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Women's Medication

How Long Does Cystitis Last?

Posted Friday 28 May 2021 05:00 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

Cystitis is a common problem that affects the bladder. While it’s more of a nuisance than a serious concern, the symptoms can be incredibly annoying and often painful. Luckily, it can be treated with a short course of medication. But what is cystitis, how can you spot the symptoms, and how long does it last?

What are the symptoms of cystitis?

The key symptoms of cystitis include:

  • The urgent need to pass urine (which doesn’t necessarily disappear once you’ve urinated)
  • Needing to pass urine frequently
  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Discomfort in the lower stomach

In more serious cases, you might find blood in your urine or a fever, in which case you should speak to your GP as soon as possible as you might have a more serious infection. In rare cases, the bacteria can travel to your kidneys and cause complications, so it’s vital that you seek treatment for this if your cystitis has got worse.

Around half of women experience cystitis at least once in their lives and many have experienced it by the age of 24. It can be more common in:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are sexually active
  • People who have diabetes.

How long does cystitis last?

The length of a cystitis infection depends on how it is treated, as antibiotics can usually treat the problem quickly. However, without antibiotics, cystitis can take a little longer to clear up, although it will go away on its own as your immune system fights it.

It can take up to a week for cystitis to clear up on its own, compared to just a couple of days with cystitis treatment. Most people find that treatment is the best option as it reduces the symptoms that can be troublesome.

How is cystitis treated?

Antibiotics such as Trimethoprim and Nitrofurantoin are typically used to treat this bacterial infection and they usually work within a couple of days.

However, you can assist your body in clearing up the infection by drinking plenty of water to help the body flush out the bacteria and taking painkillers such as ibuprofen to treat any painful symptoms you might be experiencing.

There’s a common theory that cranberry juice can also work to treat UTIs and it’s not completely unfounded, as cranberries can help to dilute the acidity in your urine which makes urinating less painful. However, water and antibiotics are more effective so these should be the main form of treatment.

Can you prevent cystitis?

There are ways you can prevent the likelihood of developing cystitis again in the future. Sex is often a trigger for this infection so it’s a good idea to urinate after having sex - this will flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra.

Highly perfumed soaps and shower gels can also trigger an infection, so only use gentle products which are designed for this area of your body. Showering instead of having baths can also help to reduce the risk of developing cystitis.

Try to choose natural fabrics for your underwear, such as cotton, instead of synthetic materials like polyester, as this allows your skin to breathe. You should also avoid holding in urine for a long time – always empty your bladder fully when you go to the toilet.

Some studies suggest that contraceptive choices can also increase the likelihood of developing cystitis, with diaphragms being the most common trigger. If you experience UTIs regularly and use a diaphragm, it may be worth switching to an alternative option such as condoms or the contraceptive pill.

If you think you have the symptoms of cystitis or you frequently develop UTIs, you should contact your GP – they may take a urine sample to determine if you have a bacterial infection and how best to treat it.

Is Trimethoprim an Effective Treatment for Cystitis?

Posted Tuesday 15 December 2020 10:30 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

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 Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

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 Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

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 Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

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 Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

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.

What Are the Side Effects of the Yasmin Pill?

Posted Tuesday 28 July 2020 12:00 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

Contraceptive pills are a great way to satisfy your sex drive without the risks of unwanted pregnancy. Women who have painful or heavy periods also use contraceptive pills to control their menstruation.

The Yasmin Pill is a common type of contraceptive used by women in the UK. If taken correctly, this pill is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. But it doesn’t come without any risks. So, what are the side effects of the Yasmin Pill? Read on to find out.

How the Yasmin Pill Works

The Yasmin pill is a combination of two hormones — Ethinylestradiol (oestrogen) and Drospirenone (progesterone). It’s usually taken by women who are under 35 years old. This pill prevents pregnancy in three ways:

  • By preventing ovulation.
  • By making the mucus layer in your cervix thicker so the sperm will have a hard time reaching the egg.
  • By changing the lining of the uterus to prevent the attachment of a fertilized egg.

The pill is taken orally, daily at set intervals. It can be taken with or without food or water.

The Yasmin Pill is also comparable to Microgynon — another popular contraceptive pill. Both of these pills are combination pills that follow a 28-day course. One of the contrasting differences between the two is that the Yasmin pill is not suited for women who have cardiovascular diseases because of its tendency to develop blood clots. Microgynon, on the other hand, has lower risks of blood clots making it more suitable for women who have heart disease.

