Dr Ellie Cannon on new evidence which shows that NO amount of alcohol is safe

Dr Ellie Cannon on new evidence which shows that NO amount of alcohol is safe

GP and author Dr Ellie Cannon is our resident expert on all things health. Here are her 3 top stories for this week

dr ellie cannon
Michael Weber/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

1. It’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month

The autumn array of health awareness campaigns has started fervently but one will certainly be unfamiliar to many. Despite our ever improving health knowledge, we talk very little about blood cancer and yet within one month 2500 people in the UK will be diagnosed with one. September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month with charities aiming to educate the public about all the types of blood cancer which now together are the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, killing 1000 people each month. Blood cancer includes all types of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma and the treatment for many will be a stem cell donor (a bone marrow transplant). Like all transplants, a donor and a recipient have to match but only 1 in 3 sufferers will find a donor within their family. This means that the other 2 in 3 will rely on a stranger to save their life with a matching transplant. Many healthy adults can become stem cell donors: nowadays most stem cell donations involve a process which is similar to giving blood. After a course of injections, a donor will donate cells via a blood collection, just like blood donors although the process can take up to 5 hours. To find out if you could be a donor visit dkms.org.uk.

2. No amount of alcohol is safe

You’d be forgiven for not having any idea what the weekly alcohol limit is supposed to be for women as the rules and guidelines for safe limits seems to change every season. Whether or not alcohol consumption at a small level is in fact good for your health, has been the subject of debate in recent years as there is thought to be a protective effect from drinking a glass or two of wine in terms of heart health. But the latest research once again contradicts that and proclaims that no amount of alcohol is ‘safe’. And it’s good quality, credible research – with a very frank clear message from the medical journal The Lancet. The review in August 2018 definitively proclaims that alcohol is a massive global health issue; any benefit individuals may get from a glass of wine does not register as valuable, as they are outweighed by much bigger harms such as the increased risk of cancer. So it’s not good news for any of us but probably not a huge surprise if we are being realistic. Most things in life come with risks and benefits and alcohol is no different: like all good things in life, it should be enjoyed in moderation just sadly no longer with any posturing that it is for your health.

3. The NHS needs nurses

The NHS is undertaking its biggest recruitment drive in its 70 years hoping to encourage more people to enter nursing. Nurses topped a public poll as the most trusted and respected profession in the UK – three quarters of those surveyed chose nurses and doctors as professions they trust the most and seven in ten people said they were some of the most important roles in society. But interestingly, the majority of those surveyed did not know the wide range of careers available for nurses such as mental health nursing, and community nursing visiting patients at home: the skills and opportunities available in 21stcentury nursing are far different to nurses from times gone by – nurses now diagnose, manage community teams and in fact in some cases hospitals. Our NHS nurses are talented and dedicated but there is a worsening shortage within the sector which this employment drive is hoping to reverse. The campaign aims to increase the total number of applications into the NHS by 22,000 as well as double the numbers of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors. It will recognise the incredible contribution and impact of NHS staff who treat over one million patients every 24 hours across the country in GP surgeries, hospitals and at home.

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Roaccutane: What you need to know before taking the acne treatment

Roaccutane: What you need to know before taking the acne treatment

The drug is considered to be pretty controversial, so we spoke to a doctor to get the lowdown


If you have or have had acne in the past, you’ve no doubt heard of Roaccutane, even if you’ve never taken it.

Both teen and adult acne are very common, but they can make you feel extremely self conscious and want to get rid of it.

Although an acne vaccination is being developed, taking Roaccutane is currently one of the most powerful treatment options on the market. If all other options – creams, antibiotics, lotions and potions – have failed you, the drug may have been suggested to you as the next step.

But you no doubt have some questions, so we spoke to Doctify-rated GP Dr Lisa Anderson to find out everything you need to know before taking it.

What is Roaccutane?

Roaccutane or Accutane, the colloquial and brand names for Isotretinoin, is a prescription drug and one of the most common acne treatments; many celebrities, like Chloe Grace Moretz and Bella Thorne, have discussed taking it in the past.

