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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.

Your Menopause Timeline: When Does Menopause Begin?

Posted Thursday 05 November 2020 11:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Menopause is the term used when a woman stops having periods. This usually occurs between the ages of 45 to 55. On average, women in the UK get to the menopause stage at age 51.

This guide will take you through your menopause timeline, helping to settle any worries and speculation.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Menopausal women experience various symptoms. Some are mild while others are severe enough to affect your daily activities. Some of the common symptoms of menopause include:

  • Night sweats
  • Hot flushes
  • Anxiety
  • Mood problems
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Dryness in the vagina
  • Lack of focus
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Hair thinning
  • Memory problems
  • Increase hair growth in the face, upper back, chest, and face
  • Increased need to urinate

These menopausal symptoms can begin months to years before your period stops. And they usually last for four years after your last menstruation.

What are the causes of menopause?

One word: hormones. Menopause is caused by ageing ovaries that produce less reproductive hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone). One of the most prominent changes during menopause is the loss of ovarian follicles which are responsible for producing and releasing eggs.

Menopause can also be induced --- either by surgery or injury. Induced menopause often occurs after:

  • Surgical removal of the ovaries
  • The shutdown of ovary function which is done by surgery, radiotherapy, or hormone therapy
  • Injuries that damage the ovaries
  • Pelvic radiation

What are the stages of menopause?

The menopause timeline has four stages, named:

  • Perimenopause
  • Early menopause
  • Menopause
  • Post-menopause

Let’s discuss each phase below:

Perimenopause (before menopause stage)

The perimenopause phase begins about three to five years before menopause. During this time, levels of estrogen hormones in your body begin to drop causing you to experience symptoms like hot flushes, elevated heart rate, mood changes, insomnia, urinary issues, vaginal dryness, and irregular menstrual cycles.

Despite these symptoms, there's still a huge chance that you can get pregnant during this time (the late 40s). If you don't want to get pregnant, continue using your chosen form of contraception.

Early Menopause

Aside from natural ageing, early menopause can also be caused by certain events including:

Removal of your uterus (Hysterectomy): Menopause symptoms appear gradually after this event.

Removal of your ovaries (Oophorectomy): Menopause symptoms appear almost immediately.

Premature ovarian failure: A condition usually caused by underactive/inactive ovaries. This can be a result of surgery, genetics, radiation, chemotherapy, having insufficient follicles that produce eggs.


Most women in the UK enter the menopause stage when they are between 51 and 52 years old. It is classed as menopause once you’ve missed your period for 12 consecutive months without illness, medication, or pregnancy.

During this stage, it is important to understand that every woman reacts to menopause differently. Some women experience a few mild symptoms while others go through severe episodes. The transition from menopause to post-menopause usually lasts between one to three years.

Postmenopause (after menopause stage)

The post-menopause phase usually begins one year after your last period. Menopausal symptoms that you experience during the perimenopause and menopause stages are likely to continue during this stage. The decrease in the levels of estrogen hormones in your body will also increase your risks of developing osteoporosis, osteopenia, and heart disease.

How to cope with menopause

If your symptoms are severe or affecting your daily life, seek treatment from your GP. If you are still under 60 years old, your doctor will usually recommend hormone therapy to help relieve hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal atrophy, osteoporosis, and other menopausal symptoms.

Aside from medical treatments, you can also make some lifestyle changes to help to cope with menopause. Here are some things you can do at home:

Keep yourself comfortable – especially at night, keep yourself cool and comfortable by wearing loose clothing. Stay away from heavy blankets. When you are outside, carry a portable fan with you in case you experience hot flushes.

Manage your weight – menopause can cause weight gain. When you are in menopause, manage your weight by reducing your daily caloric intake by 400-600 calories. Keep yourself active for at least 30 minutes each day.

Take supplements – vitamins and minerals like magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D can help improve your sleep and energy levels. Calcium, in particular, can help against osteoporosis. Your doctor should be able to advise you as to what supplements best fit your needs.

Take good care of your skin – skin dryness is a common symptom of menopause. Keep your skin hydrated and healthy by using moisturizers. Avoid excessive swimming and bathing as these can irritate your skin.

