Trust your gut

 

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

Let’s face it – we give our tummies a hard time. When we’re not complaining about them, we’re squeezing them into skinny jeans, filling them with fast food, or trying to crunch them into nonexistence. But why is this? On the one hand, our stomachs contain powerful tools that give us energy, build our strength and, ultimately, keep us alive. Yet for some they also cause a variety of problems.

The region of the body between the ribs and the pelvis contains the digestive system, a series of organs, including the stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver and gallbladder, loosely connected by tissue that enables them to expand, shrink and move against each other. The kidneys and spleen are also located in the abdominal area.

Your digestive system processes the food we eat and breaks it down into smaller parts that our bodies can absorb: carbohydrates into sugars, proteins into amino acids, and fats into fatty acids and glycerol. This provides us with energy and enables growth and cell repair – all vital for our bodies to function. So where do the problems start? And how can we tackle them?

IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder, affecting up to 15% of people in the US. Disruption in the small and large intestines causes abdominal pain often surrounding bowel movements, leading to diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and/or flatulence.

There is no direct cure for IBS, but many people manage their symptoms by adapting their diet and lifestyle. Known to slow down or speed up digestion, anxiety and stress are key triggers of IBS. It’s therefore important to find ways to relax, particularly around mealtimes. Exercise and meditation are known to reduce stress levels, or you could try an herbal remedy like peppermint, ginger or fennel teas an hour or so before you eat.

Studies also show that probiotics may improve digestion and thus ease IBS symptoms. Many yogurts have added probiotics or you could try a supplement like Culturelle or PB8 to help get things moving. Alternatively, some find IBS remedies like Colpermin or digestive enzymes can be useful or you can speak to your GP or pharmacist.

Bloating

Around one in ten people experience bloating, whether or not they have other IBS symptoms. We all know an overly large meal can make us bloat – one high in fat can have the same effect, as fats take longer to digest and keep the stomach full for longer. Eating too fast also cause your abdomen to swell. Limit your fats and take your time when eating to help reduce your symptoms. You could also try Beano, Gas-X or digestive enzymes to smooth things along.

Bloating can also be caused by gas in the digestive system – half of which is simply swallowed air building up in the intestines. Again, eating slowly can help as it reduces the amount of air you ingest. Avoid drinking from a straw and aim for still rather than fizzy drinks to further lower the levels of gas blocking things up.

Acid reflux

We all know that feeling – you’ve just finished a great meal, but your chest is starting to burn. This is due to acid reflux, when the acid formed in the stomach through digestion begins to travel upwards towards the chest. This can also leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Many things can cause acid reflux, from certain foods and drinks like coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, and fatty or spicy foods, to smoking, stress and/or pregnancy. Antacids like Tums or Gaviscon are the quickest way to relieve your symptoms – aim to take them with your meal or soon after. Stronger acid reducers like Omeprazole or Famotidine can also be helpful. Longer term, quitting smoking, easing your stress and/or avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms are the best ways to avoid the dreaded heat.

No one’s stomach always feels comfortable – there are too many complex processes at work. The simplest ways to ease your digestion are to eat healthy meals, exercise as much as you can, and speak to your pharmacist if you need some extra assistance.

If you’re experiencing significant pain and discomfort, always speak to your GP.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

The most wonderful time of the year

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, something most of us accomplish very well! But this indulgent period is often followed by hangovers, weight gain and low mood that lasts long past the festivities. However – what if I told you there are ways to keep your health in check whilst also revelling in the party season?

No one wants to trade in their Christmas dinner for a leafy salad, but there are little changes you can make to maintain balance, and start the new year feeling good.

Before

Starting the festive season in prime health is one of the best ways to make sure your body bounces back afterwards. In the weeks leading up, pack in the fruit and vegetables to boost your vitamin levels and get a good night’s sleep as often as possible – this will build your immune system and prep you for the coming party time.

The day of an evening gathering or celebration, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and eat regular balanced meals. Don’t be tempted to skip food to make up for the upcoming alcohol calories – you’ll miss out on key nutrients, and be likely to eat more unhealthy food at the event itself. An empty stomach also makes you more vulnerable to alcohol’s effects, taking you from merrily tipsy to cringeworthy drunkenness.

