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Acid Reflux

Coming Clean About Digestive Health

Posted Friday 26 May 2017 11:38 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

In honour of World Digestive Health Day, we’re looking at the importance of digestive health to our overall wellbeing, and the conditions that are associated with digestive concerns

The World Gastroenterology Organisation has named 29th May 2017 as World Digestive Health Day. With that in mind, there’s no better time to explore the importance of our digestive health – an important factor in our general health.

A useful way to do this is to ask the question: Why is our digestive health so important? And also: What conditions are linked to poor digestive health?

Let’s look at some of the common conditions associated with poor digestive health, letting you know what you can do to avoid and treat them.

Why is digestive health so important?

70% of our body’s immune system lives in our digestive tract. This means that if something isn’t right with our digestion, then our overall health is compromised as a result. Digestion is the entire process from consuming food to excreting waste. It’s responsible for the nutrients our body absorbs, making it not only necessary for our overall health, but for our survival.

In order to maintain a healthy digestion process, we need to make sure our diet consists of all the necessary food groups in the correct quantities. This means carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, healthy fats and sugars and fibre, which is key for keeping the digestive process moving. We also need to drink plenty of water and be active, even just by making the effort to walk for fifteen minutes a day.

What conditions are associated with poor digestive health?

There are a huge number of conditions which either result from or cause poor digestive health. We’ve explored two of the most common digestive symptoms which can occur.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is extremely common. In fact, up to 20% of the UK population suffer from it in some form. It’s a condition that affects the large intestine, and most often results in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea and constipation.

IBS is a chronic condition, and it’s unclear exactly what causes it. Most sufferers learn to manage their symptoms through lifestyle and dietary changes, and by managing stress levels. Anti-diarrhoeal or anti-constipation medication can help, and it’s also advisable to cut gluten and high-gas products like carbonated drinks from your diet.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and is caused by stomach acid rising up into the oesophagus, causing an unpleasant and sometimes painful acidic sensation. This is usually the result of a weakened lower oesophageal sphincter muscle. One of the main symptoms of GERD is heartburn, which feels just as the name suggests: a hot, tight (often painful) discomfort in the centre of the chest.

You can manage and avoid GERD by sleeping smart; elevating your head, neck and upper back with pillows and allowing gravity to do its job with the acid in your stomach. You can also maintain a healthy weight (as being overweight increases your chances of experiencing acid reflux and heartburn) and cut fatty, greasy or full dairy products from your diet.

Acid reflux and heartburn can also be treated with the help of prescription medication designed to cool and neutralize the acid in your stomach and throat with an antacid-based formula.

Gaining an understanding of your health concerns is the first step to treating them effectively, so don’t hesitate to get the professional guidance you need to ease your worries.

Express Pharmacy provides an easy to navigate and discreet service, and we provide patients with a handy Live Chat tool so that they can ask any questions that are troubling them, no matter how sensitive.

10 Ways to Get Rid of Your Acid Reflux

Posted Thursday 16 March 2017 10:20 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

It is thought that 60% of the adult population suffer from some form of acid reflux over a twelve-month period. So, what can be done about it?

Acid reflux – or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to give it its medical name – is a condition that affects millions of people. At some point, we probably all have a bout of acid reflux, however mild, but for some people it can be uncomfortable and debilitating to their daily life.

The main symptom of the condition is acid leaking up from the stomach and into the oesophagus, due to the lower oesophageal sphincter being too relaxed. It’s nasty and sometimes painful, but don’t worry – Express Pharmacy is here with ten easy at-home methods for treating your acid reflux.

Go gluten free

Some studies have found that gluten – commonly found in rye, barley and wheat – can increase symptoms of acid reflux, so it’s worth considering a gluten-free diet.

Wear loose clothing

Tight jeans, clinging dresses and belts that cut into your stomach can all exacerbate GERD, and create further discomfort. Stick to looser clothing and slightly larger waistlines to take some of the pressure off, even if it’s just on days when you’re lounging around the house.

