the reality of another festive period with erectile dysfunction. This can put a serious dampener on celebrations, and cause men to lose confidence and feel alone.

Yet, it is important to state that impotence is a widespread problem that can affect many men at some point in their life. One study from the Co-Op Pharmacy found that impotence affects 4.3 million men in the UK, the equivalent of one in five British men. But for such a common condition, many men are still unsure about what is actually at the root of their erectile problems. Understanding the condition is the first step to treating it effectively, which is why we’re here to clarify the science behind erectile dysfunction. Let’s take a look.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

An erection occurs when blood fills the penile chambers. This causes the penis to become enlarged and firm. However, in order to this to happen, a complex series of processes need to take place. An erection requires the release of a chemical called cGMP. This relaxes the blood vessels in the penis and makes it easier for blood to enter the penis and cause an erection.

When orgasm occurs and blood begins to drain from the area, an enzyme called PDE-5 is released to break down the cGMP chemical. However, in some men the PDE-5 enzyme is too active, stopping cGMP from widening the blood vessels before orgasm occurs. This makes it harder for men to reach and sustain a state of erection. This lies at the root of erectile dysfunction.

How does treatment work?

Once you understand the science behind the causes of erectile dysfunction, it becomes easier to understand how effective medication can work to treat the condition. Erectile dysfunction treatments broadly fall under the category of PDE-5 inhibitors. As the name suggests, these treatments inhibit the activity of the PDE-5 enzyme and subdue it, allowing the cGMP chemical to do its job properly. This intervention stops the blood vessels in the penis from contracting and makes it significantly easier to achieve and maintain an erection.

Popular PDE-5 inhibitors include treatments such as Sildenafil, Spedra, Levitra and, of course, Viagra.

Erectile dysfunction and mental health

While the bodily processes behind erectile dysfunction are largely physical, your mental health can play a huge part in increasing your symptoms.

Anxiety and depression can be significant factors in causing erectile dysfunction, and in some cases treating these wider conditions is necessary in order to improve your erectile issues. For most people, erectile dysfunction is the result of a vicious cycle between mental and physical health. Most erectile dysfunction is caused by physical factors, but when it occurs it can significantly increase feelings of performance anxiety, depression and anxiety in general. This can serve to make the condition even worse.

Treating the mental health aspects of erectile dysfunction can consist of something as simple as talking to your partner. Working together to make the bedroom a relaxing, inviting space rather than a pressurised one can be hugely important. Sexual health therapy or couples therapy can also be beneficial.

Certain physical health concerns can also increase your likelihood of suffering from erectile dysfunction, including diabetes. Poor lifestyle choices such as a bad diet, heavy drinking and smoking can also play a part in the condition.

This winter, don’t let erectile dysfunction stop you getting cosy in the bedroom. Explore the range of effective erectile dysfunction medications available from Express Pharmacy. For further guidance and support, get in touch with our team today using our discreet live chat service.

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How to Attend to Your Health and Wellbeing During the Dark, Cold Months

Posted Friday 16 November 2018 15:32 by in Primary Care Givers by Tim Deakin

A change in the seasons can have a serious impact on both your mental and physical health, so here’s what you can do to combat these factors

We may have experienced an unusually warm summer and autumn this year, but make no mistake: winter is coming. November marks the beginning of the descent into winter, meaning the nights are drawing in at a rapid pace and temperatures are dropping steadily.

There is a lot to love about this time of year, from cosy nights in to woolly winter jumpers. However, for many people winter can pose its own set of unique challenges. Not only are colds and flu symptoms more common at this time of year, but winter can also take its toll on many other aspects of our health – both mental and physical. So here is what you can do to keep your spirits up and your health intact this winter.

Preparing your body for the winter weather

Winter tiredness is a very real challenge that many people face at this time of year, when daylight hours are low and the cold temperature offers little motivation to step outside. However, making the most of the natural daylight and fresh air available is imperative when keeping your health up this winter.

Healthy eating and exercise are the two most important factors for staving off illness. The NHS advises a regular consumption of fruit, vegetables, milk and yoghurt – especially those that are rich in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and protein. These will help to boost your immune system. Introduce plenty of winter vegetables into your diet, including parsnips, swede, carrots and turnips. You should also make the effort to eat a hearty breakfast, consuming plenty of fibre and starchy food like cereal to set you up for the day.

