• Call
  • 0208 123 0703

Migraines


How to Attend to Your Health and Wellbeing During the Dark, Cold Months

Posted Friday 16 November 2018 15:32 by Tim Deakin in Primary Care Givers

A change in the seasons can have a serious impact on both your mental and physical health, so here’s what you can do to combat these factors

We may have experienced an unusually warm summer and autumn this year, but make no mistake: winter is coming. November marks the beginning of the descent into winter, meaning the nights are drawing in at a rapid pace and temperatures are dropping steadily.

There is a lot to love about this time of year, from cosy nights in to woolly winter jumpers. However, for many people winter can pose its own set of unique challenges. Not only are colds and flu symptoms more common at this time of year, but winter can also take its toll on many other aspects of our health – both mental and physical. So here is what you can do to keep your spirits up and your health intact this winter.

Preparing your body for the winter weather

Winter tiredness is a very real challenge that many people face at this time of year, when daylight hours are low and the cold temperature offers little motivation to step outside. However, making the most of the natural daylight and fresh air available is imperative when keeping your health up this winter.

Healthy eating and exercise are the two most important factors for staving off illness. The NHS advises a regular consumption of fruit, vegetables, milk and yoghurt – especially those that are rich in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and protein. These will help to boost your immune system. Introduce plenty of winter vegetables into your diet, including parsnips, swede, carrots and turnips. You should also make the effort to eat a hearty breakfast, consuming plenty of fibre and starchy food like cereal to set you up for the day.

Engaging in moderate regular exercise during the winter will help you feel more energised at this time of year. If you struggle to make the time for fitness, try breaking up 30-60 minutes of exercise into 10-minute chunks, featuring an effective warm up and cool down period.

Preparing your mind for the winter weather

It’s common to feel sadder in general during the winter. A large part of this has to do with the sharp decline in the amount of sunlight we get, disrupting our sleep patterns and reducing the amount of serotonin released in the brain. For a small minority however, these gloomy feelings could have a biological cause.

This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), when the changing seasons bring on a bout of low mood or even clinical depression. Dr Cosmo Hallstrom from the Royal College of Psychiatrists explains that SAD could be related to the hormone melatonin and “the natural phenomenon of hibernation.” In short, winter makes some of us want to curl up and disappear until it’s over.

However, it’s vital that we ignore this urge to hibernate. Many of the best ways to treat your mental health this winter are also the ways to treat your physical health, as a healthy diet and plenty of regular exercise can be fantastic mood boosters. Hallstrom also echoes the advice of the NHS, stating that using a lightbox can be an effective coping mechanism, mimicking sunlight and boosting your mood if used for 30 minutes to one hour a day.

Many health concerns become more common during the winter, so it’s important to stay on top of your wellbeing. Express Pharmacy offers convenient, safe and effective medication for a wide range of conditions, so if you can’t make it to your GP this winter, we can deliver treatments straight to your door.

Find medication for treatments such as acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, weight loss, quitting smoking and more on our website. You can also get in touch by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet online live chat service.


Why Do Women Suffer From Migraines So Much More Than Men?

Posted Wednesday 24 October 2018 15:34 by Tim Deakin in Migraines

Research shows that women are much more frequent victims of migraines than men. But why could this be?

Migraines are a well-established and common condition affecting men, women and children alike. One in seven adults experience migraines globally. However, the distribution of attacks is far from equal. In fact, figures from the Migraine Research Foundation suggest that as many as 85% of all migraine attacks are experienced by women.

Anyone who doesn’t experience migraines would be forgiven for assuming that they are simply intense headaches. However, the reality is much more serious. Alongside a throbbing headache, many sufferers experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, light, noise and scent sensitivity and, for some, even temporary muscle weakness on one side of the body. Migraines can last for hours at a time, or even days.

