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What Is the Best Antibiotic for a UTI?

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

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

Cystitis

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

Urethritis

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

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).

Trimethoprim

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.

Summary

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.

Yasmin or Microgynon? How to Choose the Right Contraceptive Pill for You

Posted Friday 21 February 2020 10:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Women around the world have used contraceptive pills for decades to lead fulfilling sexual lives without the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Contraceptive pills are also used to control menstruation, particularly when the natural flow is too heavy or painful.

Within this guide, we aim to help you choose the right contraceptive pill out of two of the most popular; Yasmin and Microgynon.

What is the Contraceptive Pill?

Also known as the ‘birth control pill’, the contraceptive pill is a type of medication developed to change the way your body works in order to prevent pregnancy. To do this, contraceptive pills contain either one or two hormones that can control and alter the function of your uterus and ovaries.

One-Hormone Pills

One-hormone pills, also known as mini-pills, are low-dose progesterone pills that work by changing the uterus lining and cervical mucus, transforming them in a hostile environment for an impregnated egg.

Due to the fact that they don’t stop ovulation, these pills are less effective in preventing pregnancy than the two-hormone pills. They must be taken at the same hour every day, without interruptions, or they might not work.

Combined Pills

Two-hormone or combined contraceptive pills contain a mix of oestrogen and progesterone developed to prevent ovulation altogether. The pill also thickens the mucus around the cervix and affects the lining of the uterus.

Thus, getting pregnant while on combination pill is near impossible, as long as you take it as indicated on the package.

The Advantages of Taking a Contraceptive Pill

The advantages of taking a contraceptive pill go way beyond pregnancy control. Combination pills can also:

  • Regularise your periods, making them lighter and less painful
  • Reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Reduce acne and protect against inflammatory pelvic disease
  • Reduce the risk of fibrosis, benign breast disease, and ovarian cysts
  • Reduce the risk of ovaries, womb, and colon cancer

Yasmin vs. Microgynon: What Contraceptive Pill is Right for Me?

While there are many pharmaceutical industries that manufacture contraceptive pills, the primate on the market is held by German company Bayer AG with its two flagship products Yasmin and Microgynon.

Both are combination pills, but slight differences in their composition can make one more suitable for you than another. Let’s have a deeper look at each so that you can decide which is the best contraceptive pill for you.

Yasmin Contraceptive Pill

The Yasmin Pill is a combination of ethinylestradiol (oestrogen) and drospirenone (progesterone) developed to prevent ovulation during your menstrual cycle. At the same time, the pill also thickens your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and changes the lining of the uterus to prevent attachment of a fertilised egg.

Besides preventing pregnancy, the Yasmin Pill can also regularise your periods, decrease blood flow, reduce abdominal cramps associated with menstruation, and decrease the risk of ovarian cysts. Furthermore, due to the use of drospirenone, which is considered to be closer to the natural hormone progesterone, it is also a skin-friendly pill that can help treat hormonal acne.

However, Yasmin is not suitable for women with a medical history of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases, as it carries a slightly higher risk of developing blood clots.

The medication comes in strips with 21 active pills. Take one pill a day, preferably around the same hour. Have a 7-day break once you finish a strip to allow time for a period, then start again with a new strip.

On occasions, you can use this pill to postpone your period by taking one pill a day for 9 weeks, then no pills for 7 days.

Yasmin is one of the most popular combination pills - it’s up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, and many women experience no side effects while taking it.

Microgynon Contraceptive Pill

Like Yasmin, the Microgynon 30 pill is an effective and reliable combination pill if taken correctly. The main difference between the two is the type of synthetic progesterone in their composition, with Micorgynon containing levonorgestrel rather than drospirenone.

Levonorgestrel might not help you fight hormonal acne but it does make the pill more suitable for women with high blood pressure or a history of cardiovascular diseases.

Apart from this difference, Microgynon is as effective as Yasmin in preventing pregnancy; it can reduce blood flow and abdominal pain during your periods, and decrease the risk of ovarian cysts.

Microgynon comes in blisters with 21 pills that must be taken just like Yasmin, followed by a 7-day break period. Alternatively, you can alter your period by taking one pill for 9 weeks, then no pills for 7 days before starting a new strip.

Due to its lower risk of blood clots compared to Yasmin, Microgynon is a more suitable option for women with a family or personal medical history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.

Where to Get the Contraceptive Pill

Once you have confirmed which contraceptive pill is best for you, the easiest way to get it is online.

At Express Pharmacy, the process of buying contraceptive pills online is quick and fuss-free. Once you decided which pill to get, choose from a 3-month or 6-month supply, fill in our medical questionnaire to get a private prescription, and then place an order.

