Posts tagged Womens health

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Spring Bank Holiday opening hours and last order dates

Posted 21 May 2024 in Allergies, Erectile Dysfunction, Hair Loss, Men's Health, Sexual Health, Weight Loss, Womens health

A quick reminder that Thursday 23rd May up to 4pm is the latest time to place an order for treatments to guarantee free delivery before the Spring Bank Holiday.

Order on Friday before 4pm and you can get delivery on Saturday 25th May for just £4, otherwise deliveries will be on Tuesday 28th May. (Royal Mail Special Delivery for Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands £5).

Any orders placed after 4pm on Friday 24th May will be processed and dispatched for delivery on Wednesday 29th May.

Our pharmacy will be closed from 5pm on Friday 24th May until 9am on Tuesday 28th May.

STI Testing

The testing Lab is open 365 days a year, but dpd and Royal Mail are closed on Bank Holidays and this determines when your sample arrives at the Lab.

The last day for you to post your sample to the Lab is Wednesday 22nd May, to get your test results before the Early May Bank Holiday.

Don’t post any samples to the Lab from Saturday 25th May until the morning of Tuesday 28th May when normal service resumes.

Have a great Spring Bank Holiday from all the team at WebMed.

Busting 2 epic obesity myths to help you achieve your weight loss goals in 2022

Posted 14 January 2022 in Weight Loss, Womens health

Diet confusionThe world has an opinion on obesity, and this creates problems for those of us who are living with the challenge of losing excess weight. Contradictory information is given to us regularly whether we asked for it or not.

  • “You need to eat less carbs…
  • “You need to eat more carbs…
  • “You need to eat nothing!”

It’s a minefield.

Your situation is definitely NOT helped by the fact that the U.K diet industry is worth £2 billion (and globally in 2019 the loss and weight management industry was valued at $192.2 billion). This means there are a lot of people with a vested interest in what you decide to do next.

We believe in tailoring a weight loss program to each individual, not the other way around. In this blog post, we’ll share some truths to help clear the murky waters surrounding healthy weight loss so you can make decisions that benefit you.

Myth 1: You’re LAZY… Put down the crisps and go for a run!

The truth: Obesity is a complex disease and has nothing to do with your willpower, or how ‘lazy’ you are.

There are a number of reasons this advice is potentially dangerous:

You may avoid seeking medical help

Obesity is a medical condition, and you should be talking with a medical professional to make sure you have the support you need to safely lose weight. You may have an underlying medical condition that is making you retain weight, or you may need additional support from a mental health professional or a health coach to help you transition unhealthy habits that have been embedded since childhood. Working alongside your doctor can help you lose weight safely.

Sudden changes in your exercise regime can be dangerous

If you are not particularly active, suddenly embarking on an intense exercise regime without consulting a professional first is dangerous.

It’s not only the risk of damaging a muscle or a tendon, which will further slow down your progress, but you may trigger a medical emergency.

Start slowly, start walking to strengthen your joints, and listen to your body instead of the internet gurus (and maybe your nan). And go chat to your doctor.

A calorie is not a calorie

You know that 10 calories worth of carrots are better for you than a pint of zero-calorie cola… and yet when it comes to weight loss - we often obsess over how many calories eaten in a day, regardless of the nutrient density of our food, and the other health benefits that they give.

If you have decided a calorie-controlled diet is best for you, try to focus more on nutrient density, than on the number of calories. Your longer-term health will thank you for it. Plus, eating fibre rich foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help you feel fuller.

Myth 2: Weight loss should be measured by the number of Kg (or Ilbs) you ‘lose’

Daily measurements can lead to frequent moments of despair (and can trigger unhelpful behaviour to get things “back on track”).

Truth: You should measure your success with a health focussed goal stick.

Consider changing your success parameters to something that makes you feel good. Things like:

  • Blood pressure
  • Diet quality
  • Physical activity
  • How you feel about yourself
  • Which clothes fit
  • How close you are to proudly marching outside in a swim suit

Rephrase weight loss

The way you talk about weight can affect the way you feel about losing weight.

If you tell people you’re losing weight, instead of working towards lowering your blood pressure - the conversation is all about your numbers.

And weight LOST… is weight that can be GAINED, which isn't motivating.

So if you need to talk about weight consider a reframe- try talking about weight that you have deleted. It’s a small change that has a profoundly different feel, and can really help you move towards sustainable weight loss.

Supporting weight loss with Saxenda

Moving to a calorie controlled diet can be hard. If you find you need help managing feelings of hunger, you may be interested in trying an appetite suppressant. Saxenda (some call it “the skinny pen”) is an injection that helps regulate your hunger hormone GLP-1 which can lead to eating fewer calories and losing weight.

The prescription can be signed off by our in house team of doctors, so you can try Saxenda from the convenience of your home if you live in the U.K.

Get more information about trying Saxenda here
(and how to get free access to a health coach)

In summary

Obesity is a hot topic, and with that, you’re likely bombarded with contradictory information. Debunking these popular myths should help you develop a more tailored approach to a weight loss program that suits you.

If you feel you need our help with this, click here to learn more about our weight support products.
[accessed January 7th 2022]
[accessed January 9th 2022]

Author: Gemma Boak

Medically reviewed by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 14/01/22

What type of exercise is best for skin?

Posted 12 December 2021 in Weight Loss, Womens health

A woman exercising at the gymThere is enough evidence to suggest that how active we are and the exercise we do, can show on our faces.

Our activity levels and lifestyle choices have a direct relationship with how healthy our skin looks and feels - but is there a connection between the types of exercise we choose and ageing of the skin?

