Women are perhaps under more stress when compared to men. Not only do they have to deal with work stressors and financial stressors, but also they often are the parent that needs to deal with the stressors of being the caregiver to their children.
Here are ten reasons why women need to address their stress levels:
1 – Stress can affect fertility. Women trying to get pregnant may have a harder time doing this because their fertility is decreased under stress.
There may be problems with anovulatory cycles (menstrual cycles that are unrelated to actually ovulating) and there may be other factors affecting woman’s ability to get pregnant under stress.
2 – Stress can lead to depression. Stress is a well-known cause of depression in women. Those women who are caregivers to their elderly parents, for example, have an increased risk of depression because of the stress they are under.
3 – Stress can lead to heart disease. Women are partially protected against heart disease when compared to men. Women who are under stress may undergo menopause at an earlier age, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. Reducing stress can turn this around.
4 – Stress can lead to obesity. Women under stress tend to eat more than women who are under less stress. This can lead to obesity and an increase in diseases related to obesity, such as cancer and heart disease.
5 – Stress can lead to type 2 diabetes. Women who are under stress tend to fail to eat foods that are low in calories and fat. This leads to eating high sugar foods and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes because of eating-related obesity. Eating a healthy diet can turn this around so that this complication cannot occur.
6 – Stress can lead to hair loss. Women under stress will have more of their hair follicles in the resting state so that, when old hairs fall out, new hair cannot grow to replace the lost hair. This results in chronically thin hair that most women find problematic.
7 – Stress can lead to anxiety. Women who are under stress will have an increase in anxiety when compared to women who have less stress. Anxiety can lead to high blood pressure and emotional changes that can affect a woman’s quality of life.
8 – Stress can lead to hypertension. A woman under stress has an increased risk of suffering from high blood pressure when compared to women who are not under stress. High blood pressure can negatively affect a woman’s overall health and can lead to heart disease and stroke. Reducing stress means lessening the blood pressure, which decreases the risk of these diseases.
9 – Stress can lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disorder in which there is obesity, type 2 diabetes, an increase in triglycerides, a decrease in HDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. Metabolic disease puts a woman at a much higher risk of heart disease and stroke – diseases that can be ameliorated by decreasing a woman’s stress level.
10 – Stress can lead to skin aging. Stress results in an increase in wrinkles and the overall aging of the cells in the skin. Women under stress tend to look more haggard and have the appearance of being an older age when compared to women who are relatively free of stress.
What can be done?
The answer to reducing the diseases and conditions related to stress is to reduce the level of stress in one’s life as much as possible. It may mean actually reducing the stress level through de-stressing one’s life.
It may also mean practicing things like meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, which are relaxation practices that reduce the perception of stress.