Medicines and Breastfeeding

Medicines and Breastfeeding 5 things you need to know about medicines and breastfeeding

Breast is best. However if you are breastfeeding, ask our pharmacists at Fresh Therapeutics before you take a medicine (prescription or over the counter), natural remedy or complementary medicine as:

1. Some medicines can reduce milk flow or production

2. Many medicines pass from mother’s bloodstream into milk supply but usually in amounts too small to be harmful to baby

3. Some medicines that pass into breast milk can affect baby and some can be harmful to baby

4. Some herbal remedies, natural products and complementary medicines can pass into breast milk and affect baby

5. Medicines in creams on the breast may be ingested by baby

For more advice and information see us in-store, check out the full article about medicines and breastfeeding below.


MEDICINES AND BREASTFEEDING – WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. It is celebrated every year around the world to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies worldwide. This year’s theme is ‘Sustaining breastfeeding together’. This theme focusses on working together for the common good.

Australian statistics from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that although most babies (96%) in Australia were initially breastfed, only 39% of babies were exclusively breastfed to 3 months, and only 15% were breastfed to 5 months.

‘Exclusive breastfeeding’ means the child receives only breast milk (including expressed milk) and no other fluids, food or water (with the exception of vitamins, minerals and medicines where necessary). The National Health and Medical Research Council’s Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until 6 months of age, with combined complementary food and breastfeeding until 12 months of age. Breastfeeding provides health benefits for both breastfed babies and breastfeeding mothers.

Let’s consider taking medicines when breastfeeding.

Medicines can be defined as either prescription (only available with a prescription from a healthcare professional such as a doctor), over-the-counter (available without a prescription, often from a pharmacy) and complementary (e.g. herbal, natural and alternative medicines). Most medicines pass into breast milk but usually only in very small quantities. These quantities are generally too small to be harmful to the baby.

Many women will take some kind of medicine when breastfeeding. Some breastfeeding mothers may need to take medicine regularly to treat a medical condition. Others may take medicine occasionally when required to treat a sudden, limiting condition such as a headache, cough or cold. It is important when using any medicine while breastfeeding to consider the benefits to the mother compared with any risk it may pose to the baby. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.

Before taking any medicines, ask the pharmacist if they are safe to take while breastfeeding and confirm the correct dose. Check the active ingredients as the type and strength may differ between brands and you do not want to take more than is required. If you are unsure, always check with the pharmacist. Medicines such as simple pain relievers (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) are safe to take by breastfeeding mothers in the lowest recommended dose.

Many cough and cold medicines contain a combination of ingredients to treat the symptoms of coughs and colds. Some of the active ingredients in these preparations may interfere with the mother’s ability to make milk (e.g. oral decongestants), or cause side effects in your baby (e.g. codeine, sedating antihistamines, or oral decongestants). Avoid cough and cold preparations that contain a combination of ingredients when breastfeeding. Instead, if needed, it is sometimes safer to use cough and cold preparations with only one active ingredient to treat a specific symptom of your cold. Other ways of relieving cough and cold symptoms that do not require taking medicines include resting, drinking plenty of water, gargling warm, salty water or drinking honey and lemon drinks to soothe the throat.

Some medicines should not be taken when breastfeeding. Chemotherapy agents (drugs for cancer), ergotamine derivatives (e.g. bromocriptine), gold salts, iodine, amiodarone (used for heart rhythm problems), radiopharmaceuticals (for nuclear medicine scans), and illegal or street drugs should not be taken when breastfeeding.

At Fresh Therapeutics we provide you with advice about taking medicines when breastfeeding. We subscribe to the Royal Womens’ Hospital Pregnancy and Beastfeeding Medicines Guide. We may be able to suggest alternative ways of helping relieve troublesome symptoms such as using a nasal spray rather than taking a tablet. Always make your doctor and pharmacist aware that you are breastfeeding if you are being prescribed or taking medicines.

We also have more detailed information on medicines and breastfeeding in the Pharmaceuticals Society’s Self Care Fact Card Medicines and breastfeeding available at Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies.

Remember: always talk to a pharmacist, doctor, or other health professional before taking any medicine when breastfeeding and take the exact dose prescribed.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Health Column


Get your freebies! Fresh Therapeutics is a collection point for both: Mother To Be Bounty Bags + New Mother Bounty Bags while stocks last.