Sagging skin is a natural part of the ageing process. As we age, our collagen starts to break down and is not replenished so the skin gradually starts to lose its elasticity and firmness and coupled with a loss of volume and gravity – the skin will begin to sag.

A group of women exercising with big ballsSo, is it possible that some forms of exercise will cause or even worsen sagging skin? Anecdotal evidence suggests that the repetitive impact of pounding the pavement or other unforgiving surfaces can result in sagging facial muscles. A long-term disadvantage of intense athletic training is that the skin’s collagen and fibrous tissues (along with fatty cells) are thinned, and the skin is less supported. While this could also be due to fat loss, low intensity workouts or more gentle yoga sessions can also be beneficial, so it’s important to take on a mixture of high and low intensity workouts. This is backed up by other studies which show that swapping intense, repetitive motion for slower more gradual movement can also help your skin in the long run. (Womens Health)

Resistance training can further boost your skin’s youthful appearance since it increases the production of growth hormone. This handy hormone is produced by the pituitary gland in your brain, and some studies show that it can aid cell repair as well as influencing fibroblast cells to create more collagen. (Womens Health)

A focussed-looking woman exercising with resistance bandsSince exercise reduces the production of stress hormones, which cause blood vessels to constrict and impair healing, when you work out, you’re minimising the damage stress does to your face. This, as well as increasing the flow of those good nutrients your skin loves, (women’s health) has got to be a good argument to pop on your gym leggings, right?

The science behind how exercise impacts our body

Frequent aerobic training can reduce inflammation and improve immunity by helping the blood carry oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin. This means it can help relieve major skin conditions such as acne and eczema which are often triggered by inflammation.

In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Getting your heart pumping improves mitochondrial function which allows your bloodstream to release more energy. As well as helping you to feel good and look better, increased blood flow to the skin can also decrease signs of ageing by clearing cellular debris out of the system. Think of it as cleansing the skin from the inside.

Despite its many clear benefits, however, exercising sadly isn’t a preventative measure for skin ageing on its own (iiaa). Some people believe that exercise will tighten skin and reduce wrinkles through increases in collagen or from muscles toning and pulling the skin taut. On the other hand, others think that exercise, particularly weight lifting, could instead generate more wrinkles from the act of straining and muscles pulling on the skin (webmd).

How does exercise promote collagen?

Rather than spending a bomb on cosmetics, is it now time to consider spending a couple of hours a week working up a sweat to look younger for longer?

A sweaty looking womanWe’ve already mentioned that workouts can increase the function of mitochondria, the power centres of every cell. The more powerful mitochondria are, the better the metabolism of your skin cells and the more elastic they become. In other words, better cell function ensures proper collagen production which helps you look and feel younger. So, it’s not only the gorgeous post-treadmill flush that makes you look glowing.

A recent study from Victoria University in Australia found that the key to maximising the body’s mitochondria levels is practicing cardio. Endurance exercises have been proven to increase mitochondria levels in muscles up to almost double. The research showed that cycling for 30-45 minutes twice a week along with weekly walks boosts the collagen-filled layer of the skin to make it appear more youthful. (

Facial Exercises

Your face contains over 50 different muscles and unlike most of the rest of the body, a lot of these facial muscles are rarely used. By carrying out regular facial exercises you promote the circulation of blood to different areas of the face, replenishing the oxygen supply in the muscles and the skin. This will result in a bright, plumper complexion and a beautiful healthy glow.

Performing facial toning exercises frequently will keep your face looking fit in the long run. Furthermore, regular facial muscle exercises improve blood flow, supplying your skin cells with nutrients leading to a stimulation of skin cell regeneration and prevention of wrinkles.

When to be careful

If you have rosacea, acne, eczema, or psoriasis you may need to take special care to keep your skin protected while exercising. For acne-prone skin, keep gentle, fragrance-free cleansing wipes in your gym bag. Be sure to cleanse your face and other areas that tend to break out immediately after exercising.

For eczema-prone skin wear fabrics that keep perspiration away from the skin, since the wet-dry-wet-dry cycle will dry out your skin and provoke flare-ups. Above all, avoid exercising with makeup on your face (

Article by Holly Mason of The Skin Investment Clinic with contributions from Personal Trainer, Belinda Andrews
T: 07887855539

Why exercising is good for your skin

Posted 2 December 2021 in Men's Health, Womens health

Running up stairs for exerciseWe all know exercise is good for our bodies. But did you know that regular workouts can be anti-ageing too? Read on to explore the many benefits that keeping fit can have on our skin.

Exercising often, whether it’s aerobic, strength, flexibility or balance training has been proven by scientists to reduce the chances of falling ill as well as delaying the signs of ageing. While no lotion or potion can increase longevity and make you look younger at the same time, regular effort and a little sweat can work wonders for your skin’s appearance.

Skin Tone Improvement

A girl pouting in a mirrorExercise can even out skin tone by flushing toxins and calming puffiness. After your liver, the skin is the biggest detoxifying agent in the body. Sweating removes toxins which not only makes you feel better, it rejuvenates your skin. However, be aware that there is some evidence that Bikram yoga and infra-red saunas may actually worsen pigmentation. (

Skin Glow Improvement

We have learnt that exercise promotes healthy circulation which helps clear your skin and keep it vibrant. When we push ourselves to the point of perspiration and looking red in the face – a result of increased blood flow to the dermis - our skin is being sent essential nutrients, hormones and increased oxygen. My clients who exercise regularly have more glow to their skin. Freshly exercised skin has an obvious rosy glow, however, it’s the day following exercise where we see the real benefits that oxygen-rich blood has on our skin.