If you want to learn more, this article about Yasmin vs. Microgynon is a good place to start.

What are the side effects of the Yasmin Pill?

Like all medicines, Yasmin also has its own share of side effects that you need to be aware of. Below is a list of the common side effects of the Yasmin pill.

  • Vomiting
  • Feeling nauseous especially if it’s your first time.
  • Bloating
  • Headache
  • Weight changes
  • Freckles
  • Breast swelling or tenderness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Increase hair growth
  • Discharge from your nipples or vagina
  • Itching on your vagina
  • Dulled sex drive
  • Changes in your period
  • Loss of scalp hair

Yasmin also increases the risks of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke for women who are:

  • Smoking
  • Over 35 years old
  • Have a medical history of heart attack, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases

Side effects of Yasmin that require immediate medical attention

If you experience the side effects below, stop taking Yasmin and call your doctor right away:

  • Signs of allergic reaction - swelling of the face, tongue, throat, or lips. Hives and difficulty breathing.
  • Signs of a heart attack - Chest pressure or pain that spreads to your shoulder or jaw. Sweating and nausea.
  • Signs of a stroke - sudden weakness on one side of the body. Severe headache, vision and balance problems, and slurred speech.
  • Signs of high blood pressure - blurred vision and pounding in your ears or neck. Severe headache.
  • Signs of a blood clot - shortness of breath, loss of vision, pain in one or both legs, stabbing chest pain.

Yasmin Alternatives Available At Express Pharmacy

Aside from Yasmin, Express Pharmacy stocks the following contraceptives that guarantee safe and effective use:

Microgynon - a combination pill made from Levonorgestrel and Ethinylestradiol. It works like Yasmin and has lower risks of developing blood clots. This contraceptive pill is ideal for women who have a medical history of cardiovascular diseases.

Cilest - another combination pill. Its active ingredients are Norgestimate and Ethinylestradiol. This pill works by tricking the body into thinking that ovulation has already happened thus, preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg.

EVRA Patches - this alternate method of contraception is directly applied to the skin. The patch releases two hormones, Norelgestromin and Ethinylestradiol. EVRA patches are effective immediately as long as it is placed correctly. This alternative contraception method is ideal for those who have a hard time swallowing pills or can’t remember when to take it.

You can buy Yasmin online from Express Pharmacy.

What Causes Facial Hair on a Woman?

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

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.

Common Side Effects of Trimethoprim Tablets

Posted Monday 15 June 2020 11:20 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

Trimethoprim is an antibiotic commonly used to treat certain infections like Cystitis. Some doctors also recommend trimethoprim for chest infections and acne. In this blog post, you will learn about the proper way to take trimethoprim as well as the common side effects of trimethoprim tablets.

How And When To Take Trimethoprim Tablets

Trimethoprim is usually taken two times a day - once in the morning and once in the evening. This treatment doesn’t upset your stomach so you can take it without food.

The usual dose of trimethoprim tablets depends on the type of infection being treated, your age and any other underlying conditions. Elderly people and those with damaged kidneys are usually given lower doses.

Purpose Common Dose
To treat UTIs 200 mg tablets twice a day. You GP may advise you to double the first dosage (400 mg).
Treating cystitis that comes after sex A one-off dose of 100mg. Taken within 2 hours of having sex.
Treat acne 300 mg twice a day. Your doctor may reduce this dose over time.
Preventing infections 100 mg once a day. Take at bedtime.

You take trimethoprim by swallowing the tablets whole. If you find it hard to swallow tablets, trimethoprim is also available in made to order liquid form.

Always follow the dosage given by your doctor to avoid trimethoprim side effects.

How Long Is A Trimethoprim Course?

Again, the length of your antibiotic course will depend on your age, sex, underlying health problems, and infection being treated.

Women with UTIs usually take trimethoprim in a 3-day course. Men and pregnant women, on the other hand, need to take the antibiotic for 14 days. If you have a catheter or a complicated form of UTI, the common length of treatment is also 14 days.

If the UTI developed a complication called prostatitis or swelling of the prostate gland (men only), you may need to take a trimethoprim course of 4 to 6 weeks.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to your next dose, skip the missed tablet and continue as normal. Never double dose unless directed by your doctor.