Limit alcohol and tobacco use – alcohol and tobacco can aggravate your symptoms so it’s best to limit your alcohol and tobacco consumption once you hit menopause.

The Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

Posted Monday 19 October 2020 11:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

During a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, an egg develops and is released from the ovaries. Also during this time, the lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the uterine wall breaks down and sheds out of the body as part of a woman’s monthly period.

And then the cycle starts again.

What many of us don’t know is that there are several phases of the menstrual cycle. This blog will guide you through it from start to finish.

The Menstrual Cycle

Stage 1. The Menstrual Phase

The menstrual phase begins when your egg from the previous cycle is not fertilised. Your levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, causing the lining of your uterus to break down and shed through the vagina. This is the bleeding you experience on a period. Other symptoms during this stage also include:

  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Tiredness
  • Low back pain
  • Tender breasts
  • Cramps
  • Irritability

For most women, the menstrual phase lasts from three to seven days.

Stage 2. The Follicular Phase

The follicular phase overlaps with your menstrual phase as it also begins on the first day of your period. During this stage, your hypothalamus will signal your pituitary gland to release FSH (follicle-stimulating hormones). These hormones cause your ovaries to grow up to 20 small follicles. Each of these follicles contain an egg and only the healthiest in this batch will eventually mature. In some rare cases, a woman can produce up to two mature eggs. The body absorbs the rest of the follicles.

As your egg matures, your estrogen levels will also increase — stimulating your uterus to build up its lining so the soon to be fertilised egg will have an environment to grow. For healthy women, the average follicular phase is 16 days. However, it can last up to 27 days.

Stage 3. The Ovulation Phase

The follicular phase causes a rise in estrogen levels in the body. Rising estrogen levels then stimulate the pituitary gland to release another type of hormone called the luteinising hormone or LH. This chemical is responsible for ovulation which is the third phase of the menstrual cycle.

During ovulation, your ovary releases a mature egg which travels to the uterus via your fallopian tubes. The mature egg stays here until a sperm fertilises it. You will only get pregnant during the ovulation phase.

How do you know if you are ovulating? Keep an eye on these common symptoms:

  • A thick egg white-like discharge from your vagina
  • A slight rise in your body temperature

If you have a regular menstrual cycle, ovulation usually happens in the middle of your cycle. This stage will only last about 24 hours. If no sperm fertilises the egg during this period, the egg will die.

Stage 4. The Luteal Phase

Your mature follicle changes into a different structure called corpus luteum after it releases its egg. This structure floods your body with high levels of progesterone and estrogen to keep your uterine linings thick and ready in the event of successful fertilisation.

If you get pregnant, your body will produce another hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. This hormone is responsible for maintaining the corpus luteum which in turn keeps your uterine wall thick. Pregnancy test kits in the market are specifically designed to detect the presence of hCG.

However, if you don’t get pregnant, the corpus luteum shrinks and is reabsorbed into the body. As a result, your progesterone and estrogen levels drop causing the linings in your uterus to shed. The menstrual phase then starts again.

For healthy women, the average luteal phase lasts about 14 days. During this phase, you may experience symptoms of PMS which includes:

  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Cravings
  • Inability to sleep
  • Bloating
  • Swelling or tenderness in the breasts

Regulate your menstrual cycle using contraceptive pills

Many women choose to delay their menstrual cycle for health, travel, and personal reasons. One of the best ways to regulate your period is by using contraceptive pills. There are two common types of contraceptive pills in the market:

Combined Pills - a type of contraceptive pill that contains synthetic versions of progesterone and estrogen. This helps regulate your menstrual cycle by stopping the ovulation phase.

Mini Pills - these contraceptive pills contain progesterone and are often the recommended choice for women who are overweight and have high blood pressure. Mini pills work in the same way as combined pills.

Contraceptive pills come in packs. For 21-day packs, you’ll get your period during the fourth week. For 28-day packs, you’ll get your period after taking your pills for four weeks. Lastly, there’s the 91-day pack where you get your period every 12 weeks.

The common side effects of contraceptive pills include:

  • Mood changes
  • Migraines
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Unwanted hair growth
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Increased blood pressure

How Can a Woman Get Rid of Facial Hair?

