Discreet Next Day Delivery
Free Consultation
Free Prescription
ED Treatment from £8.99
  • Call
  • 0208 123 0703


How Diet Impacts Cystitis

Posted Friday 11 October 2019 20:56 by in Women's Medication by Tim Deakin

Every year, an estimated four million UK women suffer from cystitis, one of the most common urinary tract infections (UTI). One third of these women are younger than 24 years old.[1]

But what exactly is cystitis, and is there any relation to the food you eat and the severity of your symptoms?

What is cystitis?

Many women will have experienced a UTI like cystitis at some point in their lives. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by an infection. It can last several days and can result in significant discomfort.[2]

Symptoms of cystitis may include:

  • Pain when urinating
  • A frequent, urgent need to go to the toilet
  • Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Lower stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Confusion[3]

How does diet impact cystitis?

No research specifically links certain foods to causing or remedying a UTI. However, some people with cystitis find that certain foods are drinks can act as triggers for symptoms. Most common among these are coffee, soda, alcohol, tomatoes, hot and spicy foods, other caffeinated beverages, chocolate, fruit juices and MSG.[4]

Likewise, some people find that certain foods and drinks help to alleviate symptoms, but again these can differ from person to person. Most importantly, you should aim to eat in moderation and enjoy a balanced diet. Eating a range of healthy food from all different food groups is important for your overall health, including your bladder health.

Drinking plenty of water is key when suffering with a urinary tract infection. This helps to replace the fluids lost by the frequent toilet trips brought on by the infection. It can also help speed up the process of flushing out the infection.[5]

Common misconceptions about cystitis

One of the most commonly shared remedies for cystitis is cranberry juice, but research from Yale University suggests that this is an urban myth. The belief is that a compound in cranberries called proanthocyanin is able to inhibit the growth of the infection, but the study found that cranberries had little to no impact on the condition.[6]

It may just be that drinking lots of cranberry juice is only as beneficial as drinking plenty of any fluid.

Alleviating a UTI

As well as monitoring your diet, there are simple measures you can put in place in order to help prevent cystitis from occurring. These include:

  • Having a shower rather than a bath
  • Not using perfumed cleaning products
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Going to the toilet as soon as you feel the need
  • Wearing cotton rather than synthetic underwear[7]

However, curing an existing case of cystitis usually requires a course of antibiotics. Studies have shown cystitis medication like Trimethoprim to be 94% effective in alleviating a UTI within a week.[8]

Safe and effective cystitis medication like Trimethoprim is available right here at Express Pharmacy. Speak to one of our experts today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] Cox, D. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about urinary tract infections. The Guardian. 2017

[2] NHS UK. Cystitis. 2018

[3] Bupa UK. Cystitis. 2018

[4] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Can what I eat or drink relieve or prevent IC? 2017

[5] Urology Care Foundation. Effect of Diet on Interstitial Cystitis. 2016

[6] Juthani-Mehta, M. MD. et al. Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Old Women in Nursing Homes. JAMA. 2016

[7] NHS UK. Cystitis. 2018

[8] Osterberg, E. Efficacy of single-dose versus seven-day trimethoprim treatment of cystitis in women: a randomized double-blind study. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 1990

Tags: Trimethoprim Cystitis Women's Health

5 Early Forms of Contraception Which Will Make You Thankful for the Pill

Posted Friday 13 September 2019 12:54 by in Women's Medication by Tim Deakin

female contraception

The pill is one of the most popular forms of contraption in the world. When taken correctly, it is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.[1]

However, the pill hasn’t always been an option. For centuries, women have relied on other, often unusual methods of avoiding pregnancy. We’re going to take a look at some of the oddest forms of early contraception to show just how much the pill has changed things.

Botanical beverages

For thousands of years, concoctions have been brewed with the promise of preventing or eradicating a pregnancy. Ancient texts reveal numerous herbal recipes, featuring plants such as hawthorn, willow and ivy. These were alleged to show sterilising properties when drunk. Substances were also commonly applied to the genitals before and after sex – as a way to form of kind of chemical barrier – and things like honey, acacia and even crocodile dung were used to create solid plugs or suppositories.[2]

Douching

During the Roman era, douching was one of the more common forms of post-coital pregnancy prevention. In fact, it was often completed both before and after sexual activity. Douching is the act of rinsing the vagina with fluids, most commonly sea water, lemon juice or even vinegar. The idea was that, by rinsing the vagina, women would flush out any sperm and hopefully kill any sperm cells that remained.[3]

Instances of women using this technique to prevent can be found well into the 20th century.

