Category: health and fitness

Keeping On Top of Constipation During the Festive Season #OwnTheThrone

Fall is my favourite time of the year, from the colours to the return of hearty stews and soups to warm drinks on the porch watching the kids capture the last hours of sunlight…and even to the beginning of the crazy holiday party season. There is so much to celebrate and be thankful for!! The only pitfall of the cooler weather is that sometimes we aren’t staying as active as we were in the summer (who wants to get out of bed early in this cooler weather or when it’s still dark outside??) and the holiday season itself brings with it a new set of stomach struggles if we tend to indulge in too many sweets and drinks.

Keeping On Top of Constipationon

I am sure many of you can relate to or even suffer from digestive issues over the fall and winter season. It usually kicks off at Thanksgiving dinner where we tend to indulge far too much and trust me I get it. Our family is Italian-Canadian and holiday dinners are usually overboard with turkey, chicken, pastas, potatoes, vegetables and far too many sweets and cakes. It can be so hard to resist at times. For me it is my Father’s cooking that does me in every year – I will devour any and all of his food in sight regardless of whether I am hungry or not (I miss his cooking so much!). After Thanksgiving is over, then the holiday season really starts warming up and before you know it you are indulging far too much and not being as active at the gym and outdoors. Some of us are more prone to digestive issues and constipation and for other individuals stomach problems can begin without them even noticing – especially when we are really busy just getting through day-to- day life.

Keeping On Top of Constipation #OwnTheThrone

Hopefully you recognize the signs of constipation before the pain and discomfort become severe – look for signs your bowel movements are not as regular as they usually are, or are more painful. It is so important to pay attention to your body and bowel movements and I can’t stress this enough. Recognize the signals your body is giving you and when you need to – reach out for help. I know that for many of us, we don’t like to talk about constipation and bowel movements and this may be embarrassing to discuss with your friends or spouse, but at the end of the day it’s just poop! As many as one in four Canadians are suffering from symptoms of constipation, so talking to a friend or spouse for advice can be really helpful. They will know exactly what you are going through and can give you some of their own tips and tricks to help deal with constipation when it happens and hopefully prevent it from happening again.

In the last year, I have noticed that my body responds differently to certain foods and I found myself suffering from constipation after surgery a couple of months ago. To be fair, I was warned that the medications could cause constipation but I never really listened to the side effects when the pharmacist dispensed them to me (I’ve never had constipation problems before so I thought why would I now?). But sure enough, it happened to me and I ignored the signs for three days until I was in severe pain. For me these tricks helped me immensely:

  • Increase your fibre intake in your meals. I started to record my food in My Fitness Pal and found that I was not reaching my 25gms of fibre goal daily. I had to increase my intake of vegetables, healthy grains and fruits to ensure I was reaching this goal. Recording my food was key to knowing what I was eating as it can be easy to lie to yourself when mentally recording food.
  • Increase your water intake – this is so important! Aim for at least eight to ten glasses of water a day. If you are not a fan of plain water, add some lemon, frozen fruit or water enhancers.
  • Make sure you get in 30 minutes of physical activity a day, whether you walk after work around the block, walk on your lunch breaks or go to a gym. It can be hard to get motivated to get moving outside in the cooler weather but it is so important for your physical and mental wellbeing, so make sure you take this time out just for you.

Sometimes even when following all of these tips, you can still find yourself suffering from constipation symptoms. The pain can get really bad quickly, so make sure you seek out relief sooner rather than later. Dulcolax, a gentle overnight laxative, will help get your bowels moving during the night and give you some much needed relief in the morning. You take one to two tablets before bed and they begin to work in six to twelve hours. The tablets work overnight to soften your stools, allowing your bowels to move easier in the morning. Which is a great relief from the pain that I know many of you may have experienced when suffering from constipation.