And that’s not all. Around one in four migraine sufferers also experience a collection of sensory disruptions called an ‘aura’, including blind spots, tingling, numbness and light flashes. Research from the American Journal of Medicine also found that migraine auras can increase the risk of ischemic stroke in women under 50.

However, the reason so many women experience migraines compared to men remains largely a mystery.

Director in the Office of Research on Women’s at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Janine Clayton, comments: “We don’t have the answer for why migraines are more common in women than men, but women are more susceptible to every pain condition than men.

“Also, women in pain are not always taken seriously. Women are perceived as excessively seeking help.”

Migraines tend to be worst for young women, and improve with age, meaning that many women experience regular severe migraines during the period of life when they should be most productive. Symptoms like light and sound sensitivity can make it difficult to work and complete daily activities.

Professor of Neurology & Anaesthesiology and Director of the Centre of Headache and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, Mark Green, is just one of many experts who believes that fluctuating female hormones could be a major influence on migraine attacks.

Green theorises that the drop in oestrogen levels which occurs during a women’s period could be a major trigger of migraines, commenting: “Around period and ovulation, and just after a delivery, levels drop precipitously, which can be a problem.

“After menopause, when the levels of oestrogen remain low and don’t fall, most women’s migraines] improve. Oestrogen falls increase the excitability of the brain cortex. Migraine is a condition where the cerebral cortex is more ‘excitable,’ often genetically, so that is one reason why.”

Theories like Green’s are supported by the fact that, in childhood, boys experience more migraines than girls before puberty. From puberty to the menopause, migraines are far more common in women. What’s more, most migraine attacks in women tend to occur several days before or after menstruation.

However, not everyone agrees. Michael Oshinsky, programme director of pain and migraine at the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, agrees that hormones may play a pivotal role in migraines, he states that “migraine is not a hormonal disorder. That’s a mistake. Think of it as a very diverse disorder. Each patient has to be diagnosed with her own criteria. There are likely many different pathways not working properly in the brain that lead to an attack. It’s a disorder of the nerves and the brain.”

While it may not be entirely clear why women are more susceptible to migraines than men, we do know that effective migraine relief medication is available from Express Pharmacy. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service to speak to a member of our team today.


10 Facts You May Not Know About Migraines

Posted Thursday 30 August 2018 09:17 by Tim Deakin in Migraines

Migraine Awareness Week 2018 begins on 2nd September. This is a chance for people to educate themselves on this common affliction, including how to spot the signs of a migraine and how to prevent and treat a migraine effectively. To help boost your knowledge surrounding migraines, here are ten facts you may not know.

Women suffer from migraines more than men

Around three quarters of people who suffer from migraines are women. This could be to do with the cyclical nature of female hormones. One study also found that levels of NHE1 (a protein which regulates the transfer of protons and sodium ions) fluctuate a lot more in women, and NHE1 is a key component of migraine headaches.

Migraines are the world’s third most common condition

Migraines are hugely common, affecting 6 million people in the UK and 14.7% of the world’s population. This equates to around one in every seven people, or one billion sufferers. Chronic migraines are less common, affecting around 2% of people globally. This is when sufferers experience at least 15 headaches per month over a three-month period, with more than half being migraines.

Children get migraines too

It’s not just adults who have to suffer with migraines – around 10% of children experience the condition. In fact, children as young as 18 months old have been known to experience a migraine attack. However, children can also grow out of their migraines. One study found that migraine symptoms had disappeared completely in 23% of child sufferers by the age of 25.

Auras can be a warning sign for some

Less than 25% of migraine sufferers experience distorted senses, but those that do can use them as a warning sign that a migraine attack is on the way. This usually involves blotches of light and dark disrupting their vision between 10 and 30 minutes before an attack.

Triggers can be very different for different people

Migraines can be caused by wildly different factors for different patients, making it difficult for doctors to treat them effectively. Common causes include stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol, dehydration and caffeine, though spicy foods, cheese and even weather conditions have all been known to result in a migraine attack.

