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by James Thomas, Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Categories: General Health
Please note that Wednesday 17 April is the last day for the dispatch of refrigerated products owing to the Easter holidays. Any prescription request for a refrigerated item after 4.00 pm on Wednesday 17 April will not be dispatched until Tuesday 23 April. Exceptions apply for same day delivery within the M25 on days that are not public holidays.

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by James Thomas, Monday, December 24, 2018 | Categories: General Health
Please note that last orders are 10:45 am on Christmas Eve because of early Royal Mail collections. The same cut-off applies on New Year's Eve.

by James Thomas, Friday, May 25, 2018 | Categories: General Health

Tips for Heartburn Sufferers

Many people suffer from the symptoms of heartburn, such as the taste of something bitter in the mouth, a sore throat, a chronic cough and fatigue, and are in desperate need of relief. Heartburn and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (also referred to simply as GERD), which is more serious, are a problem for millions. Four out of five sufferers will experience such symptoms at night, according to research, with the result being disturbed sleep and an impaired ability to function normally the following day. (1) The good news is that there are ways for heartburn sufferers to find relief from these symptoms, with the use of exercise and some simple diet and lifestyle tips.


There are a number of ways in which heartburn can be prevented by making changes to the food and drink you consume. Limiting the consumption of acidic foods like grapefruit, tomatoes, vinegar and oranges is a good idea, and spicy food such as chillies or pepper should also be avoided, if you have noticed a correlation between their consumption and bouts of heartburn. (2) You should try to avoid lying down for up to three hours after having eaten, as sitting up enables gravity to help food, as well as stomach acid, to drain naturally out of your stomach. Switch to non-fatty food and lean meat, as heartburn can be triggered by greasy foods such as cheeseburgers and chips. 

Those who suffer from GERD can help to avoid triggering symptoms of the condition by reducing the amount of chocolate, citrus, pepper, ketchup, mustard, mint, tomatoes and vinegar that they consume, as well by eating smaller meals in general. Eating too quickly can also cause heartburn, so pause between bites, and do not eat anything less than three hours before bedtime as this can trigger symptoms.


Beverages that should be avoided include alcohol, carbonated drinks and caffeine as they can trigger reflux. Many people love cola drinks, but they are also often connected to GERD symptoms and to reflux, so it might be time to start cutting back. GERD can also be worsened by alcohol as it relaxes the oesophageal sphincter, so you may want to consider going teetotal. (3)


There are also a number of simple changes you can make to your overall lifestyle that could help to relieve the symptoms of heartburn. One good tip is to avoid wearing tight clothes as the likes of tight belts and waistbands can press on the stomach and trigger heartburn. Stress can cause an increase in stomach acids, resulting in the boosting of heartburn symptoms, so it is advisable to take a look at your lifestyle to identify causes of stress, and do your best to remove or minimise them. If you are overweight, then heartburn could be another reason to go on a diet and try to shed some pounds, as excess weight makes it much more likely that stomach acid will be backed up into the oesophagus. 

If you find yourself using antacids several times in any given week then you may be suffering from GERD rather than heartburn, in which case you may require a more aggressive form of treatment. The oesophageal sphincter can be relaxed by nicotine, adding yet another to the list of health reasons why you should stop smoking. (4)


Symptoms are not always triggered by the same foods in everyone, so it is vital to keep track of when you suffer symptoms, in order to identify the foods that are triggers for you. You may even want to keep a diary or log of your heartburn incidents, so that identifying the cause is easier. Some people find they experience heartburn following exercise. If this is the case for you, then you may well need to drink more water, which assists with digestion as well as hydration. You should also wait up to two hours after eating before you exercise. (5) 

One method of avoiding heartburn is to chew gum, which can result in an increase in the amount of saliva your body produces, which in turn acts an effective neutraliser for stomach acids. Reflux can be worsened by certain medications, so it is a good idea to consult your doctor regarding alternatives and have a general discussion as to how to manage reflux.







by James Thomas, Saturday, April 7, 2018 | Categories: General Health

Pain, like many other human experiences, is largely subjective. Depending upon a certain person’s medical history and life story, they may experience a painful incident, such as stubbing their toe or having a migraine, in an entirely different manner to a friend or family member. Because of this, pain can often be difficult to treat.

The good news is that our understanding of how pain works is improving every day. In the past few years, more attention has been drawn to painful conditions that specifically affect women, such as endometriosis; in this article from The New Republic, the writer argues that "Too often, a woman’s pain is not merely met with doubt, but suspicion", and explains the various ways in which women are now fighting back against this prejudice.

In addition to shifts in how we think about pain, we’re also seeing improvements in the field of pain management. Just recently, researchers designed a new compound which successfully treated neuropathic pain in animals.

For pain sufferers, in other words, things look set to improve over the next few years. In the meantime, one of the best ways to stay on top of pain symptoms is to be well informed. If you’d like to know more about pain management, read on for a guide to the various types of pain, and how they can be treated.

Acute Pain vs Chronic Pain 

The most common pain categories are acute and chronic. Acute pain is pain that comes on suddenly and is limited in its duration; chronic pain, by contrast, is more permanent in nature. Acute pain is more likely to be caused by damage to the body, while chronic pain is more likely to be caused by a long-term condition – although it can also arise as a result of injury.

