Thursday, 22 September 2016

Trials and Tribulations of Potty Training

I haven't been doing a lot of running these past months. Partly due to injury, but more so due to all of my attention being diverted to W's potty issues.

I mentioned previously that we have had a couple of Dr's appointment due to withholding and functional constipation. I have been reading everything from peer reviewed medical articles, naturopathic articles and mommy blogs to try to help him work through it.

While our Dr. initially prescribed Miralax, I have reservations for a couple of reasons. For one, it didn't help us. His blockages remained but watery poop passed around them, leaking into his diaper up to nine times a day. I also found evidence that Miralax has many adverse side effects. Most concerning is the fact that it has never been approved on label for pediatric use.  You can read more about that here if you are interested.

I am sharing a short listing here of potential remedies for other parents who might need help navigating this tricky issue.

More water: If you are going to add fibre you need to increase water. In an attempt to get more fluids in W we also give him juice once a day. This is something I hadn't done before but there is a water content and many juices have a laxative effect (papaya and pear if you can find it). We have also tried to make it more fun with ice cubes and new water bottles.

Lansoyl or mineral oil: At our last appointment our Dr. was very receptive to our concerns and suggested we try Lansoyl - a fruit flavoured mineral oil jelly that can easily be mixed with jam at breakfast time.  *mineral oil should not be given to infants.

Flax meal: I try to ensure W has a high fibre and nutritious diet. That said, I have been making a concerted effort to sneak in additional fibre where possible.  Flax meal in peanut butter is one solution. While peanut butter can be a binding food (= leads to constipation), we do give him it once a day mixed with flax meal and topped with the Lansoly/jam mixture mentioned above.  I also made these muffins on the weekend and they were a quick family favorite.

Reducing binding foods: through research on naturopath and health food focused sources I have read that there are a number of foods that can contribute to constipation in children.  Frequent offenders in our house include bananas, too much dairy, and apple sauce. In retrospect, I realized things used to replace eggs as binding agents often make the list.

Increase beneficial foods:  We have all been eating more pears, prunes, coconut oil, figs etc. in an attempt to model healthy gut behaviours.  There is some great information on this site and some pin-able reminders too.

Calm Magnesium Supplement: This powder is easily mixed in water or juice and has a lemonade taste. 

Magnesium, a gentle laxative, helps to prevent constipation by relaxing the walls of the colon. This role of magnesium is very relevant when you are under stress, have anxiety, or have too many worries. Magnesium, normalizes tension on colon walls allowing for a normal peristaltic action. Also magnesium attracts water and allows you to bring in more water into your colon.

Additional remedies: Aloe vera gel apparently works quite well but I have yet to find a way to disguise it enough for W to take it.  Ex-lax will work in a pinch (I have used it past the 7 day mark) but it is habit forming.

I also suggest keeping track of all bowel movements using a calendar. There are some really good resources online (see here).

We have had small victories. We went from 7-8 days to a 4 day gap. Still too big, but I am hoping with time things will improve. As always, advice would be great!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Stress Relievers

I am currently battling a summer cold and actually stayed home from work yesterday to try and get some rest.  For the past two years, whenever I get a cold it almost always morphs into bronchitis or a more serious chest infection. I think that had something to do with a lack of sleep and a taxed immune system.  We are all more prone to catching colds/flus when we are stressed. Stress = poor immunity for me.

The combination of not being able to run (my #1 stress reliever) and quite a bit of uncertainty with my job is making me restless.  I am getting an MRI later this week so they can see what is going on. My Dr. suspects a tear that is not healing, which will most likely require a stitch. I am not looking up how that is done.

J also recently found out that he has a hip spur that is a symptom of a degenerative hip condition. In the grand scheme of things, he is pretty healthy, but the more certain thought of a hip replacement in later years has me worried. Don't we all know someone who either bounced back better than before or deals with chronic pain? 

I also have the joys of a soon to be threenager on my hands. Whoever said three would be harder than two was not kidding. He is very emotional and the tantrums are a bit wilder. We are also trying to give him time to potty train (he is almost 34 months).  We currently have a Dr's RX for laxatives for our little guy because he is a "withholder".  If any parents out there have experienced this, please share your words wisdom.

Where am I going with this? Stress relief?? How do you do it? What are your tricks? Here is what I have tried so far:
  • Strength training: I can't run so I am pouring myself into a new world of all things strength training. Right now I mostly feel like it just isn't the same, but I am giving it a chance and following a whole new set of instagrammers. 
  •  Aromatherapy: I went into Saje wellness on the weekend and bought two new scents from the 'relaxation' line for my diffuser.  I then caught a head cold so the jury is out.
  • Yoga: I have done two yoga classes in the past week which is more than I have done in the previous year. I used to love yoga and had plans to do teacher training. I'm not sure what happened along the way but I think it has something to do with all my friends being trail runners.
  • Comedy: I have watched about 75% of the comedians on netflix. There is something about sitting down and laughing at the end of the day that is therapeutic.
If you have any ideas at all, please share away! I am also looking for your resources on strength training. 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Supplements Part 2

I have posted before on supplements I find helpful in supporting joint health and recovery.  It is no secret that I am sometimes hampered by injuries and have found recovery time has lengthened with age.  In addition to focusing on proper nutrition, supplements can replace or bolster missing nutrients and antioxidants.  Also with age, I have noticed my skin changing.  I don't necessarily have a fear of aging, but I do believe you can take preventative steps that improve the health of your skin. Fore example, wearing sunscreen is something we should all be doing for both health and cosmetic reasons.  It is a simple step in reducing or preventing visible signs of aging such as sunspots and more importantly, some forms of skin cancer.

The folks at Etrexa were kind enough to share two supplements with me to test: Derma and Cardio.  Here is the overview both supplements:

  • Nourishes your inner skin layers
  • Improves skin appearance and elasticity
  • Contains: L-lysine, Hyaluronic acid, L-carnosine, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Coenzyme Q10.
  • Eliminated free radicals and damaged proteins
  • Promotes cardiovascular health
  • Helps muscle and nerve tissues regenerate
  • Contains: Coenzyme Q10, Hyaluronic acid, Reservatrol, L-carnosine, Rutin.
Of all those ingredients, I had never heard of Rutin. Rutin is known to exert free radical scavenging activity, and may be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Reservatrol is the antioxidant found in red wine and the reason all your friends tell you it is healthy :)  

With both supplements, it is important to drink plenty of water o maximize the efficiency.  From the reviews I read, the supplements help to lock in the water you drink and ensure it is delivered to your tissues.

The other ingredients are common in topical skin care products, but I have never taken these as dietary supplements.  I have just started the 30-day supply an will report back with a full review. You can find out more about Etrexa here.