Fresh Therapeutics has mother and baby services including Baby Weighing ServiceBreast Pump AdviceMedicines and Breastfeeding Advice. At both locations, we offer specialised compounding services for babies or children that have difficulty swallowing or tolerating a manufactured medicine. We work with you and your doctor to customise a medicine to meet the individual needs of your child – it may be sugar-free, alcohol-free, preservative free, colour or dye free or simply, easier to take.

Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week, which this year runs from 7 to 13 August, is the Australian Dental Association’s major annual oral health promotion event. It aims to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health in every aspect of their lives.

Dental Health Week has three main objectives:

  •         Promote oral health education and awareness in the general community.
  •         Motivate and educate dental professionals to promote oral health.
  •         Encourage ongoing collaboration within the dental profession.

This year, the theme of Dental Health Week is ‘oral health for busy lives’. This week aims to help people understand and appreciate that regardless of their individual life circumstances and how busy they are, caring for teeth and gums can be done. Care for teeth and gums may be seen as optional and something extra to do, and can be forgotten if more urgent tasks arise. However, caring for teeth and gums is vital. This week, the Australian Dental Association encourages people to take time to brush and floss their teeth properly, and to make booking an appointment with your dentist a priority.

Many people think that it’s perfectly normal for their gums to bleed when they brush or floss. But, of course, it’s not. Bleeding is usually a sign that something untoward has happened to your body. Bleeding gums are a sign that your gums are inflamed due to disease-causing bacteria. Ignoring bleeding which results from brushing and flossing means you stand a real risk of developing a serious form of gum disease.

The two main stages of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease that occurs when dental plaque (the bacterial film that covers the surfaces of your mouth) builds up on your teeth, particularly where the gum and tooth meet. When this happens, your gums may appear red, swollen, feel extra sensitive, and bleed easily. Fortunately, gingivitis doesn’t lead to a loss of the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and can be reversed with twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist.

Ignoring the bleeding caused by gingivitis could lead to the more serious form of gum disease periodontitis. The reason this disease is so serious is that it causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, forming spaces (known as ‘pockets’) that can easily become infected. Naturally your body’s immune system fights the infection, but this response and the bacterial toxins generated by the infection combine to create a toxic brew that breaks down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place and, in severe cases, can lead to their removal.

In addition to plaque, which is largely responsible for the development of gum disease, the health of your gums can also be affected by:

  •         smoking and tobacco use
  •         genetic predisposition
  •         systemic diseases like diabetes and arthritis
  •         stress and poor nutrition
  •         hormonal fluctuations (e.g. those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause).

Dental Health Week is the perfect time to think about to how you brush your teeth. Most people do not think much about how they brush their teeth, apart from squirting on some toothpaste and scrubbing back and forth. But as your dentist will tell you, how you brush your teeth matters a great deal. That’s because brushing plays a critical role in removing the plaque that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. You’ve probably heard that message a thousand times, but there’s a good chance you’re not brushing correctly or as frequently as you should. How often you brush, how long you brush for, the kind of technique and toothbrush you use all have a major impact on the effectiveness of your brushing. For example, did you know that you should be brushing for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day? Most people don’t come close to brushing for that long and often brush their teeth quickly and distractedly, in the middle of many other pressing tasks. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions on proper brushing technique, or if you are unsure about the best toothbrush for you.

Some medicines have side effects such as dry mouth that can affect oral health. As medicine experts our pharmacists can provide advice on how to manage these side effects. At Fresh Therapeutics we stock products to help people living with dental and oral hygiene issues, and we provide advice on these products. We also compound specialised mouthwashes prescribed by doctors and dentists.

In addition, as a member of the  Pharmaceutical  Society of Australia Self Care Program we have Fact Cards available that include titles such as Dry mouth, Mouth ulcers, Oral health and Menopause.

Come to Fresh Therapeutics for more advice and service about preventing tooth and gum disease.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Health Column

 

Food Additive Allergies

Compounding for Food and Food Additive Allergies

compounding for food - food allergiesAustralia has one of the highest reported incidences of food allergies in the world, and the numbers are growing at an alarming rate with one in 10 babies born in Australia today forecast to develop a food allergy. Food allergy is an allergic response to particular foods or food additives. Food intolerance occurs when the body has a chemical reaction to eating a particular food or drink. Unlike food allergies, intolerances do not involve the body’s immune system. Food intolerance symptoms include headaches, bloating, wind, nausea, mouth ulcers or hives, and can occur several hours after a food is eaten.