Cut down on alcohol

Drinking alcohol can relax oesophageal muscles further and even cause them to spasm, so cutting down on your drinking – or better yet, giving up altogether – is an effective way of lessening your symptoms and making you feel more comfortable.

Stop smoking

Smoking is a double threat to acid reflux, as studies have found that smoking both increases the relaxed state of your oesophageal muscles and inhibits your saliva’s ability to clear out excess acid from your throat.

Elevate your bed

When dealing with acid reflux, it’s helpful to use gravity to your advantage in order to keep stomach acids where they belong – in your stomach. This is true of the time you spend asleep as well as awake. Elevating the head of your bed six to eight inches keeps stomach acids down, and prevents symptoms from showing themselves. Your entire upper body needs to be raised for this to work, so extra pillows alone probably won’t have the desired effect.

Wait after meals

Speaking of gravity, it’s important to wait before you lie down if you’ve recently eaten a large meal. At least three hours should have gone by since your last meal before you take up a horizontal position in bed or on the sofa. This means planning ahead and eating your dinner with enough time before you go to sleep.

Eat smaller dishes

Eating little and often is an effective way of managing acid reflux. Avoid infrequent large meals and opt for smaller plates of food instead.

Avoid danger foods

Spicy food, fatty food, chocolate, coffee and mints can all increase symptoms of acid reflux, so try to avoid them. You might find this hard, but with 60% of acid reflux sufferers reporting bad sleep quality, and 40% reporting a lower quality of work concentration, surely it’s worth it.

Lose weight

Acid reflux is often more severe in overweight individuals, so eating right and exercising can do wonders for keeping your symptoms at bay.

Use medication

Medication can help directly treat the symptoms of your acid reflux. At Express Pharmacy we stock a number of medications to treat heartburn, including Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Losec.

Why Go Dry This January?

Posted Friday 30 December 2016 21:53 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

dry januaryWe all know that Christmas can be a time of overindulgence. In fact, there’s almost no getting away from the rich foods, chocolates, sweets and alcohol that flows freely during December. But with the New Year comes resolutions – and for many of us that means giving up beer, wine or spirits.

Of course, the first few days after the festive period can be relatively easy for those choosing to lose alcohol from their diet. After all, the festive season can leave many people feeling hungover, rundown and in need of time to cleanse the body. Unfortunately, 63% of the UK adults who made resolutions fail to keep them, with 43% not even lasting one month.

If you are thinking of making a concerted effort at staying off the booze through the first 31 days of the New Year, knowing that there are many thousands of people sharing the experience with you can be a great comfort. Thanks to the growing popularity of the “Dry January” trend, this year could be a great time to get your body back in shape, ease the burden on your your liver, kidney, heart and brain, and generally get your life in a healthier place.

Let’s look closer at why you should join the masses and go dry this January…

Enjoy healthier drinking patterns

Dry January is by no means the preserve of those hoping to go permanently teetotal. For many, a single month without alcohol in the system is enough to help them re-appraise their relationship with alcohol more broadly. A number of people who participated in previous years reported that they drink less as a result. You don’t have to cut out your favourite tipple completely, but learning to enjoy it less frequently and in moderation will reduce your risk of developing alcohol-related illnesses like cancer, liver disease, heart disease, dementia and depression.

Save money

Whether you go out to drink or stay in the comfort of your own home, Dry January can help you save substantially. Take an average couple who enjoy a few bottles of wine and four bottles of beer at home, enjoy at least one trip to the pub and go for a meal out with drinks each week. That doesn’t add up to much right? Based on the average cost of alcohol in the UK, that same couple could save £276 by going dry for just one month – that’s a weekend away for two!

Lose weight

Alcohol is not only calorific in its own right, it also has the added effect of slowing the metabolism making weight gain even more likely. By cutting out alcohol, even just for 31 days, your fat percentage, body shape, complexion and energy levels can all benefit.