Constipation is never fun to deal with, but it is so important to know that you are not alone and so many others have struggled through the same symptoms. While it is important to ensure your diet is high in fibre, that you are consuming enough water and keeping active, you should always have a back- up plan in mind in case constipation does occur. Taking Dulcolax will help you #OwnTheThrone. To find out more information and to keep up to date with all the latest news, check out Dulcolax’s website.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Protecting My Sons For the Future Against the HPV Virus

Protecting Our Sons Future Against the HPV Virus

There have been several distinct moments in my life that have changed me as a person as well as helped to strengthen and define my personal beliefs. The one moment in my life that has defined me as a person the strongest was the moment that I became a Mother. On both of these occasions, I can still remember the intense feelings, the labour pain and that incredible moment when I first heard the cries of my boys. Hard to believe that such a strong and loud cry can be the most beautiful sound you can ever hear as a parent! The moment that my boys were placed into my arms for skin to skin contact, the pure love and protection that I felt for them was immense and almost impossible to describe. I knew in those special moments that I would do absolutely anything in my power to keep them safe and strong for the rest of my life.

Protecting My Sons For the Future Against the HPV Virus

These two moments have worked to strengthen my health care beliefs about vaccinations. I have always strongly supported vaccination, as it protects and prevents so many diseases that can be life threatening but the birth of my children reinforced this belief. Working every day in Family Medicine exposes me to a variety of beliefs, concerns and fears about vaccinations from other parents and expecting couples. Our clinic works hard to educate and assist parents in their health care decisions, using everything from information handouts to open discussions with members of their health care team. Every question is important and valid, especially as parents navigate their child through the immunization process (which doesn’t end as soon as children enter kindergarten as your child will be due for additional immunizations in Grade Seven). I find talking to my own physician and the residents at our clinic always helpful when I need to make a decision about my boys’ health care concerns and vaccinations. Seeking out the advice of educated individuals who want the best for my boys has always been my number one source to turn to when I am confused or need reassurance that I am making the best possible decision for my boys.

Last week my son came home from school with paperwork from Public Health with the three vaccines that he will be receiving this year in Grade Seven at his school. This included the HPV vaccine! As a parent, I was ecstatic that my son was being given the chance to receive this vaccine. As many of you are probably already aware, the HPV vaccine was previously only offered to girls in Grade Eight. This fall will mark the first year that boys in Ontario will be offered the HPV vaccine, additionally the age that the vaccine is being offered to Ontario students is being lowered from female students in Grade Eight to both male and female students in Grade Seven (girls that just entered into Grade Eight this year will still be eligible to receive the vaccination – no worries there for parents of girls in Grade Eight!). Ontario students will now be in line with all other provinces in Canada following the best practical evidence for the administration of the HPV vaccine. What an amazing time for parents and students alike in Ontario!

So what is all the fuss about the HPV vaccine?

The HPV virus is extremely common and is spread through sexual skin to skin contact with an infected person. Some types of this HPV virus can lead to cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancers, while other types can lead to genital warts – all of which is quite frightening not only as a patient but for the child’s parent. This virus is so common, that as many as three out of four sexually active Canadians carry this virus! While for many years the focus has been on females (as many of you have been exposed to the various advertisements both on television and in print) and the importance of the vaccine for protection against this virus for females, males have generally been left out of this equation. They are a very important part of this equation as they are capable of spreading this infection through sexual activity between partners, sometimes without even knowing as symptoms are not always present.

As a parent to two boys, I felt relief and excitement over this announcement (I was far too old for this vaccine when it was introduced to the public and a huge part of me had wished that I had been eligible to have received it) and I know my husband was as well, he even questioned whether he could receive the vaccine. While my boys are not of age to be sexually active, it is so important to educate and protect them long before they become sexually active – education goes a long way when it comes to sexual health! We had an important conversation with our son on the same night that he came home from school with the information pamphlets all about the HPV virus, the HPV vaccine and what it protects him from and what it can help to prevent in the long term. While some of the information may need to be shared again with him as the date of his vaccination comes closer, I know we took an important first step in educating him and protecting him by filling out our consent for his vaccination.