Acne Improvement

You may have heard the old rumour that acne can be caused by sweat sitting on your skin. The science behind this disagrees: sweat is just a toxin secretion which doesn’t actually clog your pores. Exercise reduces inflammation which is one of the main causes of acne, plus it levels our stress hormone, cortisol, which can also trigger acne flare ups.  So perhaps sweat, or the way we create sweat, has more benefits to our skin than we think.

Exercise has also shown to ease stress: a key trigger of acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin studies show that sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.

When we sweat our pores open and release the build-up inside of them. Sweat purges the body of toxins that would otherwise clog up pores and cause blemishes (healthy human, making it helpful in clearing acne.

Skin Ageing Improvement

We all know our skin changes as the years advance, resulting in wrinkles, crow’s feet and sagging. After about 40, most of us begin to experience a thickening of our stratum corneum, the outer layer of epidermis, the top layer of the skin. This is the portion of the skin that you see and feel. Composed mostly of dead skin cells and some collagen, it gets drier, flakier and denser with age. At the same time the dermis, which sits below the epidermis, begins to thin. It loses cells and elasticity, giving the skin a more translucent and often saggier appearance (

Scientists have found that men and women who exercise frequently had markedly thinner, healthier strata cornea and thicker dermis layers to their skin. Of course, diet, genes and lifestyle also contribute to the outcomes.

Keeping the skin hydrated

A girl drinking from a water bottle in a gymIt is important to add the unbelievable difference drinking water has to the skin – especially when exercising. It is essential to hydrate before and after exercising, to keep the skin looking smooth and to get rid of the under-eye bags (which are a sure sign of dehydration). After all, our bodies are made up of 75% water so staying hydrated is extremely important.
Article by Holly Mason of The Skin Investment Clinic with contributions from Personal Trainer, Belinda Andrews
T: 07887855539

Skin, menopause and related myths

Posted 24 August 2021 in Womens health

A menopausal womanReaching menopause can wreak havoc on your skin. Skin elasticity, acne, pore size, and pigmentation can all be affected by the natural decline in reproductive hormones most women experience in their forties and fifties, which results in the end of menstruation.

But menopause and perimenopause do not have to be miserable when it comes to skin woes. There is no denying that skin changes during menopause can be both uncomfortable and distressing, so read on for insight into what these changes might be, why they happen, and potential treatments available to you.

Menopause equals low collagen

I often see patients complaining of jowls, slack skin, and wrinkles when perimenopausal or menopausal.  During this time, the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid exponentially decreases, and skin becomes thinner and drier. Research shows women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of menopause, followed by a further 2% of collagen every year for the next 20 years.

The structural components of the dermis decrease, fat and bone are reabsorbed from the mid-central face, muscles relax, and fat deposits increase in the lower face. Clinically this translates in the shape of the face changing from an upright triangle to a downward triangle. Dynamic lines become more evident (crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead lines), jowls appear, lines running from the tip of the nose to the corners of the mouth deepen. Smile and frown lines become visible all the time. Later, the tip of the nose dips, and you can see pouches under the eyes. But there are steps you can take to reduce these effects of collagen decline.

Most of these events are due to chronological ageing which is mainly genetic and difficult to prevent.

The skin also starts to show all the damage accumulated from sun exposure (mottled pigmentation, facial broken veins, skin coarseness, fine lines, and wrinkles) during the early decades.

What are the treatments for low collagen:

  • Always protect the skin from the sun to reduce visible wrinkles, using a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Consider skincare products that contain retinol or peptides to increase the skin’s collagen level. 
  • Other options available are Botulinum Toxin (commonly known as Botox), dermal fillers and injectable anti-ageing treatment ‘Profhilo’, or potentially surgical options such as a face lift.  A Dermatologist or Aesthetic Practitioner can explain these options to you and provide you with a consultation or referrals where needed.

Menopause and acne

Experts estimate that 25% of women aged 40 to 49 experience acne and, with many of those, it is related to menopause. In most cases, adult acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance impacting our skin’s natural defences. This is common when the body produces too much testosterone (male sex hormone) or increases sensitivity to normal levels of androgen within the skin.

These fluctuations can increase inflammation of the skin, cause a rise in oil (sebum) production, encourage the clogging of sebaceous glands, and stimulating the growth of the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes.

Menopausal acnePerimenopausal acne develops in women for much of the same reason that it curses our skin in puberty. It certainly does not seem fair to battle wrinkles, menopause symptoms, and acne all at the same time. Dealing with all of this can also increase stress which is another acne trigger. Stress increases the levels of cortisol in the body, which increases breakouts through increased oil production.

What treatments are there for menopausal acne:

Because a women’s skin is thinner and drier, treatments for teenage acne can be too harsh.

  • Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about prescription medication.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most effective treatment for adult acne. However, you can still experience menopausal acne even if you are using HRT. This is because some HRTs use an influx of the hormone progestin to replace the oestrogen and progesterone your body loses. Introducing this hormone can cause your skin to breakout. 
  • Natural treatments are usually free of the side effects sometimes caused by prescription options.
  • Speak to a Dermatologist or Aesthetic Practitioner about a treatment plan if you cannot get your acne under control.

What can I do at home to clear hormonal acne?

  • Wash your face every morning and evening. Adding salicylic acid and/or glycolic acid into your routine can help to unclog pores.
  • Apply no more than a pea sized amount of acne product. Applying too much can dry out the skin and cause irritation.
  • Wear sunscreen every day and avoid tanning. 
  • Replace old, oil-based cosmetics with mineral-based ones.
  • Think about making a few changes to your diet. Overdoing it on certain foods may lead to inflammation, so you might consider limiting dairy products, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and red meat.
  • Kivu Anti-oxidant Mist is ideal for oily and combination skin. It helps to maintain essential moisture in the skin and its anti-oxidant properties assist in decreasing UV damage. This mist contains 70% Helix Aspersa secretion and bitter orange peel extract. It has astringent properties and is effective in healing acne blemishes.
  • The combination of these two active ingredients has inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and healing properties.
  • Kivu Hydrating Elixir combines Helix Aspersa secretion with hyaluronic acid and has exceptional hydrating properties and a light texture. This product helps to moisturise dryness caused by acne-specific medical therapies (ie. retinoids).