An allergic reaction can quickly become life threatening and people can die from food allergy. It’s up to all of us to be allergy aware – to know how to minimise the risk of a reaction, to know what to do if a reaction happens, and to understand and support family, friends and colleagues living with food allergies.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is a charitable, not for profit organisation whose aim is to improve awareness of allergy in the Australian community. They do this by sharing current information, education, advocacy, research, guidance and support.

The signs and symptoms of a food allergic reaction may occur almost immediately after eating or most often within 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating. Rapid onset and development of potentially life threatening symptoms are characteristic markers of anaphylaxis.

Allergic symptoms may initially appear mild or moderate but can progress very quickly. The most dangerous allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) involve the respiratory system (breathing) and/or cardiovascular system (heart and blood pressure).

Common signs and symptoms of food allergy:

  • ·         hives, welts or body redness
  • ·         difficult and/or noisy breathing
  • ·         swelling of the face, lips, eyes, throat or tongue
  • ·         vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea
  • ·         tingling of the mouth
  • ·         difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • ·         wheeze or persistent cough
  • ·         persistent dizziness and/or collapse

Removing allergens from the house makes life much easier for the allergy sufferer; however this isn’t always possible, particularly if the allergen is egg or milk, often staple, healthy foods for most of the family. Always read food labels on purchasing foods and then again when about to eat them.

If you do have the allergen in your home, try these tips:

  • Wash contaminated kitchen utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.
  • Use disposable paper towelling to wipe surfaces where the allergen has been used to avoid contaminating your everyday sponge or dishcloth.
  • If egg allergic, use a sealed labelled container in the fridge to contain foods like mayonnaise, eggs, Pavlova, leftover quiche, or muffins.
  • Use a labelled basket in the fridge and/or pantry for foods that are safe for the person with a particular food allergy to eat. Place it on the top shelf of the fridge so other foods cannot spill into it.
  • Use separate oil for cooking food for the person with a food allergy.

Your doctor may recommend you carry an injectable dose of adrenaline with you at all times. Adrenaline is used in severe reactions and can be a life-saving measure. Adrenaline is available for eligible patients on the PBS and can also be bought over the counter after a pharmacist consultation.

The risk of developing food allergies is greater if you have a family history of allergic conditions. If you or your partner has an allergy, your child has a 30 per cent chance of inheriting the allergic gene and therefore could develop eczema, asthma, hay fever or a food allergy. If both parents have a history of some allergic condition, your child has a 40 to 60 per cent chance of having a child with some form of allergy.

Some medicines contain preservatives or food additives for colouring or flavouring that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Ask your pharmacist if a medicine contain a preservative or additive that may upset you. If you need a medicine that has an additive that causes a problem we can compound the medicine into a different formulation without the allergen.  Ask your doctor to contact Fresh Therapeutics to discuss the best formulation for you.

It is important to speak to a health professional about any concerns you may have. If you or someone you care for has a reaction to any food, seek medical advice. If you are worried about a serious reaction, call an ambulance or go directly to hospital.

Diabetes – Are You at Risk?

diabetes - are you at riskAt Fresh Therapeutics our trained pharmacists support people with Diabetes Type I or Type II and help people recognise their risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Diabetes is recognised as the world’s fastest growing chronic condition. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing in each country. In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas estimated that:

  •         one in 11 adults has diabetes (415 million)
  •         one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes
  •         three-quarters (75%) of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries
  •         542,000 children have type 1 diabetes
  •         every six seconds a person dies from diabetes (5 million deaths).

Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and also the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system. In Australia, 280 people develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes. More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year. The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia is estimated at $14.6 billion.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood. This happens if the body is not producing insulin or if insulin is not working properly. Glucose is a particular type of sugar – it is needed to provide energy for the body. Insulin is required to enable glucose to enter the body’s cells and be converted to energy. Insulin also allows glucose to be stored in muscle, the liver, and other tissues.

There are a number of different types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas does not produce insulin. This type represents 10–15% of all cases of diabetes and is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in developed nations. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented.

Most people with diabetes (85-90% of cases), have type 2 diabetes. They still produce insulin but it does not work as well or the pancreas does not make enough insulin. It usually affects mature adults, but younger people, even children, are now getting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who have low levels of physical activity or are overweight or obese, but it also occurs in people who have a family history of diabetes and people with other risk factors (e.g. increasing age or poor diet).