After the first order, you can re-order it as needed without having to fill in the questionnaire again, and you can rest assured that all orders from us will be delivered in plain, non-branded packaging.

You can even decide whether you want to collect the pills yourself or have them delivered at your home. Options include same-day collection, next-day delivery, or standard delivery via UPS or Royal Mail.

Express Pharmacy is a fully regulated UK pharmacy licensed by MHRA to provide medication. Get in touch with us on 0208 123 0703 if you require more information regarding female contraception.


What Are the Best Forms of Birth Control?

Posted Thursday 30 January 2020 08:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Women have more birth control options than ever before, but with more choice comes more information; not to mention more side effects to be aware of.

It can be difficult to know which birth control option is right for you. Before seeking out a new method of birth control, it’s a good idea to discuss the options with your GP or do plenty of research into your options. This will help to outline the types of birth control available to you based on your requirements and other factors such as lifestyle, your current health or other medications you are on.

There are many types of female contraception to be aware of, from birth control pills to condoms and hormonal implants. While no single method can completely guarantee pregnancy prevention, if used correctly, these methods can help minimise the chances of having an unwanted pregnancy. We’ve compiled a list of the best forms of birth control and the pros and cons of each method.

What Is Birth Control?

Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. There are pros and cons to every method of contraception, and some are more effective than others. It’s important to understand this in order to make an informed decision on what is best for you.

The Best Types of Birth Control For Women

From IUDs and implants to hormone shots and the rhythm method, the choice can be overwhelming. But effectiveness is key when deciding what birth control to use and the following contraceptive devices are some of the most successful at preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are one of the most popular methods of contraception for women, as they are convenient and offer a range of other benefits besides preventing pregnancy.

Express Pharmacy’s female contraception range includes several oral contraceptive brands to suit different needs and budgets, including Yasmin birth control and the Microgynon pill.

Yasmin birth control is a combined pill and is typically prescribed to women under the age of 35. If used correctly, it’s up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and works by preventing ovulation and altering the lining of the uterine wall.

The Microgynon pill is well-suited to women who have not used birth control pills before – it contains two hormones, similar to oestrogen and progesterone.

Benefits of birth control pills: The benefits of birth control pills are that if you use them properly, there is just a 1% failure rate. Not only this, but they help to relieve painful menstrual cramps and prevent heavy periods.

Cons of birth control pills: The potential downsides of the pill are that if you forget to take it regularly, the failure rate is much higher. This is especially key if you’re taking a progestin-only pill as this needs to be taken at the same time every day. Birth control pills can also cause nausea, breast tenderness and a low sex drive for some women.

Condoms

Condoms are a birth control mainstay; with good reason. They not only prevent pregnancy but are the only contraceptive device that also prevents sexually transmitted infections, too.

There are both male and female condoms on the market, but male condoms are much more commonly used. Condoms can also be used with spermicides to increase the effectiveness of the contraceptive.

Benefits of condoms: The benefits of condoms are that they are the best method of protection against STDs and HIV, and they are also convenient and easy to use.

Cons of condoms: However, male condoms are only around 82% effective in preventing pregnancy and female condoms are just 79% effective. Because of the high failure rate, it’s advised that condoms are used with another form of birth control.

Hormone Implants

Hormone implants are an increasingly popular option for women as they require less maintenance. A small matchstick-sized piece of plastic is inserted by a GP just under the skin of the upper arm and prevents pregnancy for up to three years without needing to be removed in the meantime.

Benefits of hormone implants: One benefit of hormone implants is that the method is invisible and is as effective as an IUD, with less than 1 in 100 women getting pregnant with this method in place. What’s more, if you choose to get pregnant in the future, you can still become pregnant after having the implant removed.

Cons of hormone implants: The downside of the hormone implant is that many women experience irregular bleeding for the first year, although most women stop having periods altogether eventually on this method. If you are bothered by the irregular bleeding, your GP can prescribe oestrogen to counteract this.

Conclusion

In addition to learning about the pros and cons of each method, it’s important to consider other factors that might inhibit the effectiveness of your chosen form of birth control. For example, you need to speak to your GP about or consider the following:

  • What to do if you get sick when you’re on the pill
  • The right contraception to use after having a baby
  • Managing your menstrual cycle on different methods
  • Which is the right choice based on lifestyle factors (family medical history, weight, age)

All of these, and more, can influence the right contraceptive device for your needs. The types of birth control listed in this guide are just a few of the options available to women today – there are also hormone injections, caps or diaphragms, vaginal rings and fertility awareness methods. Each one provides different benefits and considerations to carefully take into account before you adopt a particular method.

For more information regarding the right birth control method for you, get in touch with our specialists on 0208 123 0703. Or, browse our female contraception methods by browsing the ‘treatments’ on our menu.


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