Dry menopausal skin

One job of oestrogen is to stimulate the formation of the skin with smoothing collagen and oils. That is why when menopause approaches and oestrogen production diminish, skin can become dry and itchy. This is also exacerbated by the skin losing some ability to hold water. Pores often look larger when oil production drops, and hyaluronic acid levels also decrease, causing fine lines to become more visible.

Treatment for dry menopausal skin:

  • Wash with a mild cleanser
  • Apply moisturiser containing hyaluronic acid. 
  • Apply products containing Vitamin A derived molecules and glycolic acid to help the skin regenerate.
  • Speak to a skincare specialist about treatment options such as Microdermabrasion.
  • Kivu Anti-ageing face and eye cream is designed for mature skin, this unique 2-in-1 face and eye cream, uses the best active ingredients to improve skin hydration, skin brightness and elasticity. It will decrease the appearance of fine lines and blemishes as well as reducing puffiness under the eye. It combines Helix Aspersa secretion with peptides. It particularly has a high concentration of Acetyl Octapeptide-8 and Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5. Acetyl Octapeptide-8 has water binding properties hence it is able to hydrate, smooth and rejuvenate the skin, and Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5 reduces puffiness by changing the micro-circulation in the skin of the periorbital area, promoting lymphatic drainage.

Hyper-sensitive skin during menopause

A menopausal woman looking at her face in the mirrorAt around the age of 50, the PH level of our skin changes. With this change, skin becomes more sensitive and, women are more likely to develop rashes and easily irritated skin. Existing skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea could worsen, and you may need the help of an Aesthetic Practitioner or Dermatologist.

Treatment for hyper-sensitive skin:

  • Use a fragrance-free moisturiser to reduce irritation. 
  • Use very mild cleansers.
  • See a Dermatologist if your skin condition worsens.
  • Kivu Firming Serum is effective for those who suffer from redness, rosacea or have sensitive skin. The product which combines the benefits of Helix Aspersa secretion and Witch Hazel and has a long-term soothing effect on the skin. Witch hazel is derived from the hamamelis virginiana plant and has the ability to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

Age spots and sun damage

A woman's face with age spotsIf you have spent ample time in the sun without skin protection, you will likely see the effects during menopause. Age spots (solar lentigo) can appear on all photo-exposed areas, but the face, hands, arms, legs, and chest are usually the areas of most concern.

Another frequent condition that concerns menopausal women is the appearance of a condition due to chronic sun exposure called Poikiloderma of Civatte. It is a combination of thin skin, hypo or hyperpigmentation, and a net of dilated blood vessels that typically appears on the sides of the neck and characteristically doesn’t affect the skin under the chin and the top middle part of the neck. Many women think it is caused by the application of perfume, but this still hasn’t been fully demonstrated.

Actinic keratosis (precancerous lesions due to chronic sun exposure) starts manifesting. They are scaly, pink lesions that never heal.

Treatment and prevention of age spots:

  • Apply a broad spectrum SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen every day before going outdoors. This can help fade age spots and prevent new spots from forming, which reduces your risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Vitamin C and Vitamin A-derived molecules applied topically can help reduce pigmentation over time.
  • Make an appointment to see a Dermatologist for skin cancer screening as the risk of skin cancer increases with age. The earlier you find skin cancer and pre–cancerous growths, the more treatable they are.
  • Ask your Dermatologist to recommend treatment. Before you buy any products for age spots, see your Dermatologist for a skin examination.

Only really coming to mainstream awareness now, the effects of menopause on the skin are wide-ranging and can be tricky to handle. Now that you know what to expect, you are equipped to seek help or try our recommended at-home treatments to diminish these changes.

Whatever age you are, you do not have to live with dry, hyper-sensitive, inflamed skin, acne, or age spots.

The Menopause

The definition of Menopause in a dictionaryNatural menopause (when your periods stop) occurs at an average age of 51, but symptoms can start many years before.  The medical definition of menopause is when your periods have stopped for a year. It occurs when ovaries stop producing eggs, which results in low levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

The impact of menopause is under-recognised, with more than 75% of women experiencing symptoms, a quarter having severe symptoms which may last seven years or more, and a third having long-lasting symptoms. A quarter of women have considered leaving or reducing their working hours due to symptoms.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Symptoms of menopause are mainly due to fluctuating oestrogen and progesterone levels.

Periods start to become irregular. They can be more frequent or more spaced apart, heavier, or lighter. This disruption can go on for several years with or without other symptoms.

Most people are aware of hot flushes and poor sleep during menopause, but many other systems of the body are affected. Insomnia may happen due to night sweats or without them and, it is often one of the earlier symptoms. Some ladies suffer from restless legs that also affect sleep.  Many women suffer from poor concentration and memory loss, as well as the inability to think clearly, also known as "brain fog."  Anxiety, irritability, palpitations, and low mood are common.

Some ladies have joint and muscle aches and pains (even with regular exercise, menopausal women lose 2% of their muscle mass without extra oestrogen).

Most women eventually suffer from vaginal dryness. This can cause itching and discomfort (especially during sex) and bladder irritability that can lead to frequent urine infections. Loss of libido is a huge problem.

Skin becomes dry, loses elasticity, and may be itchy. Hair becomes thinner, and less shiny and dry eyes are common.

Migraine sufferers often find they get worse around menopause, again due to the fluctuation in hormones.