Less well known is gestational diabetes – a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy and mostly disappears after the birth. This type may be caused by the woman’s body not being able to make enough insulin or not being able to use it correctly during pregnancy. It is usually found by having a blood test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A balanced diet and regular physical activity are key elements of preventing and managing diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the chance of getting diabetes. While the underlying causes of obesity are complex, the resulting problems are well known; type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, osteoarthritis and sleep apnoea are some of these problems.

It is important to take a balanced view with regard to nutrition, drawing on a range of foods rather than focusing on single nutrients as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. No single food is responsible for weight gain

Visit Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies to learn more about diabetes and how it can be managed. If you have any of the risk factors for diabetes such as excess weight or smoking, now is the perfect time to ask our pharmacists about lifestyle changes.

At Fresh Therapeutics we offer a range of resources and support for diabetes including:

  •         diabetes screening tests with referrals to your doctor
  •         diabetes management services including monitoring of blood glucose levels, weight and diabetes medicines
  •         advice on diabetes medicines
  •         review of diabetes medicines
  •         weight management services
  •         blood glucose monitoring devices
  •         supply of blood glucose test strips as part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme
  •         quit smoking products and services
  •         health information including Self Care Fact Cards.

You can also purchase a range of products stocked by the Diabetes NSW shop at Fresh Therapeutics Broadway including:

  •         blood glucose monitors (Roche GuideÒ, PerformaÒ, Dario Smart MeterÒ, Abbott FreestyleÒ, Bayer Contour NextÒ
  •         blood glucose and ketone strips (Roche Accu-chekÒ, Freestyle Optium Ò, DarioÒ, OneTouch VarioÒ, Bayer ContourÒ, TRUEtrakÒ, CareSenseÒ)
  •         a range of sharps collection containers
  •         Lancets and Lancing devices (FastclixÒ SoftclixÒ, MulticlixÒ, CarelanceÒ,
  •         Diabetes Travel Packs (FrioÒ, MedactivÒ, Diabet-EzyÒ)
  •         Hypo treatments (GlucodinÒ,TrueplusÒ)
  •         Diaries and Test wipes (WebcolÒ Novo DiaryÒ)
  •         Needles (NovoÒ, BDÒ,  and Pens (Sanofi ClikSTARÒ, Lily Huma PenÒ, NovoPenÒ
  •         Medical Identification
  •         Skin care (Eulactol GoldÒ Heel Balm, EpadermÒ, EgoÒ, AveeniÒ)
  •         Blood Pressure Monitors (OmronÒ, MicrolifeÒ)

You can join Diabetes Australia at Fresh Therapeutics.  We provide the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care Fact Cards include Blood glucose monitoring, Diabetes type 1, Diabetes type 2, and Weight and health as well information about how to engage with the NSW Health Get Healthy service.

sleeping

Sleep Problems

Everyone’s need for sleep varies. The amount of sleep we need depends on our age, lifestyle, diet, personality and environment. Generally, we sleep less as we get older and our sleep tends to be more broken. Newborn babies tend to sleep for around 16 hours out of every 24, while adults average eight hours and the elderly sleep a little less.

Sometimes it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might be finding it hard to go to sleep, be restless during sleep, or waking up during the night or very early in the morning, and not be able to get back to sleep. Perhaps you are not feeling refreshed from sleep, feeling tired, irritable, anxious or depressed, or finding it difficult to concentrate, remember things and make decisions. These may be all signs that you have a sleeping problem.

Common sleep problems include:

  •         insomnia – difficulty getting to or staying asleep, or not feeling refreshed after sleep
  •         sleep apnoea – a condition that causes breathing to stop for short periods of time while sleeping
  •         restless legs – a condition that causes discomfort in the lower legs and improves with movement
  •         sleep behaviour disorders – such as sleep walking and night terrors.

Insomnia is the most common sleep problem. It requires assessment to determine whether the cause can be identified and treated. Other sleeping problems, like sleep apnoea, may require treatment at a sleep disorder clinic. Snoring may be harmless or it can be a sign of an underlying condition such as obstructive sleep apnoea. If you are concerned, worried or anxious about your sleep health, talk to your doctor or local pharmacist. Sleeping problems should be investigated.

