Stress is your body’s way of reacting to a challenge. It could be adaptive and defensive in the short term, but can also have some negative effects on your mental and physical health if prolonged and poorly managed. Studies have shown that women are different from men not only in their emotional responses to stressful conditions, but also that severe and prolonged stress affects women’s physical and mental health more. The effects of stress, however, vary according to your stress level. If the stress of kids, home, work and relationships, all come at the same time then the damage will certainly be more. Below are some common effects of stress on a woman’s health:
Women are ten times more likely to develop eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia when they are stressed. In other words, they sometimes tend to reach out for junk foods or unhealthy comfort foods, or starve themselves. Based on how you handle the situation, this could either lead to weight loss or weight gain.
Infertility and/or Irregular Periods
Although there is no sufficient research that shows a clear link between stress and infertility, some studies have shown that women who have high alpha-amylase levels, an enzyme that’s linked to stress, have a hard time getting pregnant. However, the women with low concentration of this enzyme during their menstruation are more likely to get pregnant. Severe and prolonged stress can also greatly change the hormonal balance in your body, and this may result in missed, late, or even irregular monthly periods.
Severe psychological or emotional stress could result in a psychological imbalance which could contribute to hair loss. Stress often interrupts your hair’s life cycle, thereby causing it to fall out. Even though you might not notice it during or right after a stressful period, the changes could happen much later.
Have you even been concerned about your own health or the health of a loved one, scrutinized it and felt nauseous all of a sudden? Stress can upset your stomach, and nausea could be one of the side effects of worry. It’s normal to worry about your loved one’s health or even your own, but obsessing about it is definitely not healthy.
Ask any woman who is struggling to it all and she will admit to a couple of slip-ups in her memory. Studies show that prolonged stress can literally reduce the size of your hippocampus, which is responsible for certain memories. The good news is that it will regain its size as soon as your stress levels are reduced.
You probably already know the feeling of tossing and turning all night while thinking over the following day’s events or the problems you have at work. And, as you would have thought, stress is a known cause of sleeplessness and this could result in concentration problems, crankiness, fatigue, and lack of motivation.
Reduced Libido or Sex Drive
Important life events that cause stress, such as relocating to a new town or starting a new job, could reduce sex drive in women. This can happen when the increased cortisol levels overpower your body’s natural sex hormones.