‘It’s a form of Vitamin A that is used to treat severe, scarring acne after other treatments (topical creams and lotions and a prolonged course of antibiotics) have been tried without success,’ explains Dr Anderson.

‘It is only prescribed by a dermatologist and not available for your GP to prescribe. It’s also not to be confused with the milder Retin-A gel that can be used.’

‘Is it suitable for everyone?

‘Roaccutane is not a suitable treatment for everyone and careful assessment is needed before prescribing. You cannot take Roaccutane if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have had an allergic reaction to Isotretinoin,’ the doctor explains.

‘Extreme caution is needed in those people who have had depression or other mental illness, liver or kidney disease, high cholesterol and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis). And as the capsules contain fructose, it should not be prescribed if there is an intolerance to this.

‘Roaccutane is not licensed for children under the age of 12, or those who have not entered puberty. You should not be taking any vitamins that contain Vitamin A.’

The NHS notes that the capsules also contain soya, so you cannot take these if you suffer from an allergy to soya.

Chloe Grace Moretz told Allure that she ‘tried changing my diet and my beauty products before going on Accutane’

What are the side effects of Roaccutane?

‘There are lots of potential side effects that can occur, and these can be serious,’ Dr Anderson says. ‘Common side effects are:

  • Sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, leading to redness and dry skin
  • Dry eyes and throat
  • Nosebleed
  • Headaches
  • General aches and pains.

‘Serious side effects may include:

  • Mood changes: anxiety, depression
  • A blistering skin rash
  • Jaundice
  • Severe headaches, making you feel nauseous or even vomit
  • Pancreatitis
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Fever and chills.’

If you notice anything out of the ordinary while taking Roaccutane, speak to your doctor immediately. This is not an exhaustive list; if you are prescribed the drug, the full list of side effects will be on the information leaflet inside the pack.

How does Roaccutane work?

‘The drug reduces the amount of sebum made by the glands in the skin and also shrinks the glands, therefore reducing the bacteria and inflammation and opening the blocked pores of the skin,’ our doctor says.

‘It’s important to take as directed and if you miss a dose, you usually would not make this dose up.’


Bella Thorne has taken Accutane in the past, but told Refinery 29 it did not work for her: ‘They said nine out of 10 people never have a pimple again. So, I’m like, ‘Well, fuck me, I guess I’m just that 10%, aren’t I?’

What are the results?

While most people do see a dramatic improvement in their skin with no recurrence, this treatment is not a fail-safe cure and isn’t guaranteed to get rid of your acne. That said, the majority of cases are successful.

‘Roaccutane starts to work after around seven to ten days and the course is usually around four to six months,’ explains Dr Anderson. ‘Around 80% of people will see skin improvement after four months.

‘The majority of people treated with Roaccutane will go into complete remission, while some will get a recurrence over time and may be considered for second round of treatment,’ she adds.

Note that the purpose of this feature is to inform, not replace one-to-one medical consultations. For advice tailored specifically to you, always discuss your health with a doctor.

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Teeth bonding: the fast and cheaper way to get a white, straight smile

Teeth bonding: the fast and cheaper way to get a white, straight smile

Say cheese.

teeth bonding

As Brits, our teeth have a bad reputation, whilst the Americans tend to be blessed with bright, white, straight smiles. Lucky buggers. Perhaps that’s why we’re so obsessed with teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and treatments like Invisalign. The latest offering from doctors is teeth bonding.

We spoke to quite possibly the most glamourous dentist in London, Dr Rhona Eskander, about exactly what teeth bonding is.

What is teeth bonding?

Teeth bonding is a cosmetic technique that gives the appearance of a straighter, whiter smile, by shaping and moulding a type of dental material, in this case, on your teeth. It can be used as a cosmetic solution to chipped, gapped teeth and staining. It’s different to porcelain veneers, which can take more than two visits, composite resin teeth bonding can be completed in one appointment. It also doesn’t involve damage or cutting down of the teeth.

Who is a good candidate for teeth bonding?

