Women's Health Matters

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A Question of Health

Exercise and bone health
A key way to promote bone health and build bone strength is physical exercise. Several fitness elements are important in bone health and fall prevention, including weight-bearing exercise, muscle-strengthening exercise, activities that improve balance, and posture training.

Gestational diabetes: high blood sugar in pregnancy
Gestational diabetes affects about six per cent of pregnancies in Canada. Like type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is a condition in which the body has trouble making or using a hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas.

Breast awareness: no one knows your breasts as well as you do
Although breast self-exams are no longer recommended, every woman can know her own breasts: how they look and feel, and what is normal for her. Breast awareness enables women to recognize changes in their breasts and have them checked out.

The Health Gap: social determinants of health
One of the questions many people have asked in response to our Health Gap campaign is, how can there be a health gap when Canada has universal healthcare? It’s an excellent question, and one that brings up some crucial issues affecting health.

The Health Gap: why focus on women's health when men get sick, too?
One of the reasons Women’s College Hospital launched the Health Gap campaign was to start a conversation about important women's health issues. We’re very excited about the feedback we’ve received and the opportunity to talk about what we’re hearing. Several people asked why Women’s College focuses on women’s health when men get sick, too – often with the same conditions.

Taking fall prevention outside
For many people in midlife, and even for active older adults, the risk of an outdoor fall may be greater than the risk of a fall at home. Making small changes can help reduce that risk.

Fall prevention: home hazards
Fall prevention averts more than just falls. It also prevents the injuries, chronic pain, disability, loss of mobility, and even deaths that falls cause. Because many falls – especially in older adults – still occur at home, that’s a good place to start.

What's the difference between heart attack, heart failure, and stroke? Heart attack, heart failure and stroke are different conditions that affect people in different ways. Dr. Paula Harvey, director of the cardiovascular research program at Women’s College Hospital, explains the difference.

Breast cancer surgery: the importance of lymph node dissection
Breast cancer surgery involves more than just removing tumours. Surgeons also need to take a closer look at how cancer cells are behaving in the body.

What is RU 486 (mifepristone), and how does it work?
RU 486, also called mifepristone, is a drug used to induce abortion in early pregnancy. It was approved for use in Canada in July 2015, and is expected to be available in Canada early in 2017 under the trade name Mifegymiso.

Can BMI affect fertility?
Having a body mass index (BMI) that is higher or lower than normal can affect many aspects of health, including reproductive health. Being overweight or obese, as well as being underweight, can affect fertility. Obesity in particular has been linked to increased risk of difficulty getting pregnant.

Summer fitness: what you need to know about warm weather workouts
Summer is a great time for outdoor activities, but it has its own challenges: extreme heat, humidity, poor air quality and the sun’s UV rays are just a few of the things to consider when planning a warm weather workout. Registered kinesiologist Faith Delos-Reyes, program coordinator and exercise specialist with the Women's Cardiovascular Health Initiative at Women's College Hospital, offers tips on avoiding the hazards of summer fitness.

Take the nutritious jump before the baby bump!
A healthy diet during preconception (three months before pregnancy) is important to a healthy pregnancy. This month, Women's Health Matters welcomes Ferdeela Shah, BASc, dietetic intern at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Women's College Hospital, to write about nutrition needs for women who are thinking about becoming pregnant.

Managing incontinence
Incontinence – the involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder – is a very common symptom. This month, Women’s Health Matters spoke to Frances Stewart, advanced practice nurse and nurse continence advisor at Women’s College Hospital, about different types of incontinence and how to manage them.

Effective Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which support the bladder and other pelvic organs, and can help treat stress urinary incontinence. Women's Health Matters spoke to Frances Stewart, advanced practice nurse and nurse continence advisor at Women's College Hospital, about how to do Kegels correctly to achieve results.

Heavy periods
Heavy periods can be more than just an inconvenience. They can also affect a woman's health and quality of life. Women’s Health Matters spoke to Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital, about possible causes and treatments.

When should I seek fertility help?
It's not always easy to get pregnant. Women's Health Matters spoke to Dr. Sony Sierra, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital who specializes in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, about when to seek fertility help.

Missed or infrequent periods
Your period can be considered a vital sign. It’s a sign that your body is in a healthy enough state to support a pregnancy. Women's Health Matters asked Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital, about missed or infrequent periods.