Posted Tuesday 11 August 2020 12:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

If you are wondering how to safely get rid of facial hair as a woman, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we are going to talk about the reasons why some women have excessive hair growth and then we are going to provide you with options on how to treat the problem.

What causes unwanted facial hair?

The medical term for the cause of unwanted facial hair is hirsutism. This medical condition is characterized by having excessive hair growth on a woman’s chest, back, arms, and face. Normally, women have hair on the body and on the face (commonly referred to as “peach fuzz”). But hirsutism is different. This type of hair growth is usually coarse and dark.

Unwanted facial hair shares the same characteristics associated with male hormones. Hence, excessive hair growth is usually seen in areas where it’s common and normal for men to have coarse, dark hair.

Unwanted facial hair is not harmful but it can damage a woman’s self-confidence. There are some reports that hirsutism has led some women into depression.

What are the causes of unwanted facial hair?

Most of the time, unwanted facial hair is caused by hormonal imbalance --- particularly above normal levels of androgen and testosterone. There are certain medical conditions that cause this hormonal imbalance. Some of the most common ones include:

Disorders in your adrenal glands

Cancer, tumours, Cushing’s disease, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia can affect the ability of your adrenal glands to produce hormones properly. For example, in the case of Cushing’s disease, your adrenal glands tend to produce more cortisol or stress hormone than normal, affecting the levels of androgen in your body.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is considered to be one of the most common reasons behind unwanted facial hair growth in women. In fact, polycystic ovarian syndrome is responsible for 75% of hirsutism cases! This disorder is characterized by the presence of benign cysts on the ovaries that can change your hormone level production. PCOS can also cause irregular periods and infertility.

Certain medications

Some medications can lead to the growth of unwanted facial hair. Some of these include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone
  • Minoxidil
  • Cyclosporine

How can a woman get rid of facial hair?

Below are some of the proven ways on how a woman can get rid of unwanted facial hair:

Managing your hormones

Treating hirsutism usually involves addressing the cause of the hormonal imbalance. If your unwanted facial hair is caused by PCOS or disorders in your adrenal glands, then you will need medical treatment such as hormone management:

Taking combination birth control pills - combination pills contain the hormones estrogen and progesterone which help shrink the cysts from PCOS. Estrogen is also helpful in getting rid of excessive facial hair.

Taking antiandrogen medications - pure antiandrogens and steroidal androgens can help reduce the production of androgen from your adrenal glands by blocking androgen receptors in your body.

Getting hair removal treatment

Another way to get rid of facial hair is by using hair removal techniques. This non-medical way involves methods that have been used by women for years in keeping their bikini area, underarms, and legs hair-free.

Laser hair removal - this technique involves damaging your hair follicles with concentrated light rays so they can no longer produce hair. This kind of treatment also causes the existing hair to fall out. Laser hair removal can provide a permanent way of eliminating facial hair.

Waxing and shaving - this method is affordable and you can see results immediately. The only downside to this technique is that it’s not a long term, permanent solution to your facial hair problem. Eventually, the hair will grow back and you will have to repeat the process again.

Electrolysis - this technique makes use of an electric current to damage the hair follicle and keep it from producing hair again. Each follicle needs to be treated so electrolysis sessions can take a long time. Like laser hair removal, electrolysis can be costly but provides almost near-permanent results.

Using Cream

Creams containing eflornithine can help slow down the growth of facial hair within one to two months. One of the most common creams prescribed by doctors is Vaniqa. This cream has the active ingredient eflornithine hydrochloride. Vaniqa is designed to be applied on the face and adjacent areas under the skin. This facial hair treatment has been proven to work in women of various ethnicities.

How to use Vaniqa

Vaniqa must be applied on the face or adjacent areas twice a day. Make sure there’s an 8-hour gap between each session. Depending on the severity of your hirsutism, you should see significant results after using Vaniqa for 4 to 8 weeks.

Where to buy Vaniqa

You can buy Vaniqa online today and get it delivered to your doorstep from Express Pharmacy.

How Effective Is the Pill? Can You Get Pregnant on It?