Teeth bonding isn’t for everyone. If your smile is crooked as the result of an over- or under-bite, this treatment won’t be able to correct it. Teeth bonding is more for people who have healthy teeth, but aren’t exactly thrilled with the way they look. It’s a cosmetic solution.

What happens in your teeth bonding appointment?

The most incredible thing about teeth bonding is that you can, in some cases, walk in with your old teeth and walk out with a whole new smile.

‘The treatment itself often starts with the removal of some surface enamel, allowing the dentist to best shape the composite resin,’ Dr Eskander explains. ‘This is followed by the application of the bonding agent. However in most cases we do not cut down the teeth at all.’

After this your dentist will then add the composite resin, cure it with a special light and finish by polishing your teeth. Ét voila, a Hollywood smile.

What’s the aftercare for teeth bonding?

You have to go for regular check ups, as the bonding can chip and stain. You should be wary of eating anything too hard – avoid Toblerone that’s been kept in the fridge.

Teeth bonding before and after

The before and after shots are unbelievable. Follow Dr Eskander’s Instagram for more transformations.

What are the differences between teeth bonding and veneers?

‘Veneers are made of ceramic and you have to cut down the tooth surface to fit them,’ Dr Eskander explains. ‘They do last longer, but the prep is more destructive. If the bonding chips, you can easily repair, whereas you’d need a whole new veneer replacement. Veneers are also much more expensive.’

How much does teeth bonding cost?

Dr Eskander charges from £200 per tooth, but remember you don’t need to have every tooth done, because as she says ‘you really only see the front four teeth anyway.’

Where should you go for teeth bonding?

We really must insist that you visit Dr Eskander at SW1 Dental (41-43 Great Peter St, Westminster, London SW1).

You’ll be blown away by how fabulous she is.

Plus she has perfect teeth, so you know you’re in good hands.

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Do you suffer from FOFO?

A survey has found that a quarter of people in the UK have a Fear Of Finding Out health problems


GP and author Dr Ellie Cannon, our resident health expert, gives us the lowdown on the 3 biggest health stories this week.

1. Do you suffer from FOFO?

Hang around for a while next time you are in the loo to see what is going on. Looking before you flush is the latest message from Public Health England for us to be clear on cancer. Most women certainly notice blood at times not just from periods but commonly blood in the urine comes from a urine infection such as cystitis. But rarely it can be a sign of kidney or bladder cancer, so whatever you do don’t ignore it when you’re not expecting it. And according to latest figures for the UK, we are a nation who like to ignore things – whilst many of us admit to having FOMO, apparently a lot of us also have what is dubbed FOFO – fear of finding out about health problems. A survey by Populus has found that a quarter of people in the UK would not bother having a symptom examined for fear of the what the doctor may find and another 20% wouldn’t bother due to inconvenient appointment times or being too busy. This is a sorry state of affairs and certainly explains the poorer rates of early diagnosis in the UK compared to other countries.

A quarter of people in the UK have a fear of finding out health problems

2. This is the best age to freeze your eggs

Choosing to freeze your eggs is a decision more of us are making faced with waning fertility and a biological clock. But health bodies are urging caution to women tempted by success stories and the increasing normalisation of the technique. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advised women to be careful of the process which often incurs massive costs and side effects. Undoubtedly egg freezing offers women the chance to increase that window of opportunity to have a family when fertility may be declining naturally. But the majority of women are still taking the egg freezing opportunity too late, as a ‘last ditch’ attempt, rather than making a planned choice to freeze eggs in their early 30s when it is more likely to succeed. We all overrate success rates and underestimate the costs: because of lower success chances per egg with increasing age, a woman in her late thirties would need approximately 30 eggs to have a good chance of pregnancy. That would mean an average three cycles of ovarian stimulation to produce enough at a cost of around £15,000. And this excludes an annual storage fee of £200-400 and the cost of fertility treatment to use the eggs. And despite the cost, there is of course, no guarantee of a baby at the end.


