Experiencing PMS? Your pharmacist can help

More than 150 symptoms are associated with premenstrual syndrome: the number and type vary from person to person, and often from month to month. It’s difficult to diagnose PMS because in hinges on timing, with symptoms usually occurring during the same phase of the menstrual cycle, from one to 14 days before menstruation.

Unfortunately there is no lab test to help with a clear diagnosis, but the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome suggests that a chat with your sympathetic pharmacist or GP can prove helpful.

For women who want to take a more pro-active approach, then it’s worth knowing that a healthier lifestyle, improved nutrition and regular exercise may relieve mild to moderate PMS. Complementary medicines, such as agnus castus 20-40 mg a day, red clover isoflavones 40-80 mg a day, or St John’s wort may also help. But some complementary medicines can conflict with other medicines, so make sure you get advice from your pharmacist first.

More information is available on the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome website

The c-card scheme. Free condoms for young people.

The Family Planning Association estimates treatment of sexually transmitted infections such chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis cost the NHS approximately £620 million in 2014….

Be safe. Be sure. Carry a condom.

…which might be why the health watchdog NICE is urging local councils to increase the availability of condoms to people most at risk of sexually transmitted infections. Condom distribution schemes are a cheap and effective way to tackle rising STI rates.

Approximately 435,000 sexually transmitted infections were diagnosed in England in 2015, including 200,000 cases of chlamydia. Whilst chlamydia rates have fallen, rates of syphilis and gonorrhoea have risen by 76% and 53% respectively between 2012 and 2015.

Condom schemes for young people up to age 25 that include advice, support and information are available through many pharmacies, so check out your local pharmacy if you are not sure.

The most common scheme for young people in the England is the C-card scheme, where young people are given cards for their wallets, like an organ donor card, entitling them to free condoms.

Education on the cards for adults with diabetes

If you have diabetes you could end up going back to the classroom. Health watchdog NICE has recommended that adults with type 1 diabetes should be offered education classes to help them manage their condition.

Do you need educating about Type 1 diabetes?

The classes should be offered when patients are diagnosed and cover diet advice, weight loss for adults who are overweight, exercise and information about medicines.

Adults with type 1 diabetes should also have structured education between 6 months and year after diagnosis once they have an agreed treatment regime. These classes should cover checking blood glucose levels, using insulin and advice about having a healthy lifestyle.

Of all adults with diabetes, 10% have type 1 and they have to take insulin, so getting the right balance in their treatment routine to suit their individual circumstances and daily life can take a while.

Around 3.5 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes. The condition is complex and has a large impact on people’s lives. Helping people to understand and self-manage their diabetes is vital.

If you can’t wait for the classroom education, you can always ask your pharmacist for advice.