The effects of stress in the body is one of life’s great problems that we each need to try and overcome in our own ways. The more stressed you are in general, the more you are going to struggle to keep a calm head and do the right thing in a difficult scenario. As well as the mental side of it that we all know well, however, there are also many physical responses to stress, some of which can be a nuisance or downright bad for your health.
Let’s take a look at some of the surprising and bizarre effects of stress in the body, to help convince you to manage your own stress more effectively:
Worsened Immune System
When you are stressed out, your immune system suffers almost immediately. If you were to come into touch with any viruses at this point, you would be much more likely to catch them, and more likely to respond poorly to the resulting disease. Having a weak immune system can open you up to many problems, so if you are stressed all the time you are actually putting yourself in harm’s way in this sense quite a lot. It is much better to avoid stress as far as you can in the first place.
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According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it found that women with higher levels of stress were 13 % less able to conceive than those who did not have high stress levels and who did not worry as much, even when accounting other health factors. It is also related to interrupted menstrual cycles due to stress.
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Believe it or not, being stressed can negatively effect the feeling you have in your joints, and if you are stressed frequently you are probably going to find that you are having a lot of joint pain on the whole. That can make normal moving around a lot harder to deal with, and it can mean that you are going to struggle to live your life in a normal way as a result. Keeping stress at bay will mean less pain overall, and your joints will be able to move arounds more easily and fluidly.
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While some of it has to do with hormones, changes in your diet triggered by stress could also be the culprit behind your dull hair, slow growth or even hair loss in women and men. It usually happens 3–6 months after a traumatic situation. The good news is that this unfortunate side effect is only temporary.
Slower Wound Healing & Injuries
The effects of stress in the body can negatively impact a wound from healing. What happens is that stress can increase certain hormone levels in the blood, slowing the delivery of cytokines, which are part of the natural healing process. In addition, if you are active, exercise or play sports, perceived stress due to competition or not achieving your physical goals is associated with a greater risk of both acute injuries and overuse injuries.
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If you suffer from particularly bad allergies, then you have all the more reason to get your anxiety and stress under control. When Ohio State University researchers studied people with seasonal allergies, they found that even small amounts of stress was enough to intensify a person’s allergic reaction during a prick test by as much as 75 % – that is significant!
Ulcers & Skin Problems
If you are stressed for long periods of time, that can affect your skin as well as the inside of your mouth. If you develop ulcers and you are not sure why, you can’t find any other underlying issue, then the problem is almost certainly to do with your stress. At the very least, stress is going to make the situation worse and will mean you are much more likely to develop ulcers in the long run too. As well as taking mouth ulcer medicine, you should aim to reduce your stress as best as you can to avoid them coming up again.
Many long-term sleep disorders are directly related to stress levels. If you are stressed all of the time, you will find it a lot harder to get to sleep and stay asleep, and the quality of your sleep will suffer too, so this is something that you really need to be aware of as well. Ensure you are keeping stress to a minimum in your daily life, and your sleep will get a lot better, thus ensuring that you are going to get out of the vicious cycle and improve your wellbeing on the whole.
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There is also a strong link between your brain and your gut. If you are stressed, your are more likely to experience IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, an upset stomach, and bloating. The effects of stress in the body can include those knots in your gut which will upset your digestion. Chronic stress can also lead to constipation. Stress impacts the thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism – when these hormones are out of whack, it leads to constipation or other gut health issues.