January 15, 2017

We all know that stress is bad for us yet we don’t take it very seriously. We put our heads together to figure out what is leading the woman of today to simply gloss over such a vital concern. What you need to understand is that chronic stress is not uncommon and you might be suffering from it. Treating ailments that stem from it will be like treating the superficial symptoms and ignoring the root cause. Needless to say, it will be a temporary solution.

When we think about the effects of stress, the things that usually come to our mind are weight gain, headaches, depression, anxiety and poor sleep quality. Not many of us think about PMS, low libido, heavy or irregular periods, low thyroid function, osteoporosis or infertility. You might have heard people complaining about getting plenty of sleep but still tired all the time, relying on caffeine to get some energy. Or working out regularly but their weight just kept increasing. These indicate metabolism problems and even though they don’t seem to hamper too much with your daily routine, it needs to be sorted out quickly.

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What is the relationship between stress and sex hormones?

When you’re under stress, your adrenal glands produce cortisol which is the stress hormone. When cortisol increases, it blocks estrogen production which in turn reduces serotonin levels. Low serotonin means that you will be ‘miss cranky pants’ all day and it also messes with your sleep pattern, making you agitated, irritable and ‘thin skinned’. Insufficient serotonin also leads to a release of norepinephrine which might lead to a sudden pounding of heart, waking up in the middle of the night, an upset stomach or hot flashes, and these symptoms can cause you even more stress. So, internal stress leads to external stress which leads to more internal stress and this cycle will never end.

How can you know that stress has negatively impacted your hormones?

The symptoms are varied. They may include:

  • General Symptoms: depression, anxiety, dizziness, brain frog, poor memory, hair loss,  headaches, low libido,  dry skin, fatigue, weight gain or resistance to weight loss, water retention, bloating, sleep disturbances, mood changes.
  • Gender Specific Symptoms: facial and body hair growth, vaginal dryness, breast swelling and tenderness, fibrocystic breasts, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, PMS, urinary tract infections, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, irregular periods, loss of periods, heavy periods, and infertility.

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You have hormonal imbalance, now what?

  • First and foremost, reduce activities that cause you stress, a no-brainer of course!
  • Make some lifestyle changes: Get at least 8 hours of sleep, be active, spend quality time with loved ones, learn to meditate, make time for hobbies, and go for a walk.
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Support liver health by eating a nutrient-dense diet that includes organ meats, seafood, and plenty of vegetables.

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Stress affects men and women in different ways

If you feel like talking when you’re feeling down, don’t feel guilty because there is a scientific reason for it. When women talk, oxytocin is released in the brain. Oxytocin actually blocks the stress hormone, making you feel better. On the other hand, when men talk and release oxytocin, it blocks testosterone for them. That’s the last thing that they want. Hence, the sitting in the corner all alone and brooding. So don’t chide your man the next time you find him sulking and not wanting to talk about it!

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If you think that you or someone you know might be suffering from chronic stress, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Visit Namaha Healthcare , a super specialty hospital for women, right away if nothing seems to be working even after changing your daily habits. Prevention is better than cure.