Common Side Effects of Trimethoprim Tablets

Most people taking trimethoprim experience mild itching or skin rash. This side effect usually goes away on its own after you stop taking the medication. The other common side effects of trimethoprim include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Taste problems
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Although rare, serious trimethoprim side effects can also happen. Stop taking the antibiotic and call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Abnormal heartbeat, muscle weakness, and chest pains (you may have high potassium in your blood)
  • Serious skin rashes, swelling of the skin that looks like burns, skin ulcers, blisters
  • Headaches accompanied by fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, or tiredness (these can be symptoms of meningitis)
  • Severe diarrhoea that lasts for more than 4 days or diarrhoea with blood
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Sore throat, mouth ulcers or fever

Serious allergic reactions to trimethoprim are also possible. Get immediate medical care if you experience:

  • Wheezing
  • Skin rash with peeling or blistered skin
  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Swelling face, mouth, lips, throat, or tongue
  • Feeling of tightness in the chest

The best way to avoid these trimethoprim side effects is to always follow the dosage as directed by your doctor.

Which Is the Best Contraceptive Pill?

Posted Friday 12 June 2020 12:30 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

There are many different female contraceptive methods available; the choice leaves many people feeling overwhelmed! This guide will take you through the most popular contraceptive pills, helping you to find the best one for your body.

Is There A ‘Best’ Contraceptive Pill?

Let’s get this out of the way first. Is there really a “best” pill? The short answer is, no. All bodies react differently to treatments, meaning you need to make a decision on what is best for you rather than anyone else. This guide will help you to do exactly that.

There Are Different Types Of Contraceptive Pills

The most popular contraceptive pills are usually classed as either ‘combined’ or ‘mini’.

1. Combined Pill

The combined pill is the most common. It contains a combination of synthetic progesterone and oestrogen - two hormones that are produced by your ovaries. Combined pills work in different ways. Some prevent the sperm from reaching the egg while others keep the lining of your uterus thick so that the egg can’t implant itself and grow.

In the UK, the most commonly prescribed combination pills are Cilest, Yasmin, and Microgynon. You can buy Microgynon online from Express Pharmacy, as well as the Cilest and Yasmin pill.

2. Mini Pill

The mini pill doesn’t contain any oestrogen. It is only made up of progesterone. Women who are breastfeeding, smoking, or suffering from high blood pressure are usually given mini pills. These contraceptive pills are just as effective as combined pills.

How To Choose The Best Contraceptive Pill

You need to consider several factors when choosing the best contraceptive pill for your needs. Because it is mostly a matter of preference, choosing the right pill may involve some trial and error until you find the one that works best for you. Here are some questions to consider:

Do I want extra benefits from my pill?

Aside from stopping pregnancy, some pills can also help lessen heavy periods and acne outbreaks.

Do I have the discipline to stick to a regular schedule?

Contraceptive packs follow a routine which must be followed every day.

Am I ok with the side effects?

Because contraceptive pills are formulated differently, some brands may cause some severe side effects.

Comparing The Best Contraceptive Pills

Looking to compare contraceptive pills? The below table will help. It takes a look at the three most common pills (Yasmin, Microgynon and Cilest).

Brand Active Ingredients How To Take How It Works Benefits
Yasmin (combined pill) Ethinylestradiol & Drospirenone

The Yasmin pill comes in a 21-day pack. You have a 7-day break for a period.

If you want to further delay your period, you can continue taking Yasmin for up to 9 weeks. A 7-day break follows afterwards.

t thickens your cervical mucus to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

This pill also thins down the lining of your uterus to prevent the egg from implanting itself.

  • Stop pregnancy
  • Regularise your period
  • Reduce abdominal cramps
  • Prevent hormonal acne
  • Little side effects
Microgynon (combined pill) Levonorgestrel & Ethinylestradiol This contraceptive pill comes in a 21-day pack. You have a 7-day break for a period.

If you want to further delay your period, you can continue taking Yasmin for up to 9 weeks. A 7-day break follows afterwards

It thickens your cervical mucus to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

This pill also thins down the lining of your uterus to prevent the egg from implanting itself.

  • Stop pregnancy
  • Regularise your period
  • Reduce abdominal cramps
Cilest (combined pill) Ethinylestradiol & Norgestimate

This contraceptive pill comes in a 21-day pack. You have a 7-day break for a period.