The HPV virus, while common, can have a huge impact on your child’s life. Educating both yourself and your child on this vaccine is so important as you make the decision together to vaccinate your child this year. For my husband and I, making the decision to vaccinate our son against the HPV virus was easy and we jumped at this opportunity to protect our son and his future health. If you are struggling with this decision, I strongly encourage you to visit Ontario’s Ministry of Health website  which has information specific to parents as well as booking an appointment to discuss your concerns with your family physician. You can also follow the Ontario Ministry of Health on Twitter and Facebook  to get up to date information and news.

Disclosure: This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are their own.

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Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin


Dry, cracked and itchy skin. Maybe feet that sound like sand paper rubbing against the floor when you rub your foot against a surface.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Our entire family suffers with dry and itchy skin, myself being the worst. Over the years we have dealt with eczema, psoriasis on the arms and general dry, scaly skin on our legs from swimming. For myself, if it is not dry, red and blistering skin on my arms then it is cracked, rough feet (my family teases me saying that my feet literally sound like sand paper polishing the floor – brutal right?). I am extremely hard on my feet, I am on them all day at work and I love walking around barefoot especially during the summer months and this really shows in my feet. The dryness can quickly get out of hand as you can see below:

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

Disgusting right? A part of me cringes when looking at this picture and an even greater part of me can’t believe I showed this to you! Honestly the dry, scaly and flakes happen so quickly it is unbelievable. I have to keep a strict foot care routine in place in order to stop and prevent this from happening.

So how do I reverse my feet (and stop this from happening) from looking like this and prevent the all over dry skin in the summer?

Read on to get summer ready, fresh skin and feet. You can follow these simple steps to get ready for summer:

Skip the hot showers! Instead shower every other day in a cool to warm shower as the hot water will actually strip your skin of oils and make it drier. Baths tend to have the same effect as hot showers, so try to avoid them when your skin is very dry. Before I hop in the shower, I also like to gently dry brush my skin with a loofah, it helps to wake up my skin and remove any dry, loose skin before I hop in. I like to work in circular motions from distal regions to closer to the centre of my body (so hands to shoulders, feet to tops of thighs).

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

After you hop out of the shower, pat dry your skin (never scrub dry) and while it is still moist you should use your moisturizer to help lock in the moisture. You need to be careful when choosing a moisturizer because not all are made the same and some can actually make your skin drier. For us, using the Ureadin Lotion 10 was an obvious choice. The lotion contains Urea Isdin and Dexpanthenol, both of which work together to retain moisture in your skin. Even my husband noticed the huge difference in his own skin. He loved how soft his feet were feeling from using the lotion. You can definitely use this lotion all over you body where your skin is dry, tight and itchy without irritation.

Soak those tender feet! If you have extremely dry feet like me, take some time daily to soak them in the tub in warm water. Not only will this give them some relief to sore achy feet, it also helps to exfoliate the dry skin away. It is important to follow this up with a quick exfoliation with a pumice stone and a moisturizer designed for dry feet, like Ureadin Podos. This specially designed formula uses lactic acid to exfoliate and then emollients like Shea butter to re-hydrate the skin. You can actually expect to begin to see results in three days!

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

I have been using Ureadin Podos on my feet for the last three weeks and I love the difference it has made in my heels, toes and the balls of my feet. It instantly soothes the dry, sore skin on my feet while improving the look and feel of my feet. This is the difference in my feet over the last three weeks:

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

My skin is brighter, the cracks have healed and they are definitely not as rough. They are much smoother to the touch and I am not embarrassed to wear sandals.

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

If you are heading out swimming, pack the moisturizer. Swimming can really dry out your skin with all of the chemicals, so make sure you are applying both sunscreen and moisturizer. The Ureadin spray on moisturizer was a blessing for us. It was easy to pack and even easier to apply. You literally spray on and it dries on its own within seconds (which when you are struggling to get moisturizer on a child this is definitely a win-win for any parent). It has a light scent (almost reminded me of baby powder) and is suitable for all skin types. So no more worrying about carrying different creams for different skin types.

Keep hydrated! This is so important – you really need to ensure you are in taking an adequate amount of water throughout the day especially if you are sweating.

Preventive care is so important to prevent painful, dry and cracked skin – especially now that we have almost reached summer. How do you help prevent and soothe dry and cracked skin?