The majority of women are still taking the egg freezing opportunity too late

3. Take the HPV shot

It is amazing news for all of us that the HPV vaccine is to be extended to boys in England, Scotland and Wales. Of course the HPV vaccine programme was originally introduced to offer women protection against cervical cancer, and it has already been a success with an 86% reduction in the prevalence of the cancer-causing virus HPV. But HPV doesn’t just cause cervical cancer: it is responsible for 5% of all cancers worldwide including cancers of the penis, anus and head and neck cancers, so the more of us who are protected – both male and female – the better to protect our whole community, across all ages and sexuality. 80% of us will be infected by HPV at some during our lives, in the majority of cases the infection won’t do the body any harm and it will go away. As more and more people get vaccinated, the chances of the viruses passing between sexual partners reduces, so everyone benefits from what is known as “herd immunity”. Women of all ages can opt into an HPV vaccine to protect themselves – many high street pharmacists and travel clinics offer the vaccine at a reasonable price and it’s certainly worth it. It’s really important to remember that even if you have had an HPV vaccine, your regular smear tests are still important.

HPV is responsible for 5% of all cancers worldwide

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Protestors are in solidarity with Argentina after legal abortion bill fails to pass

Protestors are in solidarity with Argentina after legal abortion bill fails to pass

A sad day for pro-choice supporters.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julieta Ferrario/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock (9785824b)
Senators reject the Legalization of Abortion Project at the National Congress. Thousands of people remain in vigil outside the Parliament. .Outside the Parliament, thousands of people manifestate in favor (green handkerchief) and against (blue) the project. On 2018 June 14 Lawmakers (Deputies) approved the original project.
Abortion Protest, Buenos Aires, Argentina – 08 Aug 2018

Words by Rebecca Fearn

After much debate, the Argentinian senate has rejected a bill that proposed legalisation of abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The final vote saw 41 male senators and 28 female senators vote against the bill by 38 to 31.

Abortion is currently only legal in Argentina in cases of rape or health complications.

Pro choice protestors have been showing their support for the bill all over the world during passing weeks, with people gathering in cities such as Berlin, Rome, Melbourne, and Rio De Janeiro. Many wore green to express their support for abortion decriminalisation.

Following today’s decision, pro-choice supporters showed their frustration by beginning fires and throwing missiles at police.

Many also took to Twitter to express their defiance and determination to keep fighting:

Unfortunately, lawmakers must now wait another year before they are able to resubmit legislation.

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I finally cleared up my acne and these are the must-have ingredients that did it

I finally cleared up my acne and these are the must-have ingredients that did it

One woman recounts her journey from heavily blemished 27-year-old to a fresh-faced, acne-free woman who no longer feels the need to wear foundation,,,

Words by Lamya Tilmatine

I was staring at my reflection in the bathroom mirror with a face riddled with pimples and scars. This was no regular breakout – I had acne.

The pimples, some red and swollen others with white heads, were angry and quite painful, particularly to look at. At the time I was a 26-year-old teacher in Dubai, literally living the dream. Only, my skin had completely hijacked my life.

I couldn’t wear make-up without it caking around my spots, evenings out were ruined by my low self-esteem and feeling self-conscious and the heat only seemed to make it worse.

To top it off, I spent hundreds trying excessive amounts of high-street branded skincare with big names, bigger promises and a long ingredient list, which later I learned made my acne much worse.

Nothing was working and I started to hate going out – I didn’t even want my husband to look at me for long periods of time during conversation.

I decided it was time to take back control of my skin.

What I did first (and what didn’t work)

The first thing I did was research the best acne treatments that had worked for others, but they were either too expensive or completely unfounded – like the use of apple cider vinegar.

Sudocrem helped with inflammation and reduced the swelling of some pimples, but that’s it. However I did find plenty of information on key ingredients that help with acne – salicylic acid being the main one.

I popped down to the local shop and bought a generic face wash with matching moisturiser that had salicylic acid listed in the ocean of ingredients printed on the back.

After a week, it seemed to have made my skin worse.

I then tried Tea Tree oil, the holy grail of essential oils that claims to help fight acne – it had some effect but after months of using it as a toner, wash and spot treatment my skin became dry, flaky and immune to its extreme antibacterial properties.

