The effects of stress are both responsible for affecting your emotional as well as your physical health. Women react differently to stress vis-à-vis men do. Stress can worsen your health, and its symptoms can cause anything from eating disorders to hazardous health conditions such as heart diseases. As per statistics, about 75% to 90% medical care visits are due to stress-related issues. There is one method to keep your stress levels in control, and this is by maintaining a routine of exercising and relaxation.
The female sex hormones and brain chemistry help to give little protection from stress. However, women are much more affected by both physical and emotional stress as compared to men. Their reactions to stress are rooted within their body chemistry. Men contain high levels of androgen whereas women have higher levels of estrogen. Their brains also function differently. Women mostly react to stress far differently than men. They refrain from having a fight response instead they make use of the negotiation method.
How Does Stress Affect Women?
Oxytocin, which is a natural anti-stress hormone produced during childbirth, breastfeed and also in both sexes during orgasms. This hormone secretion is enhanced by estrogen hormone and reduced by testosterone hormone. This process proves to be effective to women than men as nurturing activities promotes oxytocin levels in women. But, women require more oxytocin than men with regards to maintaining their emotional health. For example, when women do not feel touched by their man they are negatively affected as they are more stressed in a relationship as compared to men.
As per the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), stress is defined as an expression which appears to be the body’s first instinct to protect itself. This warns women of the immediate possibility of danger such as a fast approaching car. If the stress effects are prolonged, they can have an adverse impact on your physical as well emotional health.
What Are The Physical Stress Effects?
The stress effects may vary, but facing stress levels at work, family, neighbors, friends, and marriage altogether is a problem. In the case of women, there are changes noticed during menstrual patterns. Most of them face a massive increase in stress due to hormonal changes. Too much stress leads to hair loss or even menstrual irregularities. As per the National Women’s Health Information Center, the effects of stress in women may result in causing headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. Specific physical stress effects include:
Specific physical stress effects include:
- Eating Disorders: Research has proved that anorexia and bulimia are 10 times more likely to be seen in women than in men and this is because this is one of the side effects of stress. When the body faces low levels of serotonin, it leads to causing anorexia or bulimia, just like depression. This disorder is often treated by making use of serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs.
- Stomach Disorders: Stress is one of the main causes that make you succumb to the pressure of emotional binging. You look forward to and reach out for junk or comfort foods which may upset your stomach to a point where you just feel like you are about to burst. Some of the common stress-related stomach ailments are cramps, bloating, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome. This can directly lead to unnecessary weight gain which brings along another set of medical disorders.
- Skin Conditions: Stress causes breakouts and itchy rashes. It can also lead to causing hives in women.
- Emotional Condition: Your emotional health suffers due to stress as it can lead you from a blue or irritable mood to more serious mental issues such as depression. Women can hide their emotions in a better manner than men as emotions such as anger and aggressiveness are larger emotions which are more visible in men. However, as per research, depression strikes women twice as often as men. The emotional effects of stress in women can be from postpartum depression which is caused immediately after pregnancy to depression after menopause.
- Sleep Conditions: Insomnia is one of the adverse effects of stress, and this is particularly counterproductive as a good peaceful night’s sleep can help to ease stress levels.
- Lack Of Concentration: Stress does not allow you to focus and this can cause negative implications both at work and at home.
- Heart Conditions: Competition levels are so high in today’s job market that this has increased women’s heart disease risk. Stress has an overall negative impact on the entire cardiovascular system, and this leads to causing high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks.
- Low Immunity Conditions: The body loses its ability to fight off diseases whether it is the common cold or a chronic condition and this is a result of the complicated physical reaction of stress.
- Cancer: There have been certain studies which have proved a connection between stress and development of breast or ovarian cancer. There has been research conducted whereby it has been found that the risk of breast cancer was higher by 62% in women who faced highly stressful life event, e.g. divorce or the death of a spouse.
What Are The Techniques To Lower Physical Stress Effect?
There have been researchers who have presented a discussion at the Western Psychological Associated meeting on how to properly handle stress. The important topic of discussion also was ‘ What was the most important stress management strategy?’. Below mentioned are some vital tips for stress management:
- Eat right: By ensuring to consume a well-balanced meal and avoiding junk food can promote physical well-being and also enhance your emotional health.
- Exercise: Exercise is a phenomenal method to deal with stress as well as depression. By staying active, you can lift your spirits and enhance the release of endorphins in a natural manner which is a chemical associated with feel-good moods.
- Relaxation: Stay connected with family and friends. Spend time with people you like. Stick to your favorite hobbies. A recent study has proved that activities linked a resurgence in knitting and needlepoint as it helps to reduce stress effects. The various other popular stress busters are yoga, meditation, and tai-chi.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress and facing its adverse effects, discuss with your doctor on ways and means to deal with this. In the bargain, you may also learn new techniques to deal with stress. Find yourself some therapy by seeking the help of a mental health professional as it will help you keep your stress levels in control.