Are women who identify as LGBTQ less likely to get a Pap test?
Cervical cancer screening saves lives. However, some groups of women may be less likely to get screened regularly. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) women are one of those groups. This month, Women’s Health Matters spoke to Dr. Sheila Dunn, research director at the Family Practice Health Centre at Women’s College Hospital, about why all women need regular Pap tests.

How can I manage multiple medications?
Taking prescribed medications correctly and consistently is an important part of treatment for many health conditions. Women’s Health Matters asked Natalie Crown, PharmD, pharmacy clinician educator at Women’s College Hospital, for her tips on managing medications.

What's the difference between being depressed and being sad or unhappy?
Depression is an illness, and is not the same thing as being sad or unhappy, although those feelings may be symptoms of depression. This month, Dr. Simone Vigod, a psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital, explains that everyone experiences life’s ups and downs, but not everyone experiences depression.

How can I prevent falls at home?
Falls are a major cause of injury, and many falls happen at home. We spoke to Shelley Thakrar, a physiotherapist with the Endocrinology Program and the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative at Women’s College Hospital, about ways to prevent falls at home.

What is overactive bladder?
People with overactive bladder make eight or more trips to the bathroom a day, and may get up twice or more in the night, with an urgent need to urinate. They may also experience urge incontinence. We spoke to Frances Stewart, advanced practice nurse and nurse continence advisor at Women’s College Hospital, about overactive bladder, and steps people can take to help manage it.

Flu shot myths and facts
October is the start of flu season. As the flu virus starts to circulate, so do questions about flu shots and flu prevention. To clear up some common concerns, Women’s Health Matters spoke to Jessica Ng, manager of infection prevention & control at Women’s College Hospital, about flu vaccine myths and facts.

What is an abusive relationship?
Most people are aware that physical violence by a spouse or partner is abusive behaviour. But abuse isn’t always physical. There are other types of abuse that occur within intimate partner relationships. We spoke to Dr. Janice Du Mont, a scientist in the Violence and Health Research Program at Women’s College Research Institute, about different types of abuse.

What's the difference between "baby blues" and postpartum depression?
Women’s Health Matters spoke to Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis, senior scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute and Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research at Women’s College Hospital, about the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression.

When should I have a mole checked out?
We spoke with Dr. Jensen Yeung, medical director of the Ricky Kanee Schachter Dermatology Centre and the Phototherapy Education and Research Centre at Women’s College Hospital, about how to monitor your own skin for suspicious moles.

Do sensational media reports reflect the realities of sexual assault?
In June, we spoke to Dr. Janice Du Mont, a scientist in the Violence and Health Research Program at Women’s College Research Institute, about the recent media coverage of high-profile sexual assault cases.

Why does MS affect more women than men?
For multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness month in May, Women’s Health Matters spoke with Dr. Shannon Dunn, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and Toronto General Research Institute, about her research into sex differences in MS.

How can I reduce my sodium intake? 
Women's Health Matters spoke to Nicole Bourgeois, registered dietitian with the Family Practice Care Centre at Women’s College Hospital, about how much sodium we need, why too much can be a problem, and ways to reduce our sodium intake.

When should I see my doctor about headaches?
We spoke to headache specialist Dr. Christine Lay, director of the Centre for Headache at Women’s College Hospital, about the difference between common headaches and migraine, and when it's time to see a doctor.

How can I reduce my heart health risks?
February is heart health month, so we spoke to Jennifer Price, an advanced practice nurse with the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative (WCHI) at Women’s College Hospital, about heart health risks and how to reduce them.

Should I be taking a multivitamin?
Women’s Health Matters spoke to Behnaz Abedi and Nicole Bourgeois, registered dietitians with the Family Practice Care Centre at Women’s College Hospital, about who might benefit from taking a multivitamin. 


2012

Prebiotics and probiotics: what's the difference?
Women’s Health Matters spoke to Behnaz Abedi, registered dietician, Family Practice Care Centre at Women’s College Hospital, about the differences between prebiotics and probiotics.

Heartburn and acid reflux: what's the difference?
Women’s Health Matters spoke to Dr. Jeff Stal, a gastroenterologist at Women’s College Hospital, about the relationship between heartburn and acid reflux.

Heart disease symptoms in women
We asked Jennifer Price, an advanced practice nurse with the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative at Women’s College Hospital, for information on the differences in heart disease symptoms between men and women, and tips for maintaining heart health.

Realistic health resolutions
We asked Dr. Danielle Martin, a family physician with the Women’s College Hospital Family Practice Health Centre, for some realistic health resolutions that can make a real difference.

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