A Blog For Those Affected By Environmental And Invisible Illnesses Written By Fellow Survivors
6 Symptoms of Stress That Will Surprise You
Stress is a feeling of emotional tension. This is your body’s response to situations that cause negative emotions that make you feel angry or nervous. Short bursts of stress can be even positive, but chronic stress is the root cause of many health problems. Ongoing stress will eventually affect your mental health and can cause depression and even personality disorder. If you regularly experience stress it is important to lower its levels.
Below you can find 6 main symptoms of high levels of stress. If you find out that stress is the cause of your health problems you may try different relaxing techniques to relive it. If stress is too severe you may need a qualified therapist to help you.
Stress plays a key role in triggering headaches or making it worse. Emotional stress is one of the main causes of migraine headaches. Patients who suffer from migraines have higher stress levels. Stressful events cause a release of certain chemicals in the brain. This is called a "flight or fight" response. These chemicals often affect blood vessels contributing to headaches.
Other emotions that accompany stress (worry, excitement, and fatigue) may increase muscle tension making your migraine worse. If you experience stress regularly you become more prone to chronic migraines.
2. Decrease libido
Stress is one of the main causes of low libido. When your body prepares for a "flight or fight" mode it sets the priorities in to run away or fight. Your organism focuses on the processes that are essential to survive in life-threatening situations. Such non-essential functions as sex drive become diminished. Cortisol that your body releases during stressful situations also affects your sex drive.
Chronic stress and high cortisol levels can make your body use sex hormones to meet the increased need for higher cortisol production. Thus, you may lose interest in sex absolutely.
3. Chronic pain
Stress causes the cortisol levels in your body to rise. Cortisol is closely associated with overall body inflammation that contributes to chronic pain. Inflammation causes many health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and nerve pain. Thus, your chronic knee pain may be associated with high levels of stress. Patients who experience unexplained pain often have a very stressful life and high levels of stress hormones.
Stress also causes your muscles to shrink contributing to a spasm. This will eventually cause muscle pain and soreness. For this reason, managing stress levels is important in treating chronic pain. Even if your pain was not triggered by stress- high cortisol levels can worsen discomfort and make the treatment less effective.
4. Sleep problems
Stress is one of the main causes of insomnia. It is hard to fall asleep when your head is clogged with anxious thoughts and your heart is racing. Most people experience insomnia that is associated with stress at some point in their lives. When your body is in “flight or fight” mode you get more energy to avoid a life-threatening situation. In dangerous situations, it is important to stay awake. For this reason, it can be hard to fall asleep when you are stressed out.
Over time, the low energy level will accompany sleep disorder. It is impossible for our bodies to restore normal energy levels without proper sleep. You need to reduce stress levels if you want to improve your night’s sleep.
5. Gut problems
Stress can make you more