Stress got ya feeling like you’re going crazy? 10 Ways Stress Messes with Women’s Health
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When it comes to women’s health, stress really sucks! It can suck up all your energy and make you feel like crap. And while some stress can help you kick butt when your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, daily stress can mess with your mind and body in serious ways.
You can feel like you are losing your mind having stress upon your stress. No worries, you are not alone. Many of us have day to day stress and some we can handle quite well and some can actually have a direct effect on women’s health.
While I’m sure men and women are equally stressed these days, women tend to differ from men not only in their emotional responses to stress but also that acute and chronic stress may take a greater toll on women’s’ physical and mental health.
Chronic stress can affect thyroid hormones, blood sugar hormones (insulin) and sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen etc.)
Stress impact on Women’s Health
Long-term, chronic stress, whether it is emotional, chemical, or physical, has a strong impact on your hormonal health. When put under stress, the body reacts by producing a higher level of the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands.
Below are 10 Ways Stress Messes with Women’s Health
1. Stress and Hormones
People often ask me, “How can I balance my hormones?”. My response is, “You need to take care of your stress levels – first and foremost”. This is one of the major factors I work on with my clients in the Balance and Reset Course.
Stress directly affects the synchronicity of your hormones. If you’re feeling stressed, your hormones will be out of whack. When cortisol levels are constantly high, they affect the production of sex hormones, slow down thyroid function and imbalanced blood sugar levels. They also make it hard for your body to create those ‘feel good’ hormones like serotonin.
The first step to re-balancing your hormones is to minimize stress. With women’s health, we realize this is a more prominent factor with the hormones.
Cortisol has the ability to block Progesterone hormone receptors, which leads to lower levels of the sex hormone, Progesterone.
Progesterone helps feed the production of other sex hormones, so lowered production can also disrupt estrogen levels, leading to issues with ovulation, cycle regularity which affects our fertility.
2. Stress and Weight Gain
From a physical perspective, high cortisol levels are linked to lower thyroid function as well as weight gain, especially around the stomach area. Cortisol also throws off our blood sugar levels, which triggers cravings and overeating.
Ever wondered why you eat more when you’re stressed? This is why. Some people lose their appetite when they’re stressed, but then tend to overeat later when their appetite returns. On the other hand, low cortisol levels occur when your stress levels have been high for so long and then crash – aka adrenal fatigue. This can also make it harder to lose weight, as your energy levels lower (who has the motivation to exercise then?!) and you start to crave sugar. Low cortisol can also impact healthy thyroid function.
Stress also takes a toll on your energy, making it even more difficult to even want to get up and exercise
3. Stress and Reduced Sex Drive
Major life events that cause stress may lower libido. This can occur when elevated levels of cortisol suppress the body’s natural sex hormones. Chronic stress can impact your body’s production of estrogen, which keeps your reproductive system in working order. When that happens you could feel a dip in your sex drive.
4. Stress and Irregular Periods
When it comes to stress, irregular periods and women’s health, acute and chronic stress can fundamentally alter the body’s hormone balance This can lead to missed, late or irregular periods. Stress is the most common cause of irregular periods.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, has a direct impact on how much estrogen and progesterone gets produced by the body. If you have too much cortisol in your bloodstream, the time and flow of your cycle could change.
5. Stress and Acne Break Outs
When you’re really freaking out, the level of hormones called androgens in your body spike, causing acne to flare up. Raised levels of cortisol in the body can also cause excess oil production that contributes to the development of acne breakouts
6. Stress and Hair Loss
Just as a spike in androgens can cause your skin to break out, it can also cause your hair to shed more than usual, usually three to six months after a super stressful situation. Stress can disrupt the life cycle of the hair, causing it to go into its falling-out stage. While you may not notice hair loss during or immediately following a period of stress, the changes can occur three to six months later.
7. Stress and Poor Digestion
Ever get butterflies in your stomach? Has your stomach ever felt like it was in knots? Stress can actually cause your esophagus to go into spasms. It can increase the acid in your stomach causing indigestion. Stress can cause your colon to react in a way that gives you diarrhea or constipation. Ultimately this cause causing indigestion and discomfort, and in some cases contributing to the development of IBS and ulcers.
8. Stress and Depression
Women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression.
9. Stress and Insomnia
Stress causes insomnia by making it difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep, and by affecting the quality of your sleep. Therefore, it causes you to feel hyper, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness.
10. Stress and Decreased Fertility
Women’s health and decreased fertility come hand in hand when it comes to stress. Women who are stressed can have high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that correlates with stress, which can make it harder getting pregnant.
So What Can We Do?
It’s tough to say work on handling your stress, right? We all have it, however, the ability or inability to handle day to day stress can have a direct effect on our hormones.
As you can see a lot of the above-mentioned women’s health issues are related to stress and have a lot to do with hormones. Stress can really put hormones out of balance.
So what can you do? First and foremost, work on balancing your hormones so you have a better ability to handle stress. I have seen many hormonal improvements with my Balance and Reset Program. Women have worked on balancing their hormones and resetting their metabolism and have actually started to FEEL MUCH BETTER, LESS STRESSED and MORE like THEMSELVES AND they handle stress much better!!
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