I ended up having dark patches of dry skin around my chin and mouth so I dialled it down to only using it as a toner.

Call the doctor

After months of practicing my new skincare routine, little had changed and  so I booked an appointment with my doctor.

She prescribed antibiotics, which I wasn’t too pleased with about as I wanted something I could sustain long term; I didn’t want to have to rely on antibiotics for clearer skin.

After two weeks it did help with one or two pimples, but it couldn’t keep up with the rate at which my pimples were forming. In a day, I could easily have two new pimples to join the pimple party that I had on my face.

It was time to try something else.

What causes acne?

‘I commonly see the following cycle – girl breaks out, girl panics, girl applies heavy-duty makeup to conceal blemishes… the acne worsens so she applies more make-up,’ says Dr Sam Bunting, a lead dermatologist and skincare expert, summing up my life with acne.

It is really important to understand what type of acne you have and how it is caused. With acne, the skin’s sebaceous glands are over producing oil (sebum), which clogs our pores, causing them to become infected and resulting in acne.

Acne can be ‘small red bumps – papules, red bumps with a white head – pustules or deeper, tender more lumps lesions – nodules and cysts’, explains Dr Bunting. These spots develop from blocked pores, too much oil and clogging of follicles with dead skin cells and grime from the day.

The little bumps found on our skin are sometimes open to air (blackheads), Dr Bunting explains, which the P. acnes bacteria thrives on if clogged and oily.

Sugar, dairy and acne

I then looked at changing my lifestyle in the hope of pinpointing a trigger.

I began by drinking more water, cutting out all processed food including genetically modified meat and dairy, as it ‘contains male-like hormones (androgens) and triggers our sebaceous glands into clogging up,’ Dr Bunting explains. ‘It’s much like the effect of our androgens in the week before our period.’

There’s also a link between high refined sugar intake and acne (goodbye chocolate), ‘as it increases insulin-like growth factor… this has been shown in some studies to increase acne lesion count, especially in women.’

After a few weeks of watching my diary and sugar intake I noticed my skins texture improved and my skin was less volatile; my adult acne seemed to have been brought on by a change in either my hormones or stress level and evidently my diet too.

What finally worked

Limiting your dairy and sugar intake is an essential first step with a proper skincare routine to beating acne.

Dr Bunting also stresses that ‘the right skincare and make-up make a huge different’ and ‘the key is to use non-comedogenic products’ – meaning they won’t aggravate blemish-prone skin by further clogging your pores.

The game-changing ingredients that should be included in your skincare routine are salicylic acid and glycolic acid. ‘Inflammatory acne is best treated with topical agents like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid’ and ‘non-inflammatory lesions [aka whiteheads and blackheads] are best treated with retinoids’ – a powerful acne fighting ingredient and scar healer says Dr Bunting.

I used Barbara Sturm’s Cleanser, £40, Space NK, which contains salicylic acid and was extremely gentle to the skin. The acid helps to unclog the pores and sloshes away build-up of dirt and dead skin cells, which prevents pores and blackheads from becoming infected.

I’d also recommend La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel, £12, Boots, as it’s ideal for calming and minimising inflamed pimples. Glycolic acid, also known as AHA (alpha-hydroxy-acid), offers a deeper clean as it penetrates further into the skin due to its smaller molecules.

I used Proactiv’s Glycolic Mark Fading Pads, £22.99, Amazon, as a toner treatment and SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight, £80, Lookfantastic, as a peel for extensive exfoliation of dead skin cells.

Lixir Skin’s Night Switch PHA/AHA 10%, £20, Liberty, offers a great alternative, a small bottle but a potent product which you can add to your face oils or moisturisers for an overnight treatment. Another overnight treatment is Retinol product Bioelements Oil Control Sleepwear – it helps with redness, inflammation and helps clear clogged pores.

To treat those testy pimples head on I used another salicylic acid product, Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion, £16, Beauty Bay – I used this by dotting on each of my pimples. It packed a punch and stung slightly but it was working as pimples were visibly smaller due to the anti-inflammatory properties of zinc and calamine lotion.