Engaging in moderate regular exercise during the winter will help you feel more energised at this time of year. If you struggle to make the time for fitness, try breaking up 30-60 minutes of exercise into 10-minute chunks, featuring an effective warm up and cool down period.

Preparing your mind for the winter weather

It’s common to feel sadder in general during the winter. A large part of this has to do with the sharp decline in the amount of sunlight we get, disrupting our sleep patterns and reducing the amount of serotonin released in the brain. For a small minority however, these gloomy feelings could have a biological cause.

This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), when the changing seasons bring on a bout of low mood or even clinical depression. Dr Cosmo Hallstrom from the Royal College of Psychiatrists explains that SAD could be related to the hormone melatonin and “the natural phenomenon of hibernation.” In short, winter makes some of us want to curl up and disappear until it’s over.

However, it’s vital that we ignore this urge to hibernate. Many of the best ways to treat your mental health this winter are also the ways to treat your physical health, as a healthy diet and plenty of regular exercise can be fantastic mood boosters. Hallstrom also echoes the advice of the NHS, stating that using a lightbox can be an effective coping mechanism, mimicking sunlight and boosting your mood if used for 30 minutes to one hour a day.

Many health concerns become more common during the winter, so it’s important to stay on top of your wellbeing. Express Pharmacy offers convenient, safe and effective medication for a wide range of conditions, so if you can’t make it to your GP this winter, we can deliver treatments straight to your door.

Find medication for treatments such as acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, weight loss, quitting smoking and more on our website. You can also get in touch by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet online live chat service.

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Why Are More and More Young Men Worrying About Erectile Dysfunction?

Posted Tuesday 06 November 2018 11:30 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Tim Deakin

Erectile dysfunction is a condition that seems to be affecting an increasing number of men in their 20s and 30s are experiencing. But is there more to the statistics than meets the eye?

Erectile dysfunction has been officially recognised as a male health issue since the 1990s. Since then, reports and diagnoses of the issue have continued to grow. The condition refers to the inability to develop or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse and activity. It can the result of an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, prostate cancer or even depression.

For most people, ED is thought to be an affliction which primarily affects older men. Figures show that around 50% of men over 40 experience ED, while around 70% of men over 70 experience the condition. What’s more, men between the ages of 50 and 59 are three times as likely to experience ED compared to men aged between 18 and 29.

But it seems that more and more men from younger age groups are concerned about ED, with performance anxiety becoming an increasing issue.

All in the mind?

A recent study of 2,000 UK men found that 50% of those in their 30s reported difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection. However, neuroscientist in sexual behaviour Nicole Prause says there is little scientific or statistical evidence to suggest that ED numbers are on the rise. Prause comments:

“When you look representatively, there has not been an increase in erectile dysfunction. I see stats all the time reading: ‘It’s increased 1000% in young men’. But there’s no paper that says that.”

Dr Douglas Savage of the Centre for Men’s Health comments, “I have been treating patients for 30 years, and there’s no doubt that we’re seeing more young men today than we used to. Often, these are men who appear to be super-healthy: they’re slim, they exercise, they’re young, and you think: ‘Why on earth have these people got sexual difficulties.’”

If the problem isn’t physical, recent reports do suggest that the psychological factors behind performance failure are on the rise, leading to more young men experiencing performance anxiety.

Psychotherapist at the Apex Complex, Raymond Francis, believes today’s easily-accessible internet culture may be partly to blame: “If you look at the rise of easily accessible pornography, people have an expectation that men are going to be great performers.”

Francis continues: “I see an increasing number of men under the age of 35 developing performance anxiety. Shortly before the man finds himself in bed with his partner, the anxiety builds. The more he imposes a demand on himself, and the more that demand is not met, the more disturbed he becomes. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Dated perceptions of masculinity within the male population may also be at fault, suggests Paul Nelson, who founded an online support group for ED sufferers called Frank Talk: “We are raised in a culture where men do not talk authentically about sex.”

Nelson says that for men, ED can feel like a “total humiliation. There’s a profound feeling of being less than anyone else.

“Men are supposed to always want sex and be ready to go. When you don’t live up to that code, you’re excluded from the men’s club.”