Insomnia can be caused or worsened by a number of factors. Some environmental factors that may cause or worsen insomnia include sleeping in a room that is noisy or too brightly lit, sleeping in an uncomfortable bed, or feeling too hot or too cold. Sleep can be improved by sleeping in a darkened, quiet room with plenty of fresh air, using clean bedding that is suitable for the weather, and using a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillow. Avoid using electronic devices, such as mobile phones and computers immediately before sleeping, as they can affect the body’s ability to relax before sleep. Pain or discomfort can also cause insomnia and should be investigated.

Read more on the article here: http://www.awakeningshealth.org/sleep-problems/
fresh therapeutics red eyes

Red Eyes and Dry Eyes

It is often said that eyes are the windows to a person’s soul but they are also our window onto the world. However, every year 10,000 Australians go blind and around 200,000 Australians have vision impairment that cannot be corrected by spectacles. Every 65 minutes an Australian loses part or all of their vision. Maintaining good eye health should be a priority for all.

Every year, for the month of July, The Eye Surgeons’ Foundation (the fundraising arm of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists and The Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia) runs JulEYE – the Foundation’s national eye health awareness month.

JulEYE aims to raise community awareness of eye health issues, as well as raise funds for research projects into the causes and cures of vision impairment and blindness. The campaign also supports international and domestic development projects whose goals are aligned with those of The Eye Surgeons’ Foundation.

Red eyes and dry eyes are common eye problems. Redness and dryness are symptoms of many eye conditions. Some of these conditions are not serious, but others are serious and may affect eyesight.

Resource: http://cea-nsw.com.au/red-eyes-dry-eyes/

High Blood Pressure

Fresh Therapeutics Blog - High blood pressure (hypertension)Everyone has blood pressure. It is the pressure of blood against the walls of your blood vessels (or arteries) as the heart pumps blood around your body. Your blood pressure will increase and decrease depending on what you are doing. When you are exercising, nervous or stressed your blood pressure will increase and it will decrease when you are sitting or sleeping. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal even at resting state (also known as hypertension).

According to Australian Health Survey, in 2011-12, almost one-third of all adult Australians had hypertension. Of these, almost half (48.8%) self-reported having a current and long-term heart or circulatory condition. Men were more likely to have hypertension than women. Hypertension was significantly more prevalent at older ages, with almost 9 in 10 people aged 85 years and over having hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Your blood pressure is recorded as two figures, for example 120 over 80 (120/80). The top number is the pressure in the arteries when the heart squeezes blood out during each beat. The lower number is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between each heartbeat. It is best to measure blood pressure when you are relaxed, and sitting or lying down. Readings over 120/80 mmHg and up to 139/89 mmHg are in the normal to high normal range.

  • A blood pressure reading under 120/80 mmHg is considered optimal.
  • Readings over 120/80 mmHg and up to 139/89 mmHg are in the normal to high normal range.
  • High blood pressure is greater than 140/90 mmHg and if you have blood pressure above 180/110 mmHg, your blood pressure is very high.

High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your chance of developing heart disease, a stroke, blood vessel disease, damage to the retina of the eye, kidney disease and/or other serious conditions. Generally, the higher the blood pressure the greater the health risks. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly, because you may have no symptoms or signs of high blood pressure but still have hypertension.

Your blood pressure may be strongly influenced by:

  • family history
  • eating patterns
  • alcohol intake
  • weight
  • physical activity.

Some medicines can also raise blood pressure (talk to your pharmacist).

Treatment for hypertension often includes lifestyle changes. These changes may include losing weight (if overweight), regular physical activity, a healthy diet, cutting back if you drink a lot of alcohol, discontinuing smoking, a low-salt diet and reduced caffeine intake. If needed, there are medicines which can lower blood pressure.

It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by a health professional, such as a pharmacist. If you want to ‘know your numbers’ visit your local pharmacy, your health destination.

At Fresh Therapeutics we can take your blood pressure by means of easy-to-use, painless blood pressure machines.  We use blood pressure machines that can also detect Atrial Fibrillation. People with atrial fibrillation have a higher risk of stroke. At Fresh Therapeutics we sit down with you to explain your readings, offer advice on how to lower and maintain lower blood pressure and refer you to a doctor if further testing is required.

We also have more detailed information on hypertension and health advice in Self Care Fact Cards titled High blood pressure, Exercise and the heart, Weight and health, and Smoking.

INCONTINENCE: World Continence Week 19-25 June

IncontinenceIncontinence describes any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence). It may cause distress as well as being a hygiene problem. However, incontinence can be managed and treated.