To moisturise? Oils! You literally fight oil with oil and I cannot stress this enough. Try and stay away from mineral oils and incorporate acne friendly ingredients like rosehip oil and jojoba oil.

Products that help treat acne and blemish-prone skin which I found safe to use were Rå’s Eternal Radiance Oil, £65, Cult Beauty, and Herbivore Lapis Balancing Facial Oil, £60, Space NK, which contains hero ingredient azulene that fights bacteria and is anti-inflammatory.

Trilogy’s Rosehip Oil, £34.50, John Lewis, is another great facial oil, high in fatty acids, it leaves skin feeling silky smooth, refined with a slight healthy glow. If you prefer a cream, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+, £16, Boots, is a winner for hydrating, correcting and reducing inflammation.

Dr Sam Bunting’s acne tips:

  • Stress can trigger our sebaceous glands to produce more oil, so chill.
  • The sun thickens up our skin’s protective outer layer which makes it susceptible to clogging. SPF is essential.
  • The wrong skincare can cause acne – using anti-ageing ingredients is ‘poorly formulated for blemish-prone skin’.
  • Stay away from heavy-coverage long-wear foundations.
  • Powders are prone to clogging pores
  • Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods with micronutrients like nuts, spices and omega 3 fatty acids helps maintain an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • PCOS is a common condition that affects women and will often trigger acne as well as hair loss and excess facial/body hair. If this a concern, please see your doctor.

I have spent an entire year scouring the planet for ingredients that are affordable, which you can use at home and for those that don’t want to spend a shed load on clinical treatments.

I hope that my journey to acne-free skin helps you along yours – good luck!

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Here’s everything you need to know about menstrual migraines

Here’s everything you need to know about menstrual migraines

From why you’re getting them to how to get rid of them…

sleep calculator

Few women look forward to their periods for the simple fact that they are mentally and physically enduring.

Mood swings, food cravings, bloating, abdominal cramps, breast sensitivity, nausea, back pain and of course bleeding are common symptoms that accompany a monthly visit from ‘Aunt Flo’.

But there are also some lesser known symptoms that we too often dismiss as coincidental.

The main culprit? Menstrual migraines.

‘I’m dehydrated,’ we tell ourselves, or ‘I’ve been staring at my laptop screen all day’.

But while those are two valid headache-inducers, could your migraine actually have something to do with your period?

Well, unfortunately for women everywhere, yes, with menstrual migraines actually affecting over 50% of us.

Here’s everything you need to know…

sleep trackers

What are menstrual migraines?

Menstrual migraines are a condition where women get intense and persistent headaches during or before their periods. While women frequently assume that menstruation is simply a trigger for a migraine, in the case of menstrual migraines, they are the sole cause.

What causes menstrual migraines?

They are mainly caused by the natural drop in the levels of oestrogen and the release of prostaglandin (a type of hormone) that occurs right before a period. This means that most menstrual migraines will occur in the two day run-up and the first three days of menstruation.

When do menstrual migraines generally occur?

Menstrual migraines usually occur before or during menstruation, with very few women suffering from menstrual migraines in a period’s aftermath. Migraines and headache pains can also occur during ovulation when this time the oestrogen and other hormones are at a high.

How to get to sleep

How can I get rid of menstrual migraines?

Menstrual migraines are treated the same as regular migraines, with recommended remedies including applying ice or a cold cloth to the painful area, relaxation exercises, pain killers and in some cases, acupuncture.

How can I prevent menstrual migraines?

Preventing or at least reducing the effect of headaches on your period is totally possible, with the preventative measures being the same for normal migraines, but anything that balances hormones is highly recommended.

Common treatments include a change in diet, eliminating simple carbohydrates, refined sugars and processed foods from your eating pattern. Sleep, exercise and hydration are also considered essential for balancing hormones and promoting a healthy metabolism.

Magnesium supplements have also been dubbed a preventative measure, but if the symptoms persist and aren’t reduced by trying the following, it might be best to contact your GP for help dealing with more acute pain.

