The Effects of Stress On Women …and what you can do about it | Carson Tahoe Health

The Effects of Stress On Women …and what you can do about it

Women differ from men in both their emotional and physical responses to stress, especially as age and hormones play in to the situation. When reacting to stressors, the body releases hormones such as cortisol, which can impact and affect the digestive system, immune system and overall wellbeing. According to a recent article, when stress hormones are released, it causes a temporary increase in energy production, at the expense of normal bodily processes and system responses.


Here are a few ways stress can negatively affect a women’s body.


  1. Lower Libido Levels- Hormones play a huge role in sex drive, and when compromised with high-stress situations, intimacy can suffer.


  1. Poor digestion- Stress factors can also lead to unbalanced stomach acid levels, which can result in indigestion, IBS and stomach ulcers.


  1. Insomnia- Not a surprise, but stress is a common cause of insomnia which can lead to irritability and lack of motivation


  1. Weight Gain- Stress has been linked to a decreased metabolism as well as an increased appetite and sugar cravings.


  1. Increased risk of heart disease and stroke-According to a 2012 study of over 22,000 women, women under high amounts of stress at work were 40 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular event (a heart attack or stroke) than women who reported low levels of job-related stress. Strokes are also more common among individuals with stressful lives and tightly-wound personalities.


What can you do?


While you may not be able to control what stressors may appear in your life, there are ways to manage it.


Here are a few tips we’ve gathered to help cope and manage stress:


  • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
  • Keep a positive attitude; rather than defaulting to negatives (”Nothing goes right for me,” or ”Bad things always happen to me”), give yourself positive messages (”I’m doing my best,” or ”I’ll ask for help”).
  • Halt stress in its tracks; if you feel overwhelmed, take a walk or drive in the slow lane to avoid getting angry at other drivers.
  • Manage your time. Give yourself time to get things done; set your watch so you have more time to prepare for an event.
  • Do things that are pleasurable, like reading or gardening.
  • Take 15-20 minutes every day to sit quietly and reflect. Learn and practice relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing.
  • Exercise regularly by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, or working out at the gym. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. And don’t smoke.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
  • Seek out social support.