If you would like more information or would like to purchase the Ureadin Hydration line of products, head over to their website now to get more information and purchasing details.

Disclosure: I am part of the Intega Influencer Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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The Better Sleep Month Project

The Better Sleep Month Project

I think we can all agree that sleep deprivation is felt by so many of us, whether it be in the early parenting stages when you are living on two to four hours of sleep or later on when you have multiple commitments to work, family, extra curricular activities and more. We live in a society where we are constantly on the go, our minds never stop and this has in turn harmed our sleep patterns and in turn our overall health. How many of you are miserable after not getting a good sleep at night? I know I am! I can’t concentrate, I am sarcastic and snappier – all of which I don’t want to be.

I know for myself that there are many nights I can not turn my mind off. I am constantly going through lists to see whether I have done everything that I needed to do and the worst is just as you are about to fall asleep you remember that one thing you forgot and bam! I am now officially up and worrying about something I can not even control. Learning how to put this thoughts and troubles on the back burner is key to a good night sleep.

Casper (the makers of the innovative sleep set including mattress, sheets and pillow) are invested in insuring you sleep soundly every night. Casper created the perfect mattress combination after hours of testing (and by real people!) and developed a mattress that combines latex, memory and support foam. This combination provides just enough give but still leaves you feeling supported. Top this off with their sheets and pillows with breathability, softness and strength and you have a win – win situation! Casper gets it – in order to have a healthy, productive day we need a sound sleep. So how do we achieve this? Here are some key problems that have been identified and solutions to them:

The Better Sleep Month ProjectThis is me in a nut shell. My mind never stops, I am constantly worrying about something, going over lists, etc. So now I have started a physical to do list where I can scratch off items as I complete them and I check it around 7:30pm for the last time of the day, then I take a bath listening to nature sounds and then it is cuddle time with the kids. This has really helped me with calming my mind down during my busy days. I allow myself the reassurance that I have completed everything I needed to do, I give myself some much needed me time and then I spend quiet moments with my kids.

The Better Sleep Month Project

I have suffered with anxiety for years and this kind of ties into my problem of the busy mind at night! Yoga has definitely helped me with my anxiety in the last six months forcing me to focus on my breathing and the movements. Even moving through simple sun salutations while listening to calming music makes a world of a difference to me at night. I forget about the stress of the day as I concentrate on deep breathing and stretching fully through the movements. Or if you are really into it, try a Pranayama app to help with deep breathing and meditation exercises. My kids laugh when I put my app on but I love it as I have to really focus on breathing fully in and exhaling completely.

The Better Sleep Month Project

How many of us have laid there at night, praying for sleep to come as we scroll one more time through Facebook or Pinterest hoping this will help us fall asleep. The key here is to put the distraction away aka your phone, your iPad or any other hand held device (hard for so many of us – especially those who work from home). But it is key to getting a better sleep, our phones distract us and keep us up longer at night.

The Better Sleep Month Project

Invest in your sleep – this means purchasing a comfortable mattress. It seems simple but so many times we put other things in front of our own personal comfort. There is nothing better than laying down in a comfortable, welcoming, soft mattress. Your body and mind will thank you!

These are just a few tips to get you started on your Better Sleep Month Project, what tools do you utilize for ensuring a good night sleep?

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Take Back Your Life and Gain Confidence While Dealing with SUI

Take Back Your Life and Confidence While Dealing With SUI

As women, we are led to belief that our bodies need to be perfect, that the body image outside of societal norm is wrong and that we should be ashamed of our bodies if they don’t function the so-called ‘normal’ way. But the real definition of normal ranges greatly from woman to woman and body type to body type. We need to let go of the societal image when seeking help for women’s health concerns, especially with an extremely common condition called Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI).