Should I be worried about menstrual migraines?

There shouldn’t be any cause for concern, but should you be worried that it could be a symptom of something more severe, it might be worth contacting your GP.

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Here’s everything you need to know about how to induce your period

Here’s everything you need to know about how to induce your period

Yes, it’s possible…

bring on your period

Few women look forward to their monthly visit from ‘Aunt Flo’, so it might seem surprising that so many of us have looked into inducing our periods at some point in our lives.

While it’s true that people look into how to delay a period more frequently than how to bring it on, women do choose to kick-start their menstrual cycles for a variety of reasons. These usually include getting into a routine and getting the period over with before plans, whether it’s a beach holiday, a last minute date or just a day that you don’t feel like menstruating.

Is it possible to induce your period?

While there are no fail-safe techniques for kick-starting your period, it’s not all bad news, with lots of hacks out there recommended to make your time of the month come faster. From recommended foods and drinks to exercises to try, here’s everything you need to know about how to induce your period…

induce your period

What foods can help to induce a period?


Pineapple is said to be the go-to fruit for inducing your period. Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that softens the uterus lining, helping it to shed and kick-starting your monthly flow, so try adding some to your diet or drinking pineapple juice. It is important to note that pineapples also increase the production of red and white blood cells, increasing blood flow and potentially leading to a heavier period than usual, but the good news is that the fruit relaxes muscles, easing your menstrual cramps.


While few of us would feature parsley as the main part of a dish, it turns out the herb is a mild emmenagogue and can help to kick-start your period, so you might want to look into some parsley recipes ASAP. Parsley can help to soften the cervix and level out hormonal imbalances that could be delaying your cycle, helping your period come faster. If you’re struggling to find a dish based on parsley, don’t panic – the most effective forms are said to be parsley tea and parsley vaginal inserts.


Ginger is said to be another herbal remedy for inducing a period, causing contractions of the uterus to jump-start your flow. Not only this, but the plant is also rich in antioxidants, making it great for pain relief and reducing vomiting and nausea. Say goodbye to period side effects. And just like with parsley, if you don’t want to eat the ginger, you can always up your intake of ginger tea.

Other foods that are said to help induce menstruation are potatoes, cherries, pineapple, kale, strawberries, kiwis, blackcurrants, cauliflower and anything rich in Vitamin C, so it looks like we should be stepping away from the junk food if we want to see results.

induce your period

How can you induce a period?


Being fit and healthy is one of the factors that keeps your menstrual cycle constant, so regular exercise will ensure that your period will arrive on time. In terms of inducing a period, abdominal exercises have been recommended, with the muscle contractions said to make your period come faster.

Reducing stress

As we all know, stress can mess with our menstrual cycles, and more often than not missing our periods or having them come late will be down to anxiety. Intense stress stops our body from producing the right hormones, thereby making our periods come later than usual, so actively relaxing should help to bring on your flow.

Is it dangerous to induce your period?

These are all natural remedies so they shouldn’t be harmful. You should however be careful about inducing your period if you are pregnant in case it puts you at risk of a miscarriage.

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Here’s everything to know about how to delay your period

Here’s everything to know about how to delay your period

Yes, it’s possible…

delay your period

Delaying a period is something that we’ve all panic-searched at some point – trawling through the Internet (usually in desperation) to see if it’s possible to put your period off for a few days, whether it’s for a beach holiday, a last minute date or just to get a few more days of normality before ‘Aunt Flo’ pays her monthly visit.

The good news is menstrual suppression is totally possible, and there are all kinds of ways to go about it, with varying techniques depending on time, situation and effectiveness.

Some women employ the classic technique of taking contraceptive pill cycles back to back, thereby skipping a period altogether. If, however, you’re part of the new millennial movement coming off the pill, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered too.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to delay your period…

delay your period

How can you delay your period on the pill?

Delaying your period with your contraceptive pill is a tried and tested method, and as long as you don’t suffer side effects, it’s definitely an effective option.

The method is simple – once you have got to the end of your pill cycle, you simply take another full round of your pill back to back instead of leaving seven days to menstruate like usual. You may experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding but you should skip the period all together.

