Stress is one of the most common issues that people are facing nowadays and excess of it can result in some severe mental health issues. Stress is a condition that has become common today due to a lot of factors, some of which might include hectic schedules or any emotional turmoil that you have been going through in recent times. Stress usually occurs as a natural reaction of the body towards events or situations that might be harmful or when a person is in an environment where he or she feels threatened. It is often found that women suffer more from stress compared to men and women are more affected by some severe stress symptoms and mental health issues that might hamper their overall well-being and health. This article presents you with a detailed account of all the symptoms that women usually feel in case of high levels of stress and the ways that should be followed to get rid of excessive stress and take good care of women’s mental health.
How do women suffer from stress?
Stress is a reaction of the body to any frightful situation that makes you aware and understand that something is going to harm you in some sense and you need to be conscious about it. Stress responses are mostly ‘flight or fight’ reactions that people usually feel along with other physiological changes in the body such as an increase in the levels of blood pressure, increased heart rate resulting in disrupted and quick breathing, tightening of the muscles, and so on.
Women usually develop a lot of stress symptoms and if in case the stress becomes overwhelming, then it can start affecting their mental health. It is mostly due to this reason that women are more prone to develop mental health issues such as anxiety, clinical depression, problems in sleep leading to conditions like insomnia, issues related to their menstrual cycles, and so on. Stress affects differently among people and if you are not mindful of the stress and the changes in emotions that you might have been feeling, then you can suffer from the side effects of stress and the mental health problems that might result from it.
Dealing with stress and problems women face:
Since stress is a response of the body, it is often quite natural to happen in apparently difficult situations, and not all stress responses are abnormal. It is quite normal that you can handle stress because the human body usually functions in such a way that it can manage stress easily. At times, stress can make you handle situations seriously and with caution. Stress becomes a problem when it starts making you overwhelmed and negatively impacts the mental health and the overall functioning of the body. Moreover, even if human beings can more or less manage stress, it becomes very difficult to handle long-term or chronic stress and this results in different emotional and physiological problems.
Women develop stress more often and their experiences of stress differ from that of men because of several reasons. The amounts of stress levels that women develop are often the results of an amalgamation of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence the intensity of stress in women. Apart from that, women even face changes in hormonal synthesis, especially during menstrual cycles, menopause, pregnancy, and so on, because the body goes through a massive change in the synthesis of hormones. But hormones cannot be always blamed for high levels of stress in women, there are often circumstances that influence women’s stress levels.
What are the symptoms of stress in women?
There is a varied range of symptoms that women usually face when they suffer from high levels of stress, that is chronic stress. These symptoms differ from one woman to another, based on a number of factors. Some of these factors include the physical health and the medical history of the woman, the circumstances and events she has been experiencing in recent times, the presence of mental health conditions in her family history, and many others. Yet there are certain common symptoms that women face if they have excessive stress, some of which can be divided into some of the most distinct categories as given below:
The primary symptoms that women develop after having high levels of stress are visible in their physical functioning. The most common physical symptoms that women face for stress are:
- Irregularities of the menstrual cycle
- Problems with fertility and ovulation
- A low immune system, means, you will fall ill easily
- Excessive tiredness and feelings of exhaustion
- Lack of enough sleep resulting in sleeplessness or conditions like insomnia
- High blood pressure
- Muscle strain and pain in joints
- Abnormally increased or decreased appetite
- Problems with digestion, causing pain in the stomach, heartburn, and nausea
- Skin problems like eczema
Of course, the mental health and emotional well-being of women are affected when they are under high stress. These are some of the usual emotional stress symptoms that women develop:
- Sudden mood shifts
- Feelings of irritability and/or anger
- Developing an overwhelming feeling
- Perpetual sadness or becoming depressed
- Worrying too much
- Low sex drive or libido
- Increased anxiety
Cognitive or behavioral symptoms:
High levels of stress among women affect their cognitive skills as well. These are the most common ways in which the cognitive skills of women are hampered when they experience increased stress levels.
- Weak memory and forgetting things quickly
- Lack of concentration
- Racing and frequent thoughts
- Problems in making decisions
- Negative and repetitive thinking.
If you feel that you are experiencing some of these symptoms, it is highly recommended that you take care of your mental health and take steps to manage your stress levels. If necessary, you can consult a healthcare expert or a professional as well, who can help you deal with your stress properly and get rid of the negative effects it is causing on your mind and body.
Stress in men and women: do they experience it differently?
The ways in which men and women experience stress are entirely different, both physiologically and in behavioral reactions. This difference becomes visible due to a lot of factors, some of which are given below:
- Importance of managing stress: Comparatively more women feel the necessity of managing stress.
- Expressing concern and stress: More women acknowledge that they are not managing stress properly than men do.
- Action for stress reduction: Women take more action in reducing stress than men.
- Perception of stress impact: More women than men believe that high levels of stress can genuinely affect physical health, which in fact, is true.
What are the impacts of high stress on the female body?
There are several ways in which high levels of stress can affect both the mind and body of a woman. Here are some of the most common ways:
1. Irregularities in menstrual cycle:
The first and foremost impact that affects a woman’s body due to high levels of chronic stress includes changes and irregularities in the menstrual or period cycle. This leads to missing periods (when there is no chance of pregnancy), development of PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome, amenorrhea, and so on.
2. Changes in hormonal synthesis:
Chronic stress can lead to changes in the normal production of hormones, which hampers to natural and healthy hormonal balance in the female body. High stress affects the emotions, mood swings, and overall mental health in women, as studies (23 Trusted Source) are now suggesting that disturbances in the production of hormones are more common in conditions of chronic stress than in normal conditions and stress while a woman is having her early menstruation can have increased levels of progesterone and cortisol hormones. These hormonal changes will not only affect the menstrual cycles and emotional health in women in a negative way but can also have a great deal of impact on the woman’s fertility issues. In fact, recent studies and research works (1 Trusted Source) are revealing that high levels of stress can make it difficult for a woman to conceive easily. So, it is very important to handle stress efficiently and with proper care.
3. Increased sensitivity to pain:
Chronic stress in women can reduce their tolerance to pain. This can result in more susceptibility among women to develop tension, headaches, chronic pain, and chronic migraines.
How can women manage stress better?
Mindfulness and healing the inner self are some of the best ways women can get rid of chronic stress. These are the best steps women can follow to handle high levels of stress:
- Exercising and working out regularly
- Doing yoga, deep breathing, relaxation therapies, and meditation
- Noting down, that is, journaling the emotions and feelings
- Having a healthy and balanced diet, so that there is no deficit of nutrients in the body
- Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep and enough rest each day
- Seek professional or social support.
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