What are the longer term problems associated with low oestrogen levels?

Osteoporosis is a medical condition associated with bone fractures with minimal trauma and happens to many women after menopause due to low oestrogen levels. It is responsible for the loss of height many women experience with age and the stooping posture or Dowager's Hump. 

Heart disease also increases in women after menopause. Before this, the incidence of heart attacks and angina in women is significantly less than in men, but this increases after menopause, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in women.

Treatment options

Many lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms: hot flushes can be reduced by cutting down alcohol and caffeine, weight loss and exercise are encouraged, and stopping smoking is always beneficial.

Herbal remedies

Herbal remedies such as soya, red clover, black cohosh, and St John's Wort have been found to help anecdotally, although the scientific evidence for them is not great. They are also generally not advisable to use in women who have had breast cancer, as they can interact with prescribed medications.

Prescribed Medication

Non-hormonal methods for reducing hot flushes include a blood pressure tablet called Clonidine and antidepressants such as Sertraline, Citalopram, or Venlafaxine. Some ladies also have good symptom relief with anti-epileptic medication such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin, although side effects are common.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Both oestrogen, and progesterone if required, are the most effective treatment for symptom control and will also address long-term conditions due to low oestrogen. These include maintenance of bone density and a consequent reduction in osteoporosis and fractures, protection against heart disease and vascular dementia (if started within ten years of the last period). HRT also reduces insulin resistance, and as a result, Type 2 Diabetes; it reduces osteoarthritis and bowel cancer; it improves vaginal dryness and bladder irritability (reducing the need to pass urine frequently).

The two main risks with HRT are breast cancer and blood clots.

HRT tabletsThe risk of breast cancer is increased with combined HRT (oestrogen and progestogen) but probably not by oestrogen alone. The increased risk is similar to that of smoking, taking the combined pill, or drinking two units of alcohol each day. It is much less than the risk of breast cancer due to being obese. 

There is evidence that although the risk of getting breast cancer rises, the chance of dying from breast cancer is no greater than for women not taking HRT.

The risk of clots is not increased by using transdermal oestrogen (either a gel, spray, or patch so the oestrogen is absorbed by the skin), but it is increased by oral oestrogen.

What are the side effects of HRT?

Generally, HRT is well-tolerated, but one of the more common side effects when starting is some irregular vaginal bleeding. Bleeding should settle within three months or so, and if it does not, you should discuss it with your doctor as further investigations may be necessary.

Some ladies experience breast tenderness, fluid retention and bloating, headaches, nausea, and there may be an increase in vaginal discharge.

Some also have progesterone intolerance, and symptoms of this are similar to those with premenstrual syndrome.

Side effects are managed by changing the dose or type of HRT, and invariably women can find a regime to suit them.

How to take HRT

If you still have a womb you will need to take oestrogen (for symptoms) and progestogen to protect your womb, as oestrogen on its own can thicken the lining of the womb and increase the risk of cancer of the womb.

If you are still having periods or are within a year of your last period, then you take what is known as sequential HRT that is oestrogen every day, and progestogen for 12 -14 days every month.

If your periods finished more than a year ago, then you take continuous HRT that is both oestrogen and progestogen every day. However, if you have had a hysterectomy, you only need to take oestrogen.

HRT does not act as a contraceptive, so it is important to remember a woman needs to use contraception for a year after her last period if she is over 50 when they stop or for two years if she is under 50. If unsure of the final period, then contraception is needed up to the age of 55. One of the best ways to address both contraceptive need and the progestogen component of HRT is to use the Mirena coil, a device inserted into the womb.  You can also take certain contraceptive pills with HRT or use barrier methods.

What are the different types of HRT?

Oestrogen comes in a patch, gel, or spray form (transdermal) or tablets, and as mentioned previously, the transdermal methods are the safest long term and have the lowest side effects.

Usually, we use Oestradiol which is a body-identical oestrogen. Some ladies also benefit from adding vaginal oestrogen to improve dryness and bladder symptoms.

Progestogen is available as the Mirena coil or as Utrogestan capsules (a body identical micronised progesterone), taken orally or sometimes vaginally. Micronised progesterone is the safest form of progestogen. Evidence shows a lower risk of breast cancer than with other types of progestogen, and also a beneficial effect on cholesterol. Progestogen is also available as a tablet either on its own or combined with oestrogen and, also as a combined patch.

Some women benefit from the addition of testosterone.  This has been proved to help with low libido and sexual satisfaction, and some women also feel more energetic and notice an improvement in brain fog and muscle strength. We would not usually start testosterone until women have been on a good dose of oestrogen for several months. Testosterone is not licensed for women in the United Kingdom however, it is widely used by menopause specialists and some GPs.  Side effects include acne and increased body hair, but there is no evidence of any long-term harm.

Generally, blood tests need to be done before starting and to monitor treatment with testosterone.

We do not usually do routine blood tests to diagnose menopause unless a woman is under 45.  However, we may do blood tests when monitoring response to treatment, particularly if symptoms are not being controlled.

It may take some time to find a regime to suit you, but usually, a woman's quality of life is significantly improved by taking HRT. HRT can be continued long term after discussion with your doctor to fully understand the individual risks and benefits and effects on quality of life.

The risk of osteoporosis increases by smoking, lack of weight-bearing exercise, excess alcohol, and having a family history of osteoporosis.

Article by Holly Mason of The Skin Investment Clinic with contributions from: Dr. Alex Standring (menopause and HRT) and Dr. Benedetta Brazzini (dermatology and aesthetics)
Contact for further advice and consultations.

The morning after pill - does it work?