Early caps and condoms

Male condoms have been present far longer than female ones. Early examples of male condoms were made from linen or – slightly later – animal intestines. In 1883, Dutch doctor Aletta Jacobs created the first vulcanised rubber cap. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that rubber female condoms were first made available, and since 2003 the silicone FemCap has been the only cervical cap available in the UK.[4]

Contraceptive sponges

For centuries, items such as leaves, lemons and sponges were used as vaginal barriers during intercourse. Sponges have continued to be used up until even the present day, though not in the UK. The Today Sponge — a plastic sponge which covers the cervix and contains spermicides to prevent pregnancy — was available in the UK between 1985 and 1995.[5]

Sponges were thought to be able to ‘soak up’ sperm and prevent pregnancy as a result. However, effectiveness rates can be as low as 76%, meaning as many as a quarter of women still get pregnant after using the sponge.[6]

Early contraceptive medicines

Oral contraceptives date back more than 2,000 years. Things like willow shoots, male deer horn scrapings and even bees were once considered to have contraceptive qualities if consumed. Even in the years just before the pill, other forms of oral contraception were considered. In 1945, Syntex SA was established to produce steroids from diosgenin – a plant steroid in Mexican yams.[7]

How did the pill change things?

Introduced to the world in the 1960s, the contraceptive pill is considered by many to be a catalyst for the age of free love, sexual liberation and women’s rights which is associated with the decade.

Within two years of the pill’s release, it was being used by 1.2 million women in the US alone.[8] Nowadays, the contraceptive pill comes in 32 different forms and is used by around 100 million women, offering easy access to safe contraceptive measures. It is the popular prescribed contraceptive in the UK overall.[9]

Safe and effective female contraceptive medication is available right here at Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Combined Pill. 2017

[2] McLaren, A. A History of Contraception: From Antiquity to the Present Day. Oxford: B. Blackwell. 1990

[3] Riddle, JM. Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1992.

[4] FPA. Contraception: Past, Present and Future Factsheet. 2010

[5] FPA. Contraception: Past, Present and Future Factsheet. 2010

[6] Planned Parenthood. How effective is the sponge? 2019

[7] Dickens, E., Immaculate Contraception: The extraordinary story of birth control from the first fumblings to the present day. London: Robson. 2000.

[8] Bridge, S. A history of the pill. The Guardian. 2007

[9] Davis, N., McIntyre, N. Revealed: pill still most popular prescribed contraceptive in England. The Guardian. 2019


Don’t Let Unwanted Facial Hair Ruin Your Summer

Posted Monday 30 July 2018 11:46 by in Women's Medication by Tim Deakin

For many women, unwanted facial hair lowers their self esteem every day. Here’s how to make sure you can enjoy your summer without worry

The last thing anyone wants to feel during the summer is low confidence. But for many women, unwanted facial hair stops them feeling as good as they should about themselves. In order to deal with this condition effectively, it’s important to gain a greater understanding of unwanted facial hair and the treatments available.

Why do women get unwanted facial hair?

There are a few possible causes for unwanted facial hair in women, but the main factor which leads to the condition is a hormonal imbalance, often brought on by age.

More specifically, many women find that unwanted facial hair starts to become a problem around the same time as they are going through the menopause. The menopause brings a significant shift in hormones which starts years before the menopause itself takes place, but accelerates when it does.

As women age, their oestrogen levels decrease, while testosterone levels stay largely the same. This can sometimes lead to bodily changes that are more commonly associated with men, such as the production of facial hair.

Dr Neil Schultz, founder of the skin specialist site DermTv.com, says:

“As female hormones normally decline with age, and women’s male hormone levels (yes, all normal women have a small amount of male hormone) remain constant, their hair follicles in male distribution response to the relatively greater amount of male hormone by growing hair in the beard area and losing it on their scalp.”