Posted Friday 07 August 2020 11:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Can you get pregnant on the pill? How effective is it? Birth control pills are one of the most commonly used contraception methods in the globe. Why? Because when used properly, they can stop unwanted pregnancies 99% of the time. In this article, you are going to learn what the pill is and how effective it is. Towards the end, we will answer the most important question: Can you get pregnant on the pill?

What is the pill?

Hormonal contraceptives - or more commonly known as “the pill” - are used by women around the globe to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Taken orally, the pill is considered to be one of the most effective methods of contraception --- stopping 99.9% of pregnancies if used as directed. Generally safe, you can use the pill multiple times.

There are two types of pills, the combination pill and the mini pill. Let’s talk about each type briefly below:

Combination Pills

These pills contain two hormones, estrogen and progestin --- hence the name. These hormones are man-made and they are usually taken in 21-day courses (mimicking a menstrual cycle). Some pills come in 28-day courses where the remaining 7 pills don’t contain any active hormones. It’s designed this way to help you keep the habit of taking one pill a day.

Combined pills work by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg. They also help prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus lining on the entrance of the womb to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. Some combined pills work by thinning the lining of your uterus to prevent the fertilised egg from implanting itself.

Mini Pills

Unlike combined pills, mini pills contain only one hormone --- progestin. These pills are perfect for those who experience side effects when using combined pills. Mini pills are usually prescribed to women who are breastfeeding.

One mini-pill is taken every day. The pill prevents pregnancy by thickening the mucus in your cervix, making it hard for the sperm to pass through and enter the uterus. The hormone in the pill also thins the lining of the uterus so the fertilized egg is less likely to implant itself and grow.

In terms of effectiveness, mini pills are 95% to 99% effective in stopping unwanted pregnancies if used correctly.

Can you get pregnant on the pill?

Short answer? Yes. Although doctors consider the pill as one of the best contraceptive methods, it’s still not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Why? Human error. Below are some of the things that can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.

Missing a dose

Manufacturers and health experts stress that the pill is most effective if taken daily. If you miss a dose, your hormone levels may not be consistent enough to prevent pregnancy. We understand that some people find it hard to keep the habit of taking one pill a day. If you are one of them, consider different methods of contraception that don’t require sticking into a habit.

Not taking your pill at the same time every day

Aside from taking your pill daily, you also need to take it at precisely the same time so your hormone levels remain consistent. For example, if you are taking a mini pill, there’s only a 3-hour time window each day that you should take the pill. If you miss this window, you need to abstain from sex or use emergency contraception if you’ve had unprotected sex. To help you take the pill at precisely the same time, consider setting an alarm.


There are days that we don’t feel good. If you feel nauseous and vomited after taking the pill, take another dose as quickly as possible. Why? Because there’s a good chance that your body has not fully absorbed the pill yet when you vomited.

Taking other medicines that react with the pill

Medicines like antibiotics, epilepsy, antiviral and antifungal drugs can make the pill less effective. If you’ve had unprotected sex while taking any of these medicines, consider using emergency contraception to lower your risks of pregnancy. You can also use other forms of contraceptives like the condom when under any of these medications.

Not starting a new pack on time

Doctors recommend starting a new pack right away after finishing your previous course to keep your hormone levels as consistent as possible. However, not everyone has access to a new pack of pills right away. If you’ve missed two or more pills, avoid sex as much as possible until you’ve taken your pills for a week. If you can’t help it, consider using backup contraceptive methods.

How to NOT get pregnant on the pill

We want you to enjoy your sex life as much as possible without worrying about unwanted pregnancy. To help you maximize the effectiveness of the pill, consider these tips:

  • Always read the instructions included in your packet carefully
  • Always take the pill at precisely the same time each day. Set an alarm to help you remember.
  • Always have a new pack on hand at least a week before your pack runs out. Consider making it a habit to buy two packs of contraceptive pills every time.
  • If you missed a dose, take the missed pill as quickly as possible.
  • If you missed your pill for two or more times, use a backup contraceptive method like a condom to lower your risks of getting pregnant.

You can buy the pill online and get it delivered to your doorstep from Express Pharmacy.