This is also a good time to check in with your mental health. Do you really want to go to that party? It’s normal to feel a sense of obligation around the holidays, but try to prioritise the activities which make you feel good and don’t be afraid to turn down those unwanted invitations. In a week or two, no one will even remember who attended what.

During

At the party, the key thing is to keep things in proportion. Help yourself to food and drink, but move away from the buffet when you’re done to prevent mindless grazing. Try to limit the booze to one drink per hour and alternate with soft drinks to keep your body hydrated. By keeping track of your drinks, you’re far less likely to have one too many – and feel the consequences the next day.

While large feasts are a staple of the season, heartburn and lethargy certainly shouldn’t be. Try to eat slowly and mindfully, savouring each bite and stopping when you’re no longer hungry – rather than when you’re full. Balance your plate with Christmas vegetables and try a short walk after dinner to keep your digestion running smoothly.

After

Ah, the dreaded morning after.

If you can stomach a cooked breakfast, reach for mushrooms – full of energy-giving B vitamins – tomatoes for their immune-boosting Vitamin C, spinach for its DNA-repairing folate, chilli or cayenne pepper to get your blood flowing, and onions, which soothe your liver with their sulphur compounds. Smoothies are also a great way to kickstart your body after a big night – pack yours with potassium-rich fruits like banana or orange to replenish the electrolytes lost through your alcohol intake.

We all love leftovers, but if they’re not safe – don’t do it! December sees a peak in food poisoning as people pick at food that’s been left out. Make sure you’re only reaching for food that’s freshly cooked or straight from the fridge.

Still feeling rough?

Even with the best intentions, we can all fall foul to festive temptation. Luckily, your friendly pharmacy is here to help. Eaten too much? Try Tums, Omeprazole or Famotidine to beat indigestion and heartburn. Hangover from hell? Reach for a rehydration sachet like Nuun, Emergen-C or Berocca to boost your electrolytes, and a stomach-friendly painkiller like Tylenol or Alka-Seltzer Gold if that head just won’t stop banging.

Vitamins B and C are particularly important during holiday festivity – try Berocca and B-Complex+C to keep your levels nicely topped up – and why not treat yourself to a quick face mask like Aveeno Oat Mask Detox or St. Ives Fresh Skin or Energizing Scrub to boost morale after one party too many.

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy our favourite traditions. But with these few little tweaks, you can also avoid the January slump. If you are feeling unwell or in need of medical attention, always seek advice from your GP or pharmacist.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

Your first line of defence

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

It’s that time of year again, when everyone’s blowing their nose or got a tickle in their throat. Just as the dreaded pandemic is starting to ease, bugs like the common cold are back with a vengeance. Luckily, we have our immune systems to help us weather the storm. But what is the immune system? And how can we best support it?   

What is the immune system?

The immune system is our body’s complex network of organs, cells and chemicals that work together to try to keep out germs and fight the ones that do get in.

It is made of two types of system that work together to keep you healthy: the innate immune system which we are born with, and the adaptive immune system develops as and when you are exposed to germs. The main parts of the immune system include white blood cells, antibodies, the lymphatic system and the bone marrow.

How does it work?

As we go about our lives, our bodies come into contact with all sorts of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These can enter the body through our skin, by breathing in liquid droplets from others’ sneezes or coughs, sexual intercourse, blood from a needle or insect, or ingesting contaminated food and water.

The immune system senses the invading microbes and immediately responds by releasing special cells which travel towards the danger and attack it. Once the microbe is defeated, your system will memorise it using special types of white blood cells (B- and T-lymphocytes) so that it can recognise and destroy the microbes quickly should they ever return. This is why you often bounce back easily from viruses you’ve already had, like chicken pox.

Other parts of the immune system act preventatively. Mucus in your nasal passages and digestive system contains enzymes ready to fight and kill unwanted bacteria should it occur.  Similarly, the lymphatic system is made up of fine tubes which collect fluid called lymph from tissues that picks up and filters out waste and germs.