You can also delay your period on other forms of contraception. If you use a contraceptive ring or patch, simply miss your week-long break and insert a new ring or patch in place, thereby skipping your period.

It is highly recommended with all forms of contraception that you don’t skip your period for more than three months.

How can you delay your period when you’re not on the pill?

For those of us who aren’t on the contraceptive pill, it’s a little more difficult to put your period off, but don’t sweat – it’s totally possible. If your period’s coming at an inconvenient time and you need to delay it, Norethisterone, the well known period-delay pill, is your answer. You’ll need a prescription to get it but the method is simple. You should take a pill three times a day, starting three days before your period is due, continuing for as many days as you need. A couple of days after stopping your Norethisterone intake, your period should start.

delay your period

Is it possible to delay your period naturally?

This is a heavily debated question. Some people swear by natural remedies to keep the crimson wave at bay while others rubbish the rumours. Supposedly menstrual suppression can be accomplished through methods as easy as drinking lots of water, controlling stress levels and exercising regularly. There are however also some more complex remedies that people swear by. Cutting spicy foods out of your diet is highly recommended, with some people championing the wonders of eating lemons and gram lentils. Drink-wise, it takes a bit more dedication, with the two most highly recommended remedies being tablespoons of vinegar and gelatine mixed with water.

If you’re unsure about delaying your period or need a second opinion, consult your GP.

The post Here’s everything to know about how to delay your period appeared first on Marie Claire.

Waxing at home for beginners – everything you need to know

Waxing at home for beginners – everything you need to know

Proof that you can get salon results in the comfort of your own home

Waxing Strips

Whether you’re a fair-weather-hair-removal type of gal or a once a month regular, waxing at home has never been easier.

Yes you could opt for an in-salon bikini wax, but there really isn’t the need when you can do it so easily and for much less money from the comfort of your own sofa, in front of Love Island.

Waxing may be a little on the painful side, but it is quick and yields longer-lasting results than your razor will.

Read on to master the art of at home waxing, from lower leg to full-on Brazilian.

Waxing at home with wax strips

‘Making sure you have time, tools and the correct preparation are essential,’ says beauty and skin expert Nichola Joss.

The number one thing you should remember while waxing yourself is not to rush it, ‘take the time, make sure you have all the tools you need and prep the skin. Cleansing and exfoliating can help to ensure the skin is prepared for waxing, giving you better results. If you need to exfoliate the skin do this 24 hours before.’

‘On the day, cleanse the skin with a fragrance free non-oily product and ensure your skin is dry,’ Nichola advises. ‘Take your time and do one strip at a time, ensuring you gently apply to the skin. Remember to remove as instructed.’

Waxing strips need to be pulled from the skin in a single, quick move. Be bold and go for it.  Slowly peeling them off will be uncomfortable and won’t remove the hair effectively.

‘After you have waxed the desired area, gently apply an oil and lightly massage into skin,’ Nichola adds. ‘Wait 24 hours before applying any self-tan.’

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waxing at home

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Leg waxing and eyebrow waxing are both pretty self explanatory, but some hair removal procedures using wax have slightly more ambiguous names.

Hollywood waxing

This kind of waxing involves removing ALL the hair; bikini line, vulva, butt crack, the works.

It’s not an easy one to do DIY so, we’re calling it: you’d have to be mad to do your own Hollywood wax at home. The logistics of removing all hair from your nether regions without causing yourself injury just isn’t worth it.

Brazilian waxing

Brazilian waxes are very similar to Hollywood, except usually a small, visible strip of hair is left on the vulva (the external part of your lady garden). Again, unless you’re a pro, we don’t really recommend you try this one at home.

Bikini waxing

Removing hair from your bikini line, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward.

For a successful DIY bikini wax, pull the skin taut, apply the wax strip, press firmly and use the warmth of your hands to soften the wax if necessary.

After that, it’s a case of just gritting your teeth and pulling away quickly.

The post Waxing at home for beginners – everything you need to know appeared first on Marie Claire.