Could stress be impacting your daily life? We all go through periods of stress, but did you know that when you’re stressed out, your body releases hormones like cortisol that can have an impact on nearly every aspect of your health? Let’s take a look at how stress works inside your body, and why it impacts women differently.
How Does Stress Change Your Hormones?
When reacting to stressors, the body releases hormones such as cortisol, which causes a temporary increase in energy production, sometimes at the cost of other bodily process not required for immediate survival, such as digestion and immune system function. In women, these hormone changes impact bodily processes in unique ways, which can lead to short- and long-term health problems.
1. Reduced Sex Drive
Major life events that cause stress, like starting a new job or moving to a new city, may lower libido, according to Dr. Irwin Goldstein, M.D. This can occur when elevated levels of cortisol suppress the body’s natural sex hormones.
2. Irregular Periods
Acute and chronic stress can fundamentally alter the body’s hormone balance, which can lead to missed, late or irregular periods. Researchers have also found that women in stressful jobs are at a 50 percent higher risk for short cycle length (less than 24 days) than women who do not work in high-stress positions.
3. Acne Breakouts
Raised levels of cortisol in the body can cause excess oil production that contributes to the development of acne breakouts. A 2003 study observed that female college students experienced more breakouts during exam periods due to increased stress.
– via The Huffington Post
Understanding how stress functions for you, and how it works in your body, can be a powerful first step in understanding how to resolve it. Knowledge is power, after all!
Reclaim Your Happiness By Stomping Out Stress
Chronic or long term stress is stress that stays with us for months – or even years. We know that psychological stress disrupts blood sugar metabolism which can be a key factor in diabetes. Chronic stress also affects our immune systems and increases the risk for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism and allergies. Studies conducted in 2006 showed a direct correlation between stress and cardiovascular disease. In a recent study conducted with 58 women – those under high levels of stress showed an increase in oxidative stress and cellular aging!
I always urge women to look at the sources of their stress. While some of these sources might be difficult to admit, they are easy to recognize. Sometimes stress comes from a job you love but has changed, other times from a relationship. Long term stress can develop from experiences in our childhoods. The ACE – Adverse Childhood Event – Study (1998) showed that children who experienced adverse childhood events were more apt to have adverse health conditions or disease as adults. Some of the adverse childhood events which were reported are:
- Growing up with an alcoholic
- Growing up with a drug user
- Recurrent sexual, emotional or physical abuse
- Living with someone who was mentally chronically depressed or who was treated violently
- If a child in some way was separated from a parent – through death, divorce, illness or separation
Dealing with emotional stress is one piece of your happiness – but I know from years of practice that stress is a larger piece of our physical wellness than many people have considered.
Every woman has a different journey when getting to the root cause of her stress – and everyone resolves their stress differently.
– via www.womentowomen.com
Can you see any of these signs of stress in yourself? Check out the other articles on this blog to learn more about what you can do about it!