How can we take care of it?

A highly complex system, your immune response requires balance and harmony to function at its best. As with all elements of your body, it works most effectively when supported by a healthy lifestyle.

A varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables is key. Citrus fruits and bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, which builds your immune system by increasing your production of white blood cells. Crammed with vitamins A, C, and E alongside a wealth of minerals and antioxidants, broccoli is also a great addition to your plate, while garlic and ginger have been used since ancient times to help fight infection.

On the other hand, bad habits like smoking can significantly harm your immune system, making you far more susceptible to infections like pneumonia and flu. Stress can also weaken your immune response, as the stress hormone corticosteroid lowers the number of white blood cells ready to fight foreign bodies.

How can your pharmacy help?

As temperatures drop and we spend more time indoors, you might find yourself battling the bugs – but that is where we can help.

For colds and flu symptoms, try Otrivine, Vicks First Defence, XClear or Afrin to ease congestion and Chloraseptic Spray or lozenges and Strepsils are great for a sore throat. If your little ones are suffering, Hyland’s or Zarbee’s syrups will help them return to their lively selves,

If you’re worried your diet might not providing the nutrients your immune system needs, try a multi-vitamin like Centrum, Smarty Pants or Olly products and speak to your pharmacist about quick and easy ways to boost your diet. We can also advise on smoking cessation products like Nicorette or Nicotinell available as gum, lozenges, patches, or spray – you won’t believe how quickly your bodily functions improve once rid of the harmful effects of cigarettes.

Your GP and pharmacist are here to help all year round, so if you’re concerned about your health, do come to see us.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Feeling a bit SAD?

Light therapy is widely believed to help lessen SAD symptoms.

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

There’s much to enjoy this time of year; the kids are back at school, evenings are cool and crisp, and the holidays are on their way. However, the change in season can also cause feelings of sadness and, for some, serious symptoms of depression. But why does this happen? And what can we do to tackle it?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is when depression and related symptoms occur in a seasonal pattern – in most cases during fall and winter. While research is ongoing, it’s believed that the reduction in sunlight at this time of year can stop the hypothalamus in the brain from working effectively. This can increase the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy; reduce levels of serotonin, which regulates your mood, and disrupt the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), upsetting your appetite and sleeping patterns.

Symptoms are similar to those of non-seasonal depression. Sadness, low mood, and feelings of guilt or hopelessness are common, and some people lose the desire to spend time with others or engage in physical contact. Many experience a lack of energy and sleep far more or less than usual, while others report an increase in appetite, particularly with regard to snacks and carbohydrates. Those with severe SAD may have suicidal thoughts.

As with other mental health difficulties, the first port of call is your GP, who will assess your mental health and suggest possible treatment. For milder SAD symptoms, they may suggest simple lifestyle changes, such as spending more time outside to increase your exposure to sunlight. Exercise is also a very effective way of improving your mood, energy levels and sleep while, if outdoors, boosting your time in the daylight.

Though more research is needed, light therapy is widely believed to help lessen SAD symptoms. A special lamp called a lightbox or SAD lamp is used to simulate exposure to sunlight, supporting your brain to produce more normal levels of serotonin, and reducing the production of melatonin. Some people use their lamp in the morning to simulate an early rising sun, while others turn them on in the evening to elongate their experience of ‘daylight’.

Light therapy can be used alongside other therapies to ease SAD. Talking therapies like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are sometimes recommended to alleviate negative thought patterns. Your GP may also recommend antidepressants such as SSRIs to regulate your mood during the darker months.

The pharmacy can also help with milder cases of SAD. In times of less sunlight, a Vitamin D supplement like those made by Nature’s Bounty, Solgar or Now is often recommended to support your mood and maintain healthy brain and nerve health. St John’s Wort products like Nature’s Bounty St. John’s Wort and Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, flaxseed, flax oil, walnuts, and supplements like Solgar Omega-3 (from Salmon Oil), Nature’s Truth Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil are also considered effective remedies for low mood.