If you have experienced this problem, you are not alone. Incontinence is a widespread condition. It can range from ‘just a small leak’ to complete loss of bladder or bowel control. In fact, over 4.8 million Australians have bladder or bowel control problems for a variety of reasons.

It is likely that the true number of people affected is much higher. Many people do not tell their doctor or pharmacist about their incontinence, due to embarrassment. Some people mistakenly think that incontinence is a normal part of ageing or that it cannot be treated. If you experience bladder or bowel control problems seek help, as the symptoms will not go away on their own and may worsen over time.

World Continence Week is held on 19-25 June 2017. The week is coordinated in Australia by the Continence Foundation (CFA). CFA provide resources and information for the public, including the National Continence Helpline (Ph. 1800 33 00 66). This Helpline is a free service staffed by continence nurse advisors who can provide information, education and advice to people with incontinence or those caring for someone with incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is quite common and often associated with pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or some chronic health conditions. It can range from a small dribble when you cough or laugh, to large flows of urine. Stress and urge incontinence are common types of urinary incontinence.

People with poor bowel control or faecal incontinence have difficulty controlling their bowels. This may mean they pass faeces or stools at the wrong time or in the wrong place. They may also pass wind when they don’t mean to or experience staining of their underwear. About 1-in-20 people experience poor bowel control. It is more common as you age, but many young people also have poor bowel control. People with poor bowel control also often have poor bladder control.

Treatment depends on the type of incontinence. It is therefore important that a continence assessment is conducted by a professional so an appropriate management plan can be developed. Lifestyle changes may significantly help some types of incontinence and these include:

  • Drink about 6–8 cups of fluid each day (1.5–2 litres of water) spread evenly throughout the day, unless otherwise advised by your doctor. To avoid disruptions to your sleep, drink a little less in the evenings.
  • Reduce the number of drinks containing caffeine (e.g. tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cola) as this can increase urge incontinence.
  • Avoid constipation by maintaining a healthy balanced diet that contains plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre.
  • Lose some weight if required, as a modest amount of weight loss can improve urinary incontinence.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days.
  • Do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Go to the toilet only when you need to, rather than ‘just in case’.
  • Go to the doctor if you think you have a urinary tract infection.

There is a range of health professionals with specialist knowledge in continence management who can assist you www.continence.org.au.

At Fresh Therapeutics we help you understand which medicines (both prescribed and over-the-counter) can affect bladder and bowel continence.

We stock the Molimed®  range of incontinence pants, pads and other aids – not all pads are the same.   We also have information about the Australian Government Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS). This program provides financial assistance for eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of incontinence management products.

As members of the Pharmaceutical Society Self Care Program, Fresh Therapeutics Pharmacies  provide information about incontinence in the Self Care Fact Cards Bladder and urine control, Pelvic floor exercises, Fibre and bowel health, and Urinary tract infection.

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society Of Australia Health Column

BOWEL CANCER – A DEADLY REALITY – BOWEL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

bowel cancerBowel cancer is the third most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia affecting both men and women almost equally. It is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer. Australia also has the unenviable record of one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world.

14,962 Australians are told they have bowel cancer each year, which includes 1,313 people under 50 years of age. The risk of bowel cancer increases sharply from 50 years of age. 4,071 Australian die every year from bowel cancer.

The good news is that bowel cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if detected early and, if caught in time, 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully.

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an annual initiative of Bowel Cancer Australia, and is run throughout the month of June. A highlight of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is Red Apple Day, which this year is on Wednesday 21 June 2017. On this day Australians are encouraged to support the vital work of Bowel Cancer Australia through the purchase of a Bowel Cancer Awareness Ribbon and apple themed fundraising activities.

The apple logo used by Bowel Cancer Australia is a symbolic representation of the charity’s bowel cancer message. A small hole in an apple is caused by a worm but if detected early and removed, the worm is unable to continue affecting the apple. The message is that it’s the same with people. If bowel cancer is detected early it can be treated successfully and people can continue to enjoy life.

However, at the moment fewer than 40% of bowel cancers are detected early so we need to start acting early and be aware of the symptoms earlier. If bowel cancer is detected before it has spread beyond the bowel, the chance of surviving for at least five years after diagnosis is 90%. Sadly, many cases are not detected until a later stage and so, overall, the chance of surviving at least 5 years for bowel cancer patients is 68%. The fact is that early detection offers the best hope of reducing the number of Australians who die each year from bowel cancer.