Unwanted facial hair in young women is often the result of conditions like PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which affects around 20% of women and can result in hormone imbalances.

What do women do to get rid of unwanted facial hair?

Unwanted facial hair most commonly occurs on the chin, cheeks and upper lip. Some women don’t find it to be an issue and are happy to leave it there, while others try a variety of methods to get rid of it effectively.

Tweezing is one of the most common methods, but it is also one of the most painful. It can also be time consuming and can irritate the skin where the hair follicle was growing. Shaving is a safe and fast way to deal with facial hair, but it is less efficient as it must be repeated frequently. It also carries a stigma of appearing “unfeminine”. However, shaving does not, despite popular belief, make the hair thicker when it grows back in.

Other methods include threading, waxing and laser hair removal. These produce longer lasting results, especially laser hair removal, but can become costly and time consuming as they require professional intervention. Laser hair removal involves zapping the hair follicle with heat, which destroys it.

Vaniqa: effective unwanted facial hair relief medication

For many women, effective unwanted facial hair medication is the best course of action for dealing with their symptoms as thoroughly as possible. Vaniqa is an effective medication, designed for application to the skin. It has been shown to lead to effective hair removal on the face and adjacent areas under the chin, and results can be seen after as little as 4 to 8 weeks when used twice a day, at least 8 hours apart.

Vaniqa works by slowing down the rate of growth of the facial hair. It alters the growth stage of the hair cycle by interfering with an enzyme in the follicle which is necessary for the hair to grow. Vaniqa is available from Express Pharmacy. In independent customer reviews, the unwanted facial hair medication is rated 10/10.

If you have any queries regarding your health concerns, contact our team today. You can call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.


What Really Causes Unwanted Facial Hair?

Posted Thursday 12 July 2018 22:56 by in Women's Medication by Tim Deakin

For many women, unwanted facial hair is a constant battle. But understanding the condition is the first step to overcoming it.

It’s perfectly natural for women to grow body hair, even on the face. In fact, an estimated 40% of all women naturally grow facial hair. This facial hair is usually fine and light. For some women however, they experience thicker, coarser, darker hair growing on their face, particularly around the cheeks, chin and jawline. This is referred to as unwanted facial hair, or hirsutism.

For some women, this may not be something that particularly bothers them, but for others unwanted facial hair can have a real impact on self-esteem and overall happiness. A campaign was launched several years ago called We Can Face It, which aimed to help women deal with the emotional impact of hirsutism.

A survey by the campaign found that almost all respondents felt negative about their facial hair. Another study found that women spend an average of 104 minutes a week managing their facial hair, while 40% of those with hirsutism felt uncomfortable in social situations.

What’s more, 30% of women with unwanted facial hair suffer with depression. 25% believe it has held them back from a promotion and over 40% say it has affected their ability to form relationships.

So it’s clear that, for many women, unwanted facial hair is an issue that they want to resolve. If you would include yourself in this number, we would recommend understanding a bit more about what’s causing the condition in order to make an informed decision about the best treatment available. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to getting to grips with the causes of unwanted facial hair, and how to treat it.

What causes unwanted facial hair in women?

There are several possible factors that may be causing your hirsutism. One of the most common causes is an increased level of male hormones in the body.

Male hormones are known as androgens, of which testosterone is the best known. Testosterone is responsible for the production of sperm and the deepening of the voice as men get older. All women produce a small amount of testosterone, but if this level becomes higher than normal, the consequences can include an increased sex drive, changes to your menstrual cycle and excess body and facial hair.

In premenopausal women, a common cause of increased male hormones is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is a condition which affects up to 20% of women, occurring when cysts grow around the edge of the ovaries. For other women, excess hair can be the result of a sensitivity to male hormones rather than higher levels of them. This means the hormones have a greater effect on your body.

For women who have already been through the menopause, unwanted hair growth is usually the result of a hormone imbalance caused by the menopause itself. As your body adjusts to its hormones, you may be left with a higher level of testosterone.