The fall is also a good time to boost your eight B vitamins which work together to manage key bodily functions – including regulating stress levels. Try a combined supplement like     Z-Bec, Berocca or B-Complex +C or a Vitamin B12 supplement like Sundown B-12 which is available as a liquid and sublingual tablet, or Nature’s Bounty Vitamin B Energy Gummies for depression or anxiety symptoms – especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many also find Magnesium supplements like Calm powder or capsules, Bioglan magnesium powder, and Sundown Magnesium tablets reduce feelings of anxiety.

If you think you may be affected by SAD, do speak to your GP or pharmacist. There are many ways to help improve your mood and see you through to next summer. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts please contact your GP, emergency services or dial 911 immediately.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

Manage your prescription refills

These days, no one wants to wait in line to refill a prescription at the pharmacy counter. At Lindo’s, we make it easier than ever to manage your prescriptions.

ACCESS YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS, CHECK THE STATUS, AND REQUEST REFILLS ONLINE:

Simply visit our online website portal to register (or sign in if you already have an account), or download our App from either the AppStore or Google Play to manage from your smartphone.

Download our Apps

CALL AHEAD:

Alternatively, you can always call ahead to make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date and available before you make a trip to the pharmacy. Our friendly pharmacists will be able to tell you quickly whether your prescription has expired, your refill status, etc.

Devonshire Pharmacy call: 441.236.7732 / Warwick Pharmacy call: 441.236.0010

Can CBD oil help calm your mind?

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

Of all the pharmaceutical developments over the past years, few have been more controversial – or misunderstood – than CBD. Though originating in the same marijuana plant as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive drug more commonly known as ‘weed’ – CBD is a different chemical compound, without the intoxicating, potentially dangerous effects of THC.

Used in a wide range of products like drinks, gummies and even skincare, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is found in both hemp plants and the cannabis plant Cannabis sativa. While it doesn’t give the ‘high’ associated with THC, it can provoke a relaxing response that soothes anxiety, stress and even pain.

The research is still in early stages, but many scientists believe that CBD oil can impact receptors in the brain. Receptors are proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical messages to help you respond to stimuli. CBD is thought to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for your mood, easing symptoms of stress, worry and social anxiety. Some people find it helps with related conditions like depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), while many find its relaxing effects improve their sleep.

CBD is also thought to improve the skin. When ingested, CBD impacts receptors in the body’s immune system, potentially reducing inflammation in the body which, in turn, can help prevent acne on both the body and face. CBD is found in a variety of topical skincare products too. Some studies say it can reduce sebum, the skin’s natural oil which, in high quantities, can cause acne. CBD is also packed with antioxidants which counteract free-radical damage and reduce both inflammation and signs of ageing – making it a fast-rising ingredient in the skin care industry.

So – where to start? CBD is available in a wide range of products so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. If you’re keen to ease your stress or get a better night’s sleep (aren’t we all?), try a drop or two of CBD oil like Reliva Tincture – Mint or Upstate Elevator Company’s CBD extracts in lemon or peppermint under your tongue for about 30 seconds to a minute. Start with a low dose of 250mg and build your way up as required.

If you prefer something sweet, Upstate Elevator Company’s 10mg Mixed Fruit CBD Gummies are a delicious way to incorporate CBD into your day. Or many enjoy one of their fizzy drinks, available in a wide range of flavours from Raspberry Hibiscus Lime Seltzer to African Ginger and Mexican Lime Soda, as a healthier alternative to that evening glass of wine. 

For those with sore muscles, try applying Reliva Cream, a CBD-infused body cream that soothes and cools muscle ache. Those keen to boost their antioxidant defence can try USA Hemp’s Antioxidant Crème; jam-packed with CBD, organic avocado, jojoba, rosehip, carrot, and organic neem oil to keep those free radicals at bay and preserve your skin’s radiance.

You may see reports that CBD can be used to treat more complex physical issues including epilepsy, arthritis, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s important to note that if you’re managing a serious condition or symptoms, always consult your GP or pharmacist before trying CBD.

If you do take CBD and experience unpleasant side effects like diarrhoea, fatigue or a change in appetite, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.