Temporary blindness can be a symptom

A retinal migraine is a kind of migraine limited to one eye, and can lead to symptoms such as starry vision, partial blackness or complete loss of vision. It is almost always the same eye which is affected, and sight usually returns after 10 to 20 minutes.

…So can loss of limb function

A hemiplegic migraine is a rare and scary form of the condition which can result in weakness, numbness, tingling or complete loss of function in parts of one half of the body, including an arm, leg or face. This can last anywhere from one hour to several days!

Migraines might be hereditary

Migraines can run in the family. Between 80 and 90% of migraine sufferers report having at least one family member who also lives with the condition. What’s more, one study found that if both parents experience migraines, their child’s risk of acquiring the condition increases by 75%.

Migraines may have inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

In Carroll’s iconic story, Alice drinks a beverage which makes her grow and eats food which makes her shrink. This is reflective of two potential migraine symptoms: micropsia and macropsia. One popular theory is that Carroll suffered with migraines and turned his experiences into a story. Nowadays, related symptoms are even known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

Treatment is available

Many people see their migraines as something they simply have to live with, but this isn’t the case. Safe and effective migraine treatment is available from Express Pharmacy, including Imigran and its unbranded equivalent Sumatriptan. Sumatriptan has been rated 10/10 in independent customer reviews.

Click here to explore the migraine relief medication available from Express Pharmacy, You can also get in touch by calling 0208 123 07 03 or using our discreet live chat service.

Related Categories: Migraine Relief

Winter’s Last Laugh: The Migraine

Posted Thursday 08 February 2018 12:04 by Tim Deakin in Migraines

There are 190,000 migraine attacks in the UK every day, and winter only makes things worse

There’s a big difference between a migraine and a run-of-the-mill headache, as anyone who has ever experienced a migraine will know. Migraines are painful, throbbing attacks in the head which cause the UK population to lose 25 million days of work or school each year. It is the single most common neurological condition in the world, affecting around one in every seven people, but for many people migraines are far more common in winter months.

So now that the end of winter is finally in sight, it’s important to stay as safe and healthy as possible in these last few weeks before spring makes its welcome return. Let’s take a closer look at why exactly your migraine attacks are worse in winter, and what you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing migraines over the next few weeks.

Why are migraines worse in winter?

Changes provoke attacks

Sudden changes from warm to cold temperatures, or cold to warm, are known to cause head pain as your body tries to adjust to your new climate quickly. This is relevant at the start of winter when the weather first begins to get colder, but is also a significant factor throughout the season and at the end when spring approaches. Winter fluctuations in temperature tend to be more dramatic than those in summer, as some people find that simply moving from a cold street to a warm house (or vice versa) is enough to bring on a migraine.

Keeping a regular temperature in your home, and wrapping up outside, will help regulate your own temperature too. This means making sure your insulation is up to scratch, using draught excluders, and wearing a scarf, gloves and — in particular — a hat when you go outside.

You’re more likely to be dehydrated

Dehydration is a common migraine trigger, and unfortunately you’re more likely to be dehydrated in the winter than in the summer. Not only do we tend to drink less water in the winter in favour of tea and coffee, we also have to deal with winds, indoor heaters and fluctuations in barometric pressure which can all create dry air conditions.

Simply staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is the best way to avoid dehydrating migraine attacks. You can also avoid excess alcohol intake and introduce more hydrating fruits and vegetables into your diets, like red peppers and watermelon.

Less natural light, more artificial light

With winter comes shorter days, which we’re still dealing with as we watch the sun set before 5pm every day. This forces us to rely more heavily on artificial lights, even during the day when the weather is grey and dull. Long hours of harsh, bright lights are another common migraine trigger, which is why it is often advised that you lie down in a cool dark room when a migraine does strike.