My first experience with SUI came while I was pregnant with my second son. I had gained quite a bit of weight and the first few times it happened, I was in so much shock, I just ignored it. I did not want to believe my body had betrayed me and I most certainly did not want to talk about it with my husband or doctor (how do you even begin to have those conversations??). Instead of confronting my fears and seeking help, I suffered in silence and tried everything I could to ignore and control others from noticing it.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence while Dealing with SUI

This clearly did not work. I kept believing it would get better after giving birth to my son (it just had to) but instead it became worse. SUI was beginning to affect my life so much that I did not want to go yoga out of fear of leaks; I had to ensure I was constantly wearing a liner just in case and if I forgot to wear one; I was clenching my legs shut out of sheer fear alone. This had such a negative toll on my mental health, I was so unhappy and it showed in my self-confidence and self-worth. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to get dressed up and I most certainly did not want to exercise in public because of my shame. That was when I knew I had to stop this vicious cycle and only I had the power to do so.

My first step was letting go of the perfect body image I had in my mind, I had to let go of expectations and embrace my body for what it was. Sure it leaked but the more I accepted this, the easier it became easier to seek help. I found I wasn’t alone and I actually had someone to talk to my fears about. Taking the time to reach out to your doctor is key as you need to make sure there are no underlying factors causing SUI symptoms such as a bladder infection. My doctor made me feel so comfortable and she even shared her own stories.

The next step is to take charge of your health, surgical options are definitely not a desired treatment plan for most (at least not in my case) so start with the basics, such as losing weight, exercising, taking bathroom breaks, using a panty liner.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence While Dealing With SUI

Even these simple steps can sometimes not be enough and that is where Poise Impressa comes in. Poise Impressa is an intravaginal device that helps to manage SUI. It works by pressing against the urethra which helps stop urine from leaking out, eliminating the need for liners and being self-conscious about a smell or that anyone would notice that this has happened to you.

I was really curious about the actual design of the Impressa, how would it look and how to insert it. I was surprised to see that it is just slightly longer than a tampon, slightly wider and inserted the same way you would a tampon by pushing the device from the bottom which inserts the Impressa into the vaginal canal. This gave me so much relief as I get nervous using tampons sometimes – I worry about string length, if it will be difficult to insert or hold the device to insert. The insertion was simple and I had no problems with that part.

At first I felt conscious of the Poise Impressa being in place as I could feel the pressure it placed towards the front of the vaginal wall and I wanted to keep checking the strings and making sure it was in place properly. But this pressure is a good sign as the device was doing what it should be doing by putting slight pressure on the urethra to prevent leaks. Soon I found that the more I kept moving, it quickly became forgotten and it was just there similar to the same feeling of a tampon being present. It did not interfere with any of my daily activities from work to yoga to walking the dog. It remained in place all day and I put it to a daily challenge for the entire week by not wearing a panty liner – to my surprise (and relief!) I did not have one leak. This was pretty impressive for such a small device.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence While Dealing with SUI

The Poise Impressa comes in three different sizes so if Size One doesn’t fit properly or starts to displace then simply try the next size up and so on until you hit size three. Remember, all of our bodies are different! Let go of any expectation and ensure the size is comfortable, fits properly to your body and does the job. You can wear the Impressa for up to eight hours and you do not have to remove it if you have to urinate which is a bonus. If I had to remove it every time I went to the bathroom I would be going through them like crazy! Removal is simple and does not hurt, I was worried once it expanded it would be difficult to remove but with the slightest pressure on the strings, the Impressa popped right out and in the garbage it went.

I am a number person and I found these statistics shocking. Clearly women are embarrassed and uncomfortable talking about a common problem that has easy solutions to help you manage it.

SUI Statistics:

  • 75% of Canadian women experience SUI when they sneeze.
  • 72% of Canadian women experience SUI when they cough.
  • More than 4 in 10 Canadian women experience SUI post pregnancy or childbirth.
  • 72% of women aged 45-54 feel self-conscious as a result of SUI.
  • 59% of Canadian women feel self-conscious.
  • 53% of Canadian women feel embarrassed.

Take Back Your Life and Confidence while Dealing with SUI

Now that you know you aren’t alone, it is so important to seek the help you need. Talk to other women, talk to your doctor and try Poise Impressa as a step to controlling your SUI symptoms.

Have you ever dealt with SUI? What have you tried that seems to be working? Would you use a device like Poise Impressa?

Disclosure: I received a sample of Poise Impressa in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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