Sleep better

While 45% of people report that alcohol helps them to get to sleep, the quality and quantity of alcohol induced sleep is extremely poor, however by stopping drinking, you will see an improvement almost immediately.

As a result of sleeping better, not forgetting the weight loss and self-confidence boost mentioned previously, you are certain to feel more energetic and positive, another plus point to help you make the decision to go dry this January an easy one.

Reduce acid reflux

It’s not just overeating and the overconsumption of coffee or chocolate that cause acid reflux or heartburn, alcohol is a common cause of this unpleasant and uncomfortable condition. Alcohol causes the relaxation of muscles found at the bottom of the oesophagus, leaving your gullet wide open for stomach acid to creep back up. Here at Express Pharmacy, we stock a wide range of acid reflux treatments so you can tackle the symptoms head on, including Omeprazole and Lansoprazole.

Are you going dry for January or longer this year? Let us know what you hope to achieve and how you plan to resist temptation.

How to Stay Healthy Over Christmas

Posted Thursday 01 December 2016 13:06 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

As a nation we make no secret of the fact that most of us tend to overindulge during the winter months. Whether it’s the cooler weather that makes us reach for the comfort food or the sheer abundance of sweet treats that the season brings, each of us has our reasons for letting loose with the calories – and letting our belts out a notch as a result.

Of course, treating yourself to something naughty every now and again during the festive season is not going to harm our health a great deal. Yet for those who struggle with their weight or with food intolerances can find it to be a tricky time of year.

Away from food and drink there are also a number of other precautions you should take to ensure that this Christmas is a healthy one and not a horrible one.

Keep your alcohol consumption in mind

It may be the time to eat, drink and be merry but sustained drinking between Christmas and New Year can both increase your calorie intake dramatically and put additional strain on your organs. Our advice is to enjoy a drink within moderation but be sensible about the rate of consumption.

Avoid skipping meals as this will cause you to get drunk quicker and miss out on valuable nutrients. If you wish to avoid a fuzzy head in the morning, try to stick to one type of drink rather than mixing wine, beer and spirits. Opting for a lighter coloured drink where possible is helpful, as these tend to be lower in hangover-worsening chemical ingredients.

Whether you are drinking or not, staying hydrated over the Christmas period is also crucially important. Try to alternate between alcoholic drinks and soft drinks whenever possible. This simple step can help prevent hangovers from bringing a painful end to your merriment.

Always eat breakfast

While it can be tempting to skip breakfast on Christmas morning in favour of opening your presents, eating breakfast will not only set you up for the celebrations ahead but help prevent overeating later on in the day. A hearty yet healthy breakfast is advisable, with porridge the superstar in comparison to other options. Porridge will stabilise your blood sugar levels, while adding a dollop of yoghurt will boost immunity.

Reach for the remedies

This time of year can be hard on the stomach with alcohol and the overconsumption of food exacerbating acid reflux in particular. If you are particularly susceptible to this common problem, we stock medications such as Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Losec at Express Pharmacy to help treat the condition and keep you feeling well this winter.

Cook your meat well

Giving your loved ones the unwanted gift of food poisoning is certainly something to avoid this December. Unfortunately, the festive season is a peak time for food poisoning, with an undercooked Christmas lunch acting as the catalyst for several strains of harmful bacteria and some very nasty side effects.

Exercising high standards of food safety this Christmas is vital to ensuring celebrations go off without a hitch. If you are purchasing a frozen bird as the centrepiece of your feast, allowing plenty of time for it to defrost is the place to start.

The rule of thumb for defrosting is to allow 12 hours per kilogram when defrosting in the fridge, and 7 hours per kilo when defrosting in a cool room. Once the bird has been properly defrosted, it must be cooked well. It is recommended that birds are roasted for 40 minutes per kilogram at 190oC. Always double check that your turkey is cooked correctly before serving, the easiest way to do this is to part the skin between the breast and leg, if this area is pink then further cooking is required. The juices from the turkey should also run clear rather than pink.