If you want to further delay your period, you can continue taking Yasmin for up to 9 weeks. A 7-day break follows afterwards.

It thickens your cervical mucus to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

This pill also thins down the lining of your uterus to prevent the egg from implanting itself.

  • Stop pregnancy
  • Regularise your period
  • Reduce abdominal cramps

Remember that while contraceptive pills can protect you from unwanted pregnancy, they can’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. If you have multiple sex partners, it’s best to use the pills alongside other contraceptive methods (i.e. condoms, etc.).

Alternative Contraceptive Methods

Aside from condoms, there are several contraceptive methods that you can use to reduce your chances of getting pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted illnesses. If a pill isn’t right for you, Express Pharmacy stocks EVRA patches which are applied directly on the skin instead.

EVRA patches contain two hormones, norelgestromin and ethinylestradiol, wrapped in a foil-lined sachet. Sometimes referred to as a combined hormonal contraceptive, these patches are immediately effective once you use them, provided they are stuck onto the body on the first day your period begins and you follow the right routine.

How To Use EVRA Patches

The EVRA patch should be applied directly on a clean, dry, and hairless area of the skin. This allows your body to efficiently absorb the medication. Apply the patch on areas where it will not be rubbed by clothing (buttocks, abdomen, upper torso, outer arm, etc.)

Apply one patch, once a week for three weeks. The first patch is applied on the first day of your cycle. Further applications should be on the 8th and 15th day of your cycle. Remove the third patch on day 22. Like pills, you also undergo a 7-day break when removing the patch on day 22.

These hormone patches are perfect for women who tend to forget to take their pill on a regular schedule or who have difficulty swallowing pills.

What Are the Symptoms of Cystitis?

Posted Monday 11 May 2020 12:00 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

Cystitis is the term used when referring to inflammation of the bladder. Inflammation of the bladder is usually caused by a bladder infection, also known as a urinary tract infection (UTI).

While mild forms of cystitis will treat themselves within a few days, some people find the symptoms too painful to leave. This is particularly the case amongst those who frequently suffer from cystitis episodes.

This guide will take you through everything you need to know about the symptoms of cystitis, helping you to make an informed decision on whether you have cystitis.

Symptoms of Cystitis

The most common symptoms of cystitis are as follows:

  • The constant feeling of needing to urinate
  • A burning or stinging feeling when you urinate
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Dark/cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Mild fever symptoms (low-grade fever, exhaustion, aches)

If adults have a high temperature - of 38°C or above - then the problem is more likely to be a kidney infection.

While cystitis is far more difficult to spot amongst children, the above symptoms and a loss of appetite may indicate that a trip to the doctors is needed.

What Causes These Symptoms?

Cystitis is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection, but other causes can relate to bladder irritation or underlying health issues.

The majority of bacterial infections occur when bacteria from your bowel gets into your bladder by passing through the urethra. This can happen when:

  • You wipe from back to front after going to the toilet
  • You have sex
  • You use a contraceptive diaphragm

When Should I See A Doctor?

It’s advised to see a doctor when you are experiencing unbearable symptoms or symptoms similar to a kidney infection. This includes a fever, nausea, vomiting and back or side pain.

It is also advised to see a doctor if you notice blood in your urine.

Treatments For Cystitis

Mild cystitis symptoms near enough always clear up after a few days, without the need for any treatment. There are, however, antibiotics available for those who can’t deal with the symptoms or have severe symptoms. You can purchase cystitis treatment right here at Express Pharmacy and have the antibiotics delivered discreetly right to your doorstep.

Want more information? Check out our guide on the best antibiotics for UTIs!

What Is the Best Antibiotic for a UTI?

Posted Thursday 05 March 2020 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Women's Medication

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be anywhere in your urinary system. It could occur in your bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. Most infections happen in the lower urinary tract - targeting your bladder and urethra.

Common Types of UTI


One of the most common cases of UTI is cystitis or the inflammation of the bladder. Although not dangerous, cystitis can be a nuisance, which is why many seek cystitis treatment right away to ease their symptoms. E. coli usually causes cystitis.

Some of the common symptoms of cystitis include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Stomach and abdominal pain
  • Burning or stinging pain when urinating
  • Pinkish urine which indicates that blood is present
  • Nausea, lethargy, and other cold-like symptoms


This type of UTI occurs when bacteria from the anus spread to the urethra. Urethritis is usually characterized by a burning feeling when urinating. A discharge may also be present.