Where possible, you should opt for softer lighting options and avoid staring at screens like your laptop or smartphone for long periods of time. This is particularly important in the hour before you go to bed, as exposure to bright lights can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

You’re not moving as much

When it’s cold and dark outside, we’re less likely to feel the urge to leave the house, whether it’s for a morning gym session or a Sunday walk with the family. The result of this is more time spent sitting in front of the television.

Research shows that regular exercise can help reduce migraine symptoms, with one study stating that exercising for 40 minutes three times a week can reduce migraine attacks by 25%. Even vigorous housework can get your heart rate rising enough to improve your physical fitness.

If you suffer from regular migraines and are looking for fast, effective relief, Express Pharmacy offers prescription migraine medication that can be ordered online. We even offer next day delivery options on orders placed before 12pm.


Here’s Why You Should Take Care Just How Much You Drink This Christmas

Posted Friday 22 December 2017 09:30 by Tim Deakin in Erectile Dysfunction

Indulging in a few festive tipples is understandable, but excessive alcohol consumption at Christmas can have severe consequences

Many of us like a few drinks at Christmas time, but it’s hard to deny the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Understanding more about the possible consequences of drinking is the first step in keeping your consumption balanced and under control. This will help you have a happier and healthier festive season.

The negative effects of drinking at Christmas

Excessive drinking at any time of year puts you at risk of both short term and long-term health conditions, some of which can be extremely serious. These include heart disease, liver disease, stroke, brain damage, nervous system damage and certain kinds of cancer such as mouth, throat and breast.

And since we tend to drink more at Christmas than at any other time of year, it’s important to consider the negative effects of drinking at Christmas, which can really put a dampener on your festive season.

Migraines

Multiple studies have shown excessive alcohol consumption to be one of the most common migraine triggers. Beverages such as red wine can put you at greater risk of suffering intense throbbing pain in the front or side your head. There is a wide range of effective migraine relief medications available from Express Pharmacy to help get you through the Christmas period.

Weight gain

On average, UK adults gain an extra 1.3 pounds during the holiday season, as we tend to see December as a time of indulgence. Alcohol is a major contributor to winter weight gain, putting you more at risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. More and more people are turning to weight loss medications like Xenical and Mysimba to help them shed excess pounds quickly and safely.

Erectile Dysfunction

One of the negative effects of drinking at Christmas for men is an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. This is often a result of a poorer diet, increased drinking habits, lack of physical activity and sometimes even Christmas-related stress. With this in mind, it is hardly surprising that sales of impotence medications like Sildenafil and Viagra double in the run-up to Christmas.

Guidelines for drinking at Christmas

Staying health conscious in your drinking habits over the festive period is, of course, partly about knowing how much to drink at Christmas, and knowing the up-to-date unit limits for men and women (14 units a week.) However, it isn’t just about knowing how much to drink at Christmas. There are other factors to consider.

Do your research

In order to encourage yourself to drink responsibly this December, brush up on the negative effects of drinking at Christmas. Hearing statistics such as alcohol being a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions will help you understand the importance of moderation.

Take days off

Even though it’s Christmas, you should still abstain from drinking on most days. Give yourself a rule to follow that you will spend more days of the week not consuming alcohol than you do actively drinking.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water between alcoholic drinks helps your body clear out alcohol. In fact, it’s estimated that your body needs four-parts water for every one-part alcohol.

Watch your urine

If your urine is a dark amber colour or smells strongly, this is a clear sign that your body is dehydrated and needs more water, less alcohol.

Drink slowly

Drinking slowly gives your body, and particularly your liver, more time to metabolise and flush toxins from your body.

Never drink on an empty stomach

Drinking without eating floods your body with alcohol, forcing your liver to work particularly hard. Carbohydrates and fats are the best food groups for absorbing alcohol effectively, helping you line you stomach and avoid a hangover. By allowing food to absorb alcohol, there remains less alcohol for your body to absorb.

For more information on having a happy and healthy festive season, contact the team at Express Pharmacy. You can use our discreet live chat service or call us on 0208 123 07 03.