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for ED sufferers?

When ED occurs as the result of emotional pressure and anxiety, open communication is key to overcoming the condition. Whether it’s with a partner, a friend, online communities or through seeking out psychotherapy, acknowledging issues and seeking support is a key step to a full recovery. Seeking treatment for underlying mental health concerns like anxiety and depression can also lead to an improved performance.

Of course, effective erectile dysfunction medication can also provide the assurance needed to enjoy sexual intercourse again. Leading treatments such as Viagra, Spedra and generic sildenafil are all proven to significantly reduce symptoms of ED. These treatments and more are available from Express Pharmacy.

For more information and support regarding erectile dysfunction treatment, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. You can call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat.

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6 Myths About Premature Ejaculation

Posted Wednesday 31 October 2018 15:57 by in Premature Ejaculation by Tim Deakin

It’s the most common sexual condition affecting men, but how much do you really know about premature ejaculation?

Defined loosely as when a man ejaculates too quickly during sexual intercourse, premature ejaculation is the most common ejaculation problem for men. However, it can be difficult to define. This is because quite simply there is no cast-iron definition of how long sex should last, and it’s up to each individual man or couple to decide whether they are happy with the length of their intercourse. One study of 500 couples found that the average time taken to ejaculate was around five and a half minutes.

Premature ejaculation can be caused by a variety of factors, both physical and psychological. It could be the result of prostate problems, thyroid problems or the effects of recreational drugs. Likewise, it could be due to mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, stress or problems within the relationship.

As such a vague condition, it can be difficult to really understand premature ejaculation. Thankfully, we’re here to help you bust some myths. Let’s take a look.

PERCEPTION: ‘Premature ejaculation sufferers are very anxious people’

REALITY: Not necessarily

Although anxiety can indeed be a factor in premature ejaculation, it is not a set rule that premature ejaculation sufferers also live with anxiety. In fact, one Belgian survey found that sufferers have the same average levels of anxiety as the wider population. This is because there is a distinction to be made between an anxiety disorder and sex-specific stress. The latter, just like any other stress, is something that can be worked on fairly smoothly by talking through issues with partners, trying different positions and not taking things too seriously.

PERCEPTION: ‘People with premature ejaculation experience it all the time’

REALITY: False

Premature ejaculation is more often than not a situational condition, meaning the circumstances surrounding intercourse have a significant part to play in the duration of a man’s performance. Studies show that when men feel more relaxed – usually with a long-term partner – they tend to perform for longer, while more casual relations can lead to increased feelings of stress and excitement which can bring on premature ejaculation. Likewise, life stressors like family issues or money troubles can also bring on the condition.

PERCEPTION: ‘Premature ejaculation is a young man’s problem’

REALITY: False

It’s widely thought that premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction exclusively affect men on opposite ends of the age-scale (i.e. young people suffer from PE and old people suffer from ED). In actual fact, premature ejaculation can strike at any age. One survey found that the rate of sufferers remains fairly steady at 25-30% from teens to age 50.

PERCEPTION: ‘Premature ejaculation is just as distressing for partners as it is for sufferers’

REALITY: Generally false

Men regularly project their premature ejaculation anxieties onto their partners, but research actually shows that partners don’t care as much as you might think. For women especially, the rate of orgasm in sex in general is only around 25%, with traditional methods often not doing enough to bring about climax on their own. Other methods are therefore welcomed by many women, and these don’t often need men to maintain an erection.

PERCEPTION: ‘If you can’t perform for an extended period of time, you have premature ejaculation’

REALITY: False

As we said earlier, premature ejaculation is hard to define. Consequently, this leads many men to assume they have it just because they can’t last for extended periods of time. The common consensus among health professionals is that being unable to perform for more than two minutes is an indicator of premature ejaculation. However, many men that last longer than this still assume they are sufferers.

PERCEPTION ‘There is effective treatment for premature ejaculation available’

REALITY: True!

For those who do indeed live with premature ejaculation, effective and safe treatment is available. Priligy and Emla are two proven treatments for the condition that can be prescribed by Express Pharmacy.

For more information on the premature ejaculation treatment available, contact the team of NHS-approved pharmacists at Express Pharmacy today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or get in touch via our discreet online Live Chat service.

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