Posted 12 August 2021 in Womens health

Range of Morning After Pill medicationsIf you’re looking for emergency contraception right now then you’ve probably got a few questions like:

  • Does it work?
  • How well does it work?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Where can I get this near me in the U.K.?

This article aims to answer all of these questions for you.

How does the morning after pill work? And is it effective?

The good news is the morning after pill is very effective. Though the effectiveness decreases the longer you wait after sex.

There are two standard drugs used in the UK as emergency contraception that can be bought over the counter without a prescription.

These drugs are Levonelle One Step and ellaOne.

Both prevent ovulation (egg release) by changing the levels of the female sex hormone progesterone. Preventing egg release means the egg cannot meet the sperm and fertilisation will not take place.

If you have already ovulated, these emergency contraceptive pills also thicken the mucus in the cervix (the neck of the womb), which makes it harder for sperm to cross from the vagina into the womb, and they change the lining of the womb so that any egg that has been fertilised, cannot implant into it.

The effectiveness of both options depends on whether you have already ovulated, and how many hours you wait before taking the morning after pill.

ellaOne is 98-99% effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days). The earlier you take it the more effective it will be.

Levonelle One Step and the cheaper product Levonorgestrel (on prescription), which has the same active ingredient, are more heavily time dependent than ellaOne. If you take Levonelle within 24 hours it is 95% effective, within 48 hours is 85% effective, within 72 hours it is 58% effective.

The effectiveness data is based on women taking the morning after pill before they have ovulated. And regardless of which option you choose, the faster you take the tablet after sex, the more effective it will be.

Morning after pill side effects

As with all medicines, ellaOne and Levonelle One Step (Levonorgestrel) may cause side effects, but neither medicine should affect your fertility in the long term.

The most common side effects for ellaOne

Side effects can include nausea, abdominal (stomach) pain or discomfort, vomiting, painful periods, pelvic pain, breast tenderness, headache, dizziness, mood swings, muscle pain, back pain, tiredness.             

The most common side effects for Levonelle One Step (Levonorgestrel)

Side effects can include feeling sick (nausea), irregular bleeding until your next period, lower abdominal pain, tiredness, headache.

Where can I get the morning after pill near me?

The easiest way to get the morning after pill is to visit your local pharmacy or to buy online from a reputable provider like us here at Webmed pharmacy.

Getting the morning after pill at your local pharmacy

You’ll be able to buy the morning after pill from a dispensing pharmacy. This is not something you can buy off the shelf.

You’ll have to answer a few questions so the pharmacist can check that you are buying the pill for the right reasons, and to check whether you need any support. This is usually done in a confidential room so you do not need to worry about being heard by anyone else. They do this all the time, so you don’t need to worry about feeling embarrassed or judged.

They will not sell the morning after pill to your partner.

If you can access a pharmacy today, this is your best option as ellaOne and Levonelle One Step are most effective the sooner they are taken after sex.

Getting the morning after pill online with next day delivery

You can buy ellaOne , Levonelle One Step and Levonorgestrel here at WebMed Pharmacy from our registered pharmacist Margaret or receive a prescription from our doctor Kate. You’ll still have to submit your medical details, but this is done via an electronic form.

And with discreet next day delivery if you order before 4pm to your home or a drop off location of your choice (not including Friday) this may be a more convenient option.


Levonelle patient leaflet:

ellaOne patient leaflet:

NHS Where can I get emergency contraception?:

Webmed Pharmacy. Morning after pill

Author: Gemma Boak

Medically reviewed by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 12/12/21 

Period delay for holiday freedom

Posted 18 June 2021 in Womens health

A sun-soaked young couple in a swimming pool on holidayPeriod delay...because we’ve all complained “I don’t want to have my period on holiday”.

There are many options for managing your period on holiday, but for some of us relying on a tampon during outdoor swimming season isn’t a comfortable option.

Add to this the rare opportunity to wear floaty white linen dresses and pastel-coloured shorts…

...and your period becomes mildly terrifying when your adventures take you too far away from the toilets.

The good news is there is an alternative. It’s been around for a long time but has picked up in popularity in recent years. Order your period delay tablets here

How period delay tablets work

Period delay tablets contain a drug called Norethisterone (also known as Primolut N). The drug has been designed to behave like the sex hormone progesterone.

The job of progesterone is to maintain a plush womb lining, ready for implantation of your baby-to-be. When progesterone levels drop, your womb lining breaks down and you get your period.

Norethisterone mimics the hormone progesterone, preventing breakdown of your womb lining. This delays your period.

When you stop taking the period delay tablets, progesterone levels drop and you’ll get your period within 2-3 days.

Period delay “pill” vs contraceptive pill

The contraceptive pill and the period delay pill are both based on sex hormones, but they are very different.

Here is the most important information you need to know about them both:

  • Norethisterone will not prevent pregnancy so you need to make sure you have effective contraception in place.
  • Women taking the combined pill for contraception have the option to take the combined pill packs “back to back” to prevent their period, so period delay medication is not needed and is not recommended.
  • Women taking the progesterone only pill cannot delay their period in the same way as women taking the combined pill, and are able to apply for the period delay tablets.

Because you cannot buy period delay medication over the counter, your doctor will advise you whether Norethisterone is a good option for you.

Here at WebMed Pharmacy we have online doctors who will assess your suitability via an online medical questionnaire at no extra cost, making this process simple, fast and affordable.

Will the period delay tablet work for my two week holiday?

Norethisterone should be taken 3 days before the start of your period. You’ll take three 5mg tablets a day for the duration of your holiday, up to a maximum of 17 days.

For a week-long holiday, a 30 pack will last you the full 7 days.

For a longer holiday, you’ll need the 60 pack.

It’s not recommended that you take this regularly. If you find you need to delay your period frequently then it’s recommended you speak to your GP to discuss longer term alternatives.