What Causes a UTI?

Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enters through the urethra. The bacteria may take hold in the urethra or go into the bladder. If left unchecked, this bacteria could multiply and grow into a full-blown infection. Women are more likely to develop urinary tract infections than men because they have shorter urethras.

Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection

The best cystitis treatment is an antibiotic. Your dose and the type of antibiotic will depend on the severity of your infection as well as other factors, including:

  • Age
  • Allergies to antibiotics
  • Pregnancy
  • Side effects from past antibiotic treatments

Before your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic for UTI, he needs to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection first. He will take a urine sample to confirm your infection. Samples of the bacteria will be grown in the lab for a couple of days. This “culture” will help your doctor determine the type of bacteria that’s causing the infection.

Antibiotics for UTI

Below are the conventional antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infection.


Nitrofurantoin is a commonly used antibiotic for cystitis treatment. Available in a brand called MacroBID, this antibiotic for UTI is enclosed in a prolonged-release capsule.

How to use Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin should be taken at mealtimes, with food or milk. Take one tablet twice a day (every twelve hours). Capsules should be swallowed whole.

The course for Nitrofurantoin is three days long. Like other antibiotics, you should complete your course to prevent the bacteria from developing resistance towards this UTI medicine. Don't stop your medication, even when there are no more symptoms. Not taking the full course may allow the bacteria to grow again, causing your urinary tract infection to reoccur.

If you missed a dose, don’t worry. Take the tablet you missed as soon as you remember. If it’s too close to your second dose, skip it. Never take two tablets to make up for the missed dose.

Side effects of Nitrofurantoin

Like most medicines, Nitrofurantoin also has some side effects. The most common side effects reported by patients taking this treatment for urinary tract infection include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach

Nitrofurantoin is not recommended for people with diabetes. Don't take Nitrofurantoin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s normal to observe a dark yellow or brown urine when taking this UTI medicine. Don’t stop taking Nitrofurantoin unless you experience other symptoms like persistent vomiting, nausea, yellowing eyes, and pounding heartbeat. These could be signs of an underlying condition like anaemia and liver problems. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms while taking this medication.

Where to buy Nitrofurantoin

Express Pharmacy stocks Nitrofurantoin (MacroBID).


Another popular and effective antibiotic for a UTI is Trimethoprim. This UTI medicine is available in 100mg and 200mg doses. Like Nitrofurantoin, Trimethoprim works by stopping the growth of bacteria so your immune system can fight off the infection.

Trimethoprim is an effective cystitis treatment. Clinical trials show that Trimethoprim can work within just a few hours. It can ease your UTI symptoms within 24 hours.

How to use Trimethoprim

Trimethoprim tablets should be taken whole, with or without food. It can be used for both long-term and acute urinary tract infections.

A course of Trimethoprim lasts for three days. Take one tablet twice a day, preferably at the same time each day to help you remember easily. Don’t stop taking Trimethoprim even when your symptoms are gone. Completing the full course makes sure that your urinary tract infection will not return.

Don’t worry if you missed a dose. Just take a tablet as soon as you remember it. Don’t take the missed dose if it’s almost time for your next dose. Never take two tablets together to make up for the missed dose.

Side effects of Trimethoprim

Like all UTI medicine, there’s always the risk of side effect when taking Trimethoprim. The common side effects of Trimethoprim include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaemia
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite

Women who take Trimethoprim may also experience confusion, vertigo, jaundice, and mouth ulcers. Most of these side effects are mild and will go away after your cystitis treatment. Contact your GP immediately if you experience these symptoms after completing your Trimethoprim course.

Consult with your doctor if you are taking other medicines. Your doctor may not recommend Trimethoprim if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or allergic to this UTI medicine’s ingredients.

Where to buy Trimethoprim

Express Pharmacy sells Trimethoprim tablets online.


Urinary tract infections are common in the UK. Most of these infections are acute and will go away in a couple of days, provided there is proper treatment.

Antibiotics for UTI are effective and readily available. However, prevention is always better than cure. So, to reduce your risks of developing urinary tract infections, do the following:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Wash carefully. Always wipe from front to back to prevent the bacteria from your anus from reaching your genital area.
  • Empty your bladder often, especially after intercourse.
  • If you are using a catheter, make sure you use it correctly to avoid damaging the delicate tissues inside your urinary tract.