Sunday, 30 June 2013

4 Resources to Help Manage Your IBS

Last month I had the opportunity to work with the creator of IBS Impact – a blog and website run by and for those with IBS.  I wrote an article for their blog about Canadian IBS resources and certainly hope to contribute to the site again.  In an effort to ensure that my readers don’t miss out on some of this information, I wanted to share some of the highlights with you.  If you are not Canadian – don’t fret!  You will likely still find a gem or two in here that will help you in your IBS journey.

Did you know that approximately five million Canadians now suffer from IBS?  If you are reading this blog, you are likely one of them.  Are you constantly looking for credible resources that can help you cope with the reality of unruly bowels?  Check out the sources below for a few that I would recommend:

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF): The CDHF has created a free app compatible on both iPhone and Android called GI BodyGuard.  This app will track your bowel patterns, your pain level, food, medication and other symptoms.  If you suspect you may have a bowel condition, you may want to consider using this app before you see a physician so that you can show your GP exactly what you are experiencing.  I certainly wish this had been available when my symptoms first started! 

Canadian Society of Intestinal Research:  I am not a pamphlet-lover and find that the information available in them is often obvious; however, I would recommend taking advantage of the free pamphlet-mailing service available for a multitude of digestive conditions.  The information available in these was actually pretty great and would be an excellent starting point for someone newly-diagnosed or perhaps for someone trying to determine if they have a certain digestive condition. 

Capital District Health Authority (Nova Scotia):  Through the Nutrition Education Clinic in Halifax and Dartmouth, the CDHA offers an Irritable Bowel Syndrome Program.   After a referral from your GP, patients can take part in one of the regularly scheduled classes where you interact with other sufferers and a nutritionist to learn how to manage your symptoms through nutrition. If you have any questions I would recommend calling the number available on their website – I called to inquire about the program when researching my article for IBS Impact and they were extremely helpful. 

Can’t Wait:  In this technology-crazed world, I cannot help but include another app recommendation!  The Can’t Wait app (developed by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada) is your key to finding the closest washroom when you feel as if… well – as if you can’t wait!  Using your phone’s GPS, this app will generate a list of the closest public washrooms so that you can stop panicking and get on with your day.  The only drawback is that it is not 100% accurate – I did test it from my home and it did not identify the washroom that was actually the closest; however, if you were in a downtown core I believe it would be more accurate than in a rural setting.    

Now, I know there are likely many resources that are not covered above, so my question to you is – what is the most useful resource you have stumbled across to manage your digestive disorder?  I would love to compile a list and I am certain your fellow readers would be appreciative if you would share your go-to source for support, information or for symptom management.   

Monday, 10 June 2013

Exploring Pup-Friendly Places

Since getting our fur baby, Hugo, my husband and I have not only been initiated into the sub-culture of dog-ownership, but our lives are slowly beginning to center around "cool places" for Hugo to go for a walk and/or play.  Most of my evenings are spent shoveling down some food followed by a jaunt with the baby that will hopefully tire him out long enough for me to work on the blog (as you can see, that is going really well!), homework, writing about IBS or housework.  I have stopped thinking about what I want to do and imagine what is going on in his little brain and think - would Hugo like this?  And how could I not - he is just so damn cute!

In this vein, I have found a few of those "cool places".  These discoveries occurred out of necessity as I quickly realized that Hugo is too stubborn and too nosy to walk up and down our street.  He wants to stop and watch everything - that leaf blowing by, that car pulling out of the driveway, that bird flying in the air, those people shutting their curtains - Hugo is now the neighbourhood watch.

As endearing as this can sometimes be, it drives me nuts.  I am not one for standing around, I like to move and at a good clip.  Hugo has not yet adopted this habit of mine.  So, I was forced to be creative - I took him over to Hail Pond, a little trail around a pond that I never want him to swim in.  He doesn't do too badly there, you have to drag him the first half of the way, armed with treats and a black heart that will allow you to ignore his fake choking dramatics.  But, once he reaches that invisible halfway point he books it.

Now that he has been doing Hail Pond for awhile, we have added another spot into our routine - Hemlock Ravine Park.  This park is all charm, especially given the story behind the heart-shaped pond.

Hugo loves it here - this is where he met his friend Axel, the Bernese therapy dog.  They became fast friends and I had a glimpse of Hugo's future size - he will likely outweigh Axel!

I let him off leash here and we are working to ensure he sticks close to me.  He does pretty well; he likes to do short bursts of galloping - perhaps he is imagining himself frolicking in the Swiss Alps, the land of his ancestors!