The side effects of taking period delay medication

As with all drugs, there is a risk of side effects but not everyone gets them. Potential side effects of Norethisterone are similar to the symptoms you may experience when you get your period. Things like bloating, breast swelling, breast tenderness, headaches and nausea.

I’m going on holiday in a couple of days… can I get this prescription now?!

We use DPD 24-hour discreet delivery, which means your order can be delivered to your home, place of work, the next working day, within a 1-hour allocated time slot or to one of over 5,500 pick-up shops for your convenience.

Order your period delay tablets here All you need to do is place your order and have it approved by our team of doctors before 4pm. Note that orders placed after 4pm Friday are processed Monday for delivery on Tuesday. Read more about our process here.

Author: Gemma Boak

Medically reviewed by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 18/06/21

Suffering from acne? Here’s how you can treat it and beat it.

Posted 7 June 2021 in Men's Health, Womens health

A girl in a towel squeezing spotsThe topic of acne doesn’t come up in everyday conversations that often, but when you suffer from it, it can be all-consuming and may have a lasting psychological impact.

There are acne treatments out there.

There’s no need to carry on suffering in silence.

A study showed that 54% of UK adults who experienced acne feel it affected their self-confidence[1], and 34% didn’t know what effective treatments there are for it.

The thing about acne is that while there’s no cure, you can control it with topical treatments and/or oral medication.[2]

What causes it?

It can affect you at any point, but 95% of people develop acne aged 11 to 30.[3] Whether you’re going through puberty or you’re an adult, hormone levels may be the culprit.

Acne starts when glands produce more sebum (or oil) than normal. Pore linings then become thicker and dead skin cells aren’t shed properly, causing follicles to become blocked. With a build-up of oil and bacteria, your skin becomes inflamed forming blackheads, whiteheads and/or papules (small red bumps), pustules (pus-filled spots), nodules or cysts.

Women are more likely to develop acne during adulthood - linked to periods, pregnancy or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - but genetics may also play a part.[4]

What type of acne do you have?

The type of acne you suffer from will determine the best treatment for you. And remember, acne can show up on your back or chest as well as your face.

Comedonal acne – characterised by small, non-inflamed bumps.

Mild acne – you’ll notice mainly whiteheads and/or blackheads with a few papules and pastules.

Moderate acne – you’ll notice lots of blackheads and whiteheads with many papules and pustules.

Severe acne – is characterised by lots of painful papules, pustules, nodules or cysts that can lead to scarring. If you do have severe acne, we recommend getting advice from your GP as topical treatments may not be suitable.

What’s the best acne treatment?

Once you’ve determined the type of acne you have, you can pick from one of the following treatments:

  • Differin, a cream or gel with the active ingredient adapalene is a topical retinoid for comedonal acne. It works by bringing skin turnover under control and reducing inflammation.[5]
  • EpiDuo contains adapalene and benzoyl peroxide to reduce the number of bacteria in mild acne.
  • If you have lots of pustules, then Duac, a topical antibiotic, is the best treatment for inflammatory acne.
  • For moderate acne, there’s a combination treatment of EpiDuo and the oral antibiotic Lymecycline.
Buy your acne treatment FInd out more

Unfortunately, there’s no overnight cure with these treatments - some can take up to eight weeks to begin working, while some may make your acne appear worse before making it better.

The most important thing is to buy your treatments from a trusted supplier so you know that you’re using the most effective treatment for your type of acne and have someone you trust to ask questions.

Margaret, our lead pharmacist is on hand during opening hours to give you advice and support Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Find out more

[1] Acne Support. Over half of people who have ever had acne feel it has affected their self-confidence [cited 9/04/21]

[2 ] British Skin Foundation. What is Acne? [cited 09/04/21]

[3] NHS. Overview Acne [cited 09/04/21]

[4] NHS. Acne causes [cited 09/04/21]

[5] Differin. Acne: Get to know the enemy [cited 09/04/21]

How to tackle acne at home

Posted 26 May 2021 in Men's Health, Womens health

A girl with acne on her faceBy Holly Mason, founder of the Skin Investment Clinic, taken from her Ebook ‘Eliminating acne and acne scarring: proven secrets’

Whether you’re 15, 25 or 45, acne is unpleasant. When the pores of the skin become blocked with dead skin cells, grime, dirt, oils and excess sebum it causes pus-filled bumps to appear, which we call acne. These can appear on your face, neck, chest, back, shoulders or arms. Causes of acne include shifting hormones, incorrect skincare, bacteria, inflammation from intolerances or stress, cosmetics, diet and even the wearing of facemasks to help prevent Covid-19. Acne not only affects skin, it can also hugely affect your confidence, so tackling it is important for overall wellbeing too.

Treating acne is a long-term journey which requires patience. But the good news is there are many tricks to try at home or in a clinic which can work wonders on clearing up your skin before heading to the doctor.

Use a mild cleanser

The key word here is mild. It is crucial to wash your face twice a day with a mild, water soluble cleanser to prevent redness, help the skin heal and reduce sebum production. Stay away from bars of soap or aggressive cleansers as they dry out the skin and can block pores. Coarse scrubs can also irritate the skin and make the problem worse. And remember: you can’t scrub away spots and blackheads.

Exfoliate with salicylic acid

This removes dead skin cells and stimulates healthy cell rejuvenation, both on the surface of the skin and in the pores. Salicylic acid also helps with redness and inflammation and fights spot-causing bacteria.