The risk of developing bowel cancer is greater if you:

  • are aged 50 years and over;
  • have a history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis;
  • have previously had special types of polyps, called adenomas, in the bowel; or
  • have a significant family history of bowel cancer or polyps.

The definition of ‘significant family history’ is important. You are considered to have a significant family history of bowel cancer if a close relative (parent, brother, sister or child) developed bowel cancer at a young age (under 50 years) or if more than one relative on the same side of your family has had bowel cancer.

Most bowel cancers develop from non-cancerous growths called ‘polyps’. Not all polyps become cancerous and if they are removed the risk of bowel cancer is reduced. The development of bowel cancer generally takes many years, and usually begins in the lining of the colon or rectum. If the cancer isn’t treated, the cancer can grow through the wall of the bowel and spread to the lymph nodes and to other parts of the body.

It is important to speak to a health professional about any concerns you may have.

At Fresh Therapeutics we stock the ColoVantage® Home Kit for screening for bowel cancer. The aim is to find any polyps or to find cancer early when they are easier to treat and cure. These BowelScreen Australia test kits come complete with full instructions, a dedicated customer helpline, as well as a reminder service.

We also stock  a range of Self Care Fact Cards including one titled Fibre and bowel health. Other Fact Cards may also be relevant and helpful depending on your individual situation – such as Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Haemorrhoids  or Vomiting and Diarrhoea

Acknowledgement: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Self Care Program Health Column

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Men’s Health

This year, the theme of Men’s Health Week is ‘Healthy Body – Healthy Mind: Keeping the Balance’. This theme explores the different ways men and boys are managing to keep healthy – physically and emotionally – in a busy and sometimes challenging world. From 12–18 June 2017, communities around the country will come together to create events, promotions and activities tailored to the needs of men and boys.

Men and boys face different health and wellbeing concerns than women and girls, and Men’s Health Week is an opportunity to both acknowledge their differences and look for ways to improve the health and wellbeing of men and boys throughout Australia.

There is an ongoing, increasing and mostly silent crisis in the health and wellbeing of men and boys. Due to a lack of awareness, poor health education, and culturally conditioned behaviour patterns in their work and personal lives, the health and wellbeing of men and boys is an area of concern. In Australia and in several other countries, men and boys experience significantly higher rates of addiction, violence, crime, accident and premature death in comparison to their female counterparts. Life expectancy for men is around four years less than that of women (80.1 years compared to 84.3 years).

Men also show significantly higher rates of death from cancer, heart disease, homicide and suicide. Australia has taken a leading role in establishing Men’s Health Week as a well-known and clearly-defined event that focuses attention on men’s health and wellbeing issues and stimulates health promoting activities at all levels.

The National Male Health Policy (released in May 2010) provides a framework for improving male health across Australia – with a focus on taking action on multiple fronts. It identifies six priority areas for action. These are to promote:

  • Priority 1: Optimal health outcomes for males.
  • Priority 2: Health equity between population groups of males.
  • Priority 3: Improved health for males at different life stages.
  • Priority 4: A focus on preventive health for males.
  • Priority 5: Building a strong evidence base on male health.
  • Priority 6: Improved access to health care for males.

A clear opportunity exists for health and other organisations – public, voluntary and private, national and local – to work together to focus attention on key men’s health issues and to develop practical initiatives that can make a difference to the health of Australian men.

During Men’s Health Week let’s reach out to Aussie men and boys and create events that respond to the issues impacting on the health of men, boys and their families in your local area– useful men’s health information, event ideas and contacts, as well as other resources, are available from www.menshealthweek.org.au

Most men’s health problems are preventable. What is required is a new approach to health interventions and health promotion which delivers messages to men that their health and wellbeing is important and encourages men to access health services more regularly to set up a health maintenance plan with their doctor. Many men typically do not access medical, allied health or welfare services in a timely way when their health and wellbeing is at risk. Accordingly health services need to review their way of operating and be mindful of making their services more men friendly.

At Fresh Therapeutics our pharmacists can advise on men’s health and an encourage men to have their blood pressure, weight and BMI and alcohol intake checked. We provide advice on the various local services available for smoking cessation, weight management, alcohol management and exercise. We also provide information and advice on the medicines you take.

At Fresh Therapeutics you can get more detailed information in the Self Care Fact Cards on  Men’s health, Erectile dysfunction, Exercise and the Heart, Fat and Cholesterol  and Prostate problems.