Unwanted facial hair may also be the result of medication, such as minoxidil which is taken for blood pressure. It can also come about due to rarer hormonal conditions like Cushing’s Syndrome or Acromegaly, or in even rarer cases an ovarian tumour. Being overweight or obese can also be a contributing factor.

Treating unwanted facial hair

Some women resort to shaving as a way to deal with facial hair, as it is quick and easy. However, it also results in an unpleasant stubble and requires daily repetition. Other women use waxing instead, which lasts longer but can be painful and cause redness.

Effective treatment for unwanted facial hair is available from Express Pharmacy. Vaniqa is a prescription medication which can help women see results in as little as 4-8 weeks if used twice a day at least 8 hours apart.

Contact Express Pharmacy today to find out more by calling 0208 123 07 03.


Cystitis: Is It Time to Stop Reaching for the Cranberry Juice?

Posted Monday 25 June 2018 09:40 by in Women's Medication by Tim Deakin

Let’s take a look at what it really takes to beat urinary tract infections

Every year, an average of 4 million women in the UK suffer from cystitis. This common urinary tract infection (UTI) leads to symptoms such as bladder pain and a burning sensation when passing urine. Although it may not sound like the most debilitating of issues, cystitis can actually be incredibly uncomfortable. Worldwide it is estimated that more than 150 million people are affected every year.

Yet despite how common the condition is, information on how to accurately diagnose and treat a UTI has been limited. Misdiagnosis is common, and many women turn to household remedies like cranberry juice for results. But is this really the most effective way to beat a UTI and, if not, what should you be doing to treat cystitis for good?

Does cystitis only affect women?

Speaking about the male to female ratio of UTI patients, Professor James Malone-Lee, who runs a specialist clinic for chronic UTIs in London, says: “They are more common in women. There’s a peak when women become sexually active, and then a further increase in later life.”

In fact, statistics reveal that one third of women develop a UTI before the age of 24, and 10% do so before they turn 16. However, this doesn’t mean UTIs only affect women. Men can develop UTIs as a result of prostate problems.

Prof Malone-Lee says: “I’m a bit suspicious that UTIs get overlooked in men, across all age ranges.”

How do urinary tract infections develop?

The most common belief is that UTIs are caused by a single bug invading the bladder, although there is some challenge against this as even a healthy bladder isn’t sterile. Studies have discovered more than 450 different bacteria in a healthy bladder, compared to 600 bacteria in UTI sufferers.

There is also some evidence that an element of genetic susceptibility plays a part in UTIs, as they often run in families.

How serious is cystitis?

Typically, a short course of medication can treat cystitis effectively. However, for 20-30% of patients the effects can be more long term. Infections which are left unchecked can progress into a condition known as pyelonephritis, which requires hospital admission. Pyelonephritis is a severe urine infection involving the kidneys which can lead to sickness, high temperatures, vomiting and pain. If pyelonephritis isn’t brought under control, it can develop into septicaemia, which is life-threatening.

Does cranberry juice actually help?

For many years, cranberry juice has been the first port of call for people suffering from cystitis. The idea behind this is that proanthocyanidin – a compound found in cranberries – is able to inhibit bacterial growth in the urinary tract.

However, research from Yale University suggests that this is an urban myth. The study looked at 185 women living in nursing homes over the course of the year, and found that cranberries had no significant effect on bacteria in urine.

There is also little evidence to suggest that drinking water helps beat UTIs, despite this being a common piece of advice shared by GPs. The bacteria responsible for cystitis are often found inside the cells of bacteria or are attached to cells via a glue-like substance. This means that they can’t be washed out. Water only dilutes the urine, which can create the illusion that the patient has been cured as diagnostic tests come back negative.

What treatments are available?

So if cranberry juice isn’t effective, what should you be using instead to treat cystitis? The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is cystitis medication.

MacroBID (Nitrofurantoin) is an antibiotic medication used to treat and prevent infections of the kidneys, bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. This prolonged release capsule should be taken as a 3-day course at meal times with food, in order to provide the best chances of beating a UTI. MacroBID (Nitrofurantoin) is available from Express Pharmacy.

For effective treatment against urinary tract infections, visit Express Pharmacy. You can also contact us for help and advice by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.