Stress is something we all deal with every day. What causes stress in one person may have little impact in another. With the holiday season in full swing, there is no shortage of pressure in our daily lives. Although stress is not bad in small doses, prolonged exposure to stress doesn’t come without consequences. For women, overexposure to stress can mean some not-so-welcome changes. Finding out what those changes are can help you identify when there is a problem. From there, you can make the needed changes to reduce your stress this holiday season.
What can Stress Do to a Woman’s Body?
The way your body reacts to harmful situations is called stress. These situations may be perceived or real. As a part of the stress response, your heartbeat gets faster, your breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. Physical symptoms include loss of energy, headaches, chest pain, digestion issues, and more.
For women, long-term stress can impact more than your mood. Here are some ways it can negatively impact a woman’s body:
- Menstrual Cycle– High levels of stress have been associated with lack of, late, or irregular menstrual cycles. It can also mean more painful periods and change the cycle duration.
- Sexual Desire– Lack of energy and being distracted continuously can result in a lack of desire.
- Pregnancy– Changes in menstrual cycles due to high levels of stress can make it difficult to conceive.
- PMS– Stress can make premenstrual symptoms worse or harder to cope with. These symptoms are fluid retention, bloating, and irritable mood.
- Reproductive System Diseases– There is an increased chance of worsening of symptoms of reproductive disease when stress is high. Some examples are Herpes Simplex Virus or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Putting Yourself First
If the stress in your life has caused ongoing problems in your sexual or menstrual health, it is time to talk to your gynecologist. Engaging in regular exercise and setting and maintaining healthy sleep habits are a few ways you can help manage stress. We get it, this is a time of giving, but no one expects you to give up your health so you can attend every party, have the perfect gift for everyone, and cook all the best meals.
Set boundaries that you can follow, and above all, put yourself first. You can still have a memory-filled holiday season, all while maintaining your sanity and health. You owe it to yourself. To learn more about our women’s healthcare services, or our currently enrolling clinical research studies, call (858) 505-8672, or click HERE.