Travel carefully during bad weather

The roads are notoriously dangerous during the autumn and winter months, with snow, ice, rain and dazzling sunlight all heightening risk for drivers. If you have to set foot outside during the winter period – like getting to a Christmas party or family gathering, be sure to allow more time so that you can exercise caution on the road. It also goes without saying that you should never consume large quantities of alcohol before getting behind the wheel – including driving early in the morning after a big night out the evening before.

6 Not So Tell-Tale Signs of Acid Reflux

Posted Wednesday 21 September 2016 15:54 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

If you experience the heartburn that comes with acid reflux, there’s no mistaking that burning sensation or the sour taste in the back of your throat. However, there are in fact a number of other symptoms that could be linked to your acid reflux, or a less common sign of the condition. Many of these symptoms can cause your acid reflux to be misdiagnosed, as they are so similar to symptoms of other conditions. Read on to see if you’re experiencing any of these problems.

1. Difficulty swallowing

If you have been experiencing acid reflux for a long time, it’s possible that you may have some trouble swallowing. This is because the cyclical damage and repair of your oesophageal tissue causes scarring, which in turn leads to a swelling that narrows the oesophagus. The swollen area can become tender, making swallowing more difficult – a sensation that some have likened to having food stuck in the bottom of the throat.

2. Sore throat and cough

Again related to the throat, a persistent cough or sore throat could be a sign of acid reflux. You may think that you simply have a cold, but paying attention to when you cough or when your voice is most hoarse can shed light on what might be wrong. If you find that symptoms worsen around mealtimes, it’s worth visiting your doctor to see if there is any chance of acid reflux.

3. Asthma

For some people, respiratory issues can lead to a diagnosis of asthma. That said, it is common for people who have asthma to also experience heartburn and acid reflux – and vice versa. It is not clear if one directly causes the other, but there is certainly a significant overlap between the two conditions. There has been some suggestion that excess stomach acid causes the brain to restrict breathing in order to prevent acid from accumulating in the lungs.

Even if your asthma is being treated, you should make another appointment with your doctor if trouble breathing is accompanied by any other symptoms of acid reflux.

4. Pain at mealtimes or when resting

Chest pain is never something to be ignored. Much like with the cough, pain at certain times could be linked to heartburn. If you eat a large meal and find yourself experiencing pain, it’s likely that this due to an overload of stomach acid. If lying down causes the pain to worsen rather than ease, it is likely that acid reflux is to blame.

Standing or sitting enables gravity to take control, helping to keep food down rather than causing stomach acid to rise in your chest and throat. For those with a history of acid reflux it is advisable not to eat big, heavy meals, especially before bed.

5. Tooth decay

A recent trip to the dentist may have revealed that you have gum disease, bad breath or even cavities. If you are diligent when it comes to brushing your teeth and don’t consume too much sugar, then you may find yourself at a loss as to why the dentist has identified such problems. However, this may be due to the effects of acid reflux. When the acid rises in your throat and enters your mouth, it can gradually erode your teeth and cause a whole host of dental problems.

6. Nausea

Nausea is a frustrating symptom in the sense that it can be a sign of many different health issues. Feeling sick or actually vomiting can be a sign of acid reflux, and for some people it is the only symptom experienced. Unexplained nausea could certainly be a sign of acid reflux, especially if you only experience it after meals.

Whether you have some or all of these symptoms alongside your acid reflux and heartburn, Express Pharmacy can help. Not only do we supply a number of established medications to treat acid reflux – such as Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Losec – we also stock variations to ease problems with swallowing, including Lansoprazole Orodispersible and Losec MUPS Orodispersible.


Steve Campbell on Wednesday 05 October 2016 12:40

Do you supply omeprazole to Spain address?

Marina Abdalla on Wednesday 05 October 2016 16:42
Reply to Steve Campbell

Dear Steve,

Thank you for reading our blog post. Unfortunately due to regulation we are no longer able to ship to some countries within Europe, including Spain.

Kind Regards,
Express Pharmacy Patient Support Team.