Stress and Health – Stress Causes and Effects in Women
Stressful events seem to be lurking around every corner, from a difficult deadline at work to your child’s upcoming science fair project – and the holidays are just around the corner. According to experts, not all stress is bad. For some people, a little stress acts as a motivation to check a few more items off their daily to-do list. But what about when you feel completely overwhelmed?
According to mental health experts, you should know your personal limits to avoid serious side effects of stress at all times. Some people cope with stress more effectively and recover from difficult events quicker so it is important to take a personal inventory every once in a while to avoid a major meltdown.
How stress affects our body?
Stress triggers a chain reaction of physiological effects in our body. When your brain detects a stressor, your hypothalamus releases the hormone cortisol, which then jumps into your bloodstream and locks into receptors in your tissues and organs. Your blood sugar goes up, adrenaline raises your heart rate, and oxygen fills your muscles. Your body readies itself for a threat, the evolutionary reaction commonly known as “fight or flight.”
But stress also has an emotional component. It emerges from the functioning of the motivational system like all emotional responses. It is perpetuated by negativity. If you find yourself in a negative cycle, try to focus on the positive aspects of your life.
Does stress take a toll on us?
Chronic stress can lead to sleep and digestive issues, headaches, and body aches, depression and irritability, just to name a few potential issues.
Researchers have confirmed that continued strain on your body from routine stress is often the hardest to detect but could lead to serious health problems such as:
High blood pressure
Chronic stress is linked to six leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
According to studies, women are 8% more likely than men to report having stress and suffer from its side effects.
Common Signs of Stress in Women
51% of people have cited fatigue as a major symptom according to studies. When women are stressed they tend to get more tired and dizzy. Along with worrying about things all the time, sleeplessness is also one of the major symptoms. This, in turn, makes them irritable and panicky.
Being quite acute in the case of women, 44% of people feel that they experience more headache if they are stressed than other symptoms. It can cause frequent headaches and migraines. To ease the condition its best to stick to a healthy eating and sleeping pattern.
Bad Period Cramps
As compared to others, highly stressed women are more than twice likely to get very painful periods. Your mental turbulence takes a toll on your physical condition and aggravates mood swings, which anyways are quite common in periods. This also increases the pain and makes you feel miserable.
Stress can aggravate a sore jaw or grinding teeth, which occurs during sleep. It’s important to note that even the stress hormone cortisol impairs the immunity system and makes you more prone to bacteria. This can also lead to bleeding gums, which can be an alarming sign. Teeth grinding is a major symptom of stress according to 17% of people.
Acne or Pimples
It’s no surprise that stress causes inflammation and leads to unexpected acne and pimples. This, in turn, causes more stressful conditions and affects the mind and self-confidence in a negative way. Stress hives are also common.
Lower Sex Drive
Around 15% of people have felt that a change in their sex drives is a symptom of stress, which is true in every respect. Stress can directly lead to lower sex drive which can be either in your personal or social lives.
As compared to others, people with itchy skin are more stressed. It is not quite uncommon for an anxious or tense mind to aggravate conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and others among women.
Muscle tension has been identified as one of the symptoms of stress according to 30% of people. This can also lead to excessive belly aches. Women with chronic stress can feel three times more abdominal pain than others.
How to cope with stress
It takes a long time before the effects of stress often manifest themselves. As such, adopting proactive and practical approaches to manage and cope with stress is an important practice for everyone. Some of these actions can include:
Give up bad habits, such as excessive drinking, smoking cigarettes, or consuming too much caffeine
Seek mental health treatment from a qualified mental health care provider, especially if you have previously used drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, or have suicidal thoughts.
Check-in with your healthcare provider regularly about new or worsening side effects of stress
Join an anxiety disorder support group
Stay in touch with family members or friends who can lend a helping hand when you get too overwhelmed
Learn to recognize the symptoms of chronic stress, and be mindful of times when you experience those symptoms more so than usual
Make it a point to prioritize your day-to-day tasks, and say no to additional tasks that will prevent you from accomplishing your goals
Make lists of the things you’ve accomplished–not the things you were unable to do
Consider a change in diet and exercise on a regular basis to reduce stress and to improve your mood
Understand that stress does not make you helpless. Like with anything else in life, it helps to have a plan when a stressor comes upon you. Having a plan may allow you to bypass a situation that usually stresses you out. Remember – you have control!Tags: anxiety, mental health, stree, stress causes, stress effects in women, stress in women