Fight bacteria with benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide comes in solutions ranging from 2.5% to 10% concentration which you can find over the counter at a pharmacy or chemist. Begin with a lower concentration as a lotion containing 2.5% benzoyl peroxide will be less irritating to the skin than a solution of 5% or 10% and may be just as effective.  Alternatively, speak with your trusted aesthetic practitioner or dermatologist about chemical peels such as salicylic and azelaic acid which can produce incredible results.

Protect your skin from sun damage

This cannot be emphasised enough: the skin cannot heal spots if it is also fighting sun damage. A good sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 will help spots to heal more quickly and protect the skin from further damage. I recommend using a gel cream as it will not clog pores.

Use a sebum-absorbing clay face mask regularly

It’s important to soak up excess sebum to help prevent future breakouts. I recommend using a natural clay mask which does not irritate or dry the skin too much.Make sure your skincare products do not contain irritating substances such as alcohol. They are very common in sebum-absorbing products for spots but can cause cause a dry, flaky and red skin.

Watch your diet

Good nutrition is key for your skin. As every body is different there is no definitive list of foods that cause acne, but attention can be paid to foods that cause inflammation and so are arguably best avoided. Sugar, dairy and alcohol can trigger inflammation and acne so experimenting with reducing those could help. Always talk to your doctor before changing your diet. Drinking plenty of water helps keep skin clear and taking in good levels of vitamin A, C and E can also help, so get munching on carrots, mangoes and melon. Antioxidants found in foods such as blueberries, blackberries, goji berries and cherries are great for skin, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids which you can get from animal protein, fish and eggs. Zinc, found in dark chocolate and oysters is a powerful acne-fighting nutrient, and red peppers and watermelons also contain lycopene which reduces inflammation and stimulates cell renewal.

Change your facemask daily

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic acne cases on chins, cheeks and around mouths have become more frequent due to the use of facemasks. This ‘maskne’ is caused by extra heat, friction, moisture and pressure on the face from covering the skin for long periods. This creates the ideal environment for bacteria, yeast and mites to grow while the mask blocks oil glands and hair follicles creating the perfect setting for skin irritation and spots. To avoid ‘maskne’, stay away from heavy make-up (nobody is seeing your lower face anyway), drink a lot of water, try to wear a silk mask if possible and, crucially, wear a clean mask every single day. Although it may be tempting, try to avoid abrasive face scrubs and exfoliants and instead use products that support the skin’s natural protective barrier such as hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, urea and niacinamide.

Consider clinical treatment

If at-home treatments aren’t producing the results you want, seeing an experienced aesthetic practitioner is a good next step before visiting your GP. Clinical treatments for mild acne include microdermabrasion, vacuum suction and oxygen treatment. These can all help with eliminating blackheads, reducing scarring and improving the look of the skin. For moderate or severe acne, chemical peels can work wonders. Salycylic acid or combination peels can release hardened sebum, calm blemishes, lift dark areas of scarring and exfoliate dead skin cells for a clearer complexion. Photodynamic therapy is another effective method of clearing the pores of skin debris, grime, dirt, oils and excess sebum to leave cleaner, brighter skin.

Find out more

For more information, check out the ebook from Skin Investment Clinic, ‘Eliminating acne and acne scarring: proven secrets’

Click here to view our prescription acne treatments

Group B streptococcus – one of the most common causes of life-threatening infections in newborn babies that’s NOT routinely tested for in the UK

Posted 11 May 2021 in Womens health

This month we’re raising awareness around group B strep (GBS), which is carried by 20% to 40% of women in the UK.[1]

What exactly is group B strep and can it affect anyone?

A baby wrapped in a bundleThe hard fact is that it can affect anyone.

It’s a bacteria that usually lives in your vagina or rectum and both men and women can have it. It’s normally harmless – most aren’t even aware they carry it – but it can put pregnant women and newborn babies at an increased risk.

It’s worth noting that it’s not a sexually transmitted disease.


What are the risks?

If you carry GBS then there’s a small risk you’ll pass it on to baby during labour, which can lead to serious infections like meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia.[2]

1 out of 1750 babies are diagnosed with early onset GBS, meaning that symptoms of infection will appear within 12 to 24 hours after birth.

1 out of every 2700 babies develop late onset GBS, developing an infection up to 3 months old.[3]

Every month in the UK, an average of 43 babies are diagnosed with early onset GBS: 38 will make a full recovery, three babies will survive with long-term physical and mental disabilities while two babies will unfortunately die from GBS infection.[4]

This is preventable. So why is it not routinely tested for?

The risk is only small, and most babies are born safely without developing an infection.

However, a simple at-home swab test known as an ECM (Enriched Culture Medium) can detect if you’re carrying GBS, which is best taken when you’re 35-37 weeks pregnant.

This easy-to-use test can protect your baby’s health.

Some maternity units still only use a standard test, which doesn’t detect up to half of cases, so an ECM test (the one we supply) is preferable.[5]

If you do get a positive result, try not to worry- this is easily treated. You’ll be given antibiotics during labour and your baby will be closely monitored after birth.

Taking the test

You’ll need to use two swabs – one vaginal and one rectal. Then all you need to do is fill in your details, send your samples off using the pre-paid envelope and you should receive the results within three days of the lab receiving your kit.

Margaret, our lead pharmacist is here to help you along the way, whether you have any questions before ordering, while you’re using your kit and afterwards.

Buy now You can call us on 0161 491 1899 for advice and support Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.


  1. Group B strep (strep B) and pregnancy | Tommy's (
  2. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in pregnancy and newborn babies (
  3. Group B Strep and pregnancy - Group B Strep Support (
  4. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in pregnancy and newborn babies (
  5. Group B Strep and pregnancy - Group B Strep Support (
  6. Author: Gemma Boak

    Medically reviewed by: Superintendent pharmacist Margaret Hudson BSc(Hons)MRPharmS 11/05/21

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