Chronic pain can be resistant to medical treatment, and pain medication is not always sufficient. It’s believed that episodes of "breakthrough pain" are experienced by 70% of people who suffer from chronic pain (1). This is where the sufferer has a flare-up of pain, despite being on regular medication. Because chronic pain can be resistant to medical treatment in this way, it can lead to depression and anxiety, which can in turn worsen the symptoms.

Nociceptive Pain vs Neuropathic Pain

After the categories of acute and chronic, pain is most often categorised by whether it is nociceptive, relating to tissue damage, or neuropathic, relating to nerve damage (2).

Pain from tissue damage is more common than pain from nerve damage. You may experience nociceptive pain from injury to your bones, soft tissue or organs, or as a result of a disease. Pain from tissue damage can be acute or chronic, and is often sharp, throbbing or dull.

Neuropathic pain occurs when the nerves are damaged. People who suffer from neuropathic pain often experience a burning sensation and sensitivity in the affected areas. Other symptoms include pins and needles, difficulty sensing different temperatures, and numbness (3).

With both nociceptive and neuropathic pain, mental and emotional problems such as depression can worsen the pain symptoms. This is sometimes referred to as psychogenic pain.

Conditions that Cause Pain

There are a variety of conditions that can cause chronic pain or repeating episodes of acute pain. These include:

  • Cluster headaches, sudden attacks of pain on one side of the head (usually around the eye)
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which is usually triggered by an injury and causes severe, ongoing pain in the affected area
  • Slipped disc, where the tissue between two vertebrae pushes out and causes back pain
  • Arthritis, where the joints become inflamed and painful
  • Sickle cell disease, which can cause a sudden episode of pain known as a "pain crisis"
  • Endometriosis, a condition that affects women and causes chronic pain which is particularly acute when menstruating

These are just a few of the conditions that can cause ongoing pain symptoms. If you are suffering from pain and you aren’t sure of the cause, you should make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

Treating Pain

As we’ve discussed, pain isn’t always easy to treat. However, there are a huge number of different options available to try. To receive a free online assessment regarding your pain, visit our Pain Management Clinic. We can give advice on treatment options and prescribe a range of safe painkillers.





by James Thomas, Friday, February 9, 2018 | Categories: Womens Health

January 22nd - 28th is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week; a Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust initiative which this year is focusing on the different ways in which women can take small steps towards reducing their risk. By understanding more about the symptoms of cervical cancer, and its risk factors, Jo’s Trust is hoping to lower cervical cancer rates in the UK through education, knowledge, and simple screening.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer occurs when cancerous cells develop in the cervix, and it’s more common than many people think. In fact, cervical cancer is the 13th most common cancer in women (1), and around 3000 new cases are diagnosed each and every year in the UK (2). Sadly, despite high survival rates – women diagnosed with Stage 1 cervical cancer have an 80-99% 5-year survival rate – 3 women lose their lives to the disease every day (3). Many women don’t realise that they have cervical cancer until a later stage.

Improving Awareness

The Jo’s Trust Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is designed to help women become more aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The ultimate aim is to improve awareness of the different ways that women can minimise their risk of developing cancer, and take simple measures to ensure that if they do have the disease, the cancer is diagnosed during the early stages for the highest chance of survival.

Here in the UK, many women are not taking advantage of the available screening methods for cervical cancer. There are a number of screening methods available, but one of the most well known techniques is cervical screening, or the ‘smear’ test. Each year, 5 million women in the UK aged between 25-64 are invited for cervical screening (4), although an estimated 1,250,000 won’t make an appointment (5). These statistics are worrying, as it’s believed that regular smears could prevent 75% of cervical cancer cases.

It’s Time to be Proactive

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is the perfect time for women to be brave, be proactive, and take control. A good starting point is to learn more about the causes of cervical cancer, and how to reduce risk factors. There are many different aspects that can contribute towards the development of cervical cancer, such as chlamydia, smoking, family history, and the use of oral contraceptives, although 99.7% of cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus infection, or HPV (6), which can affect cells.

HPV isn’t always linked to cervical cancer. In fact, HPV is very common and, in many cases, the body is able to successfully fight off the virus without causing any long lasting damage. However, there are some specific forms of HPV – HPV 16 and HPV 18 – which are present in around 70% of cervical cancer cases (7), suggesting that these are typically ‘high risk’ forms. Fortunately, women can determine if they are considered high risk for these forms of HPV by taking a quick and simple HPV screening test at home.

Sharing Knowledge

The Jo’s Trust campaign is also encouraging women to share their knowledge, and ensure that younger girls are growing up armed with the information they need to help protect themselves from disease. The HPV vaccine is now available on the NHS for free for girls aged between 12 and 18, and protects against 4 different types of HPV: HPV 16 and HPV 18, which are most commonly associated with the development of cervical cancer, along with HPV 6 and HPV 11, which can contribute to genital warts.

Reduce Your Risk

Through small lifestyle changes, such as using condoms and stopping smoking, and through regular screening including quick at-home HPV tests, and NHS cervical screening every 3 years (for women aged 25 - 49) or every 5 years (for women aged 50 - 64), women all across the UK can give themselves the best chance to protect themselves from cancer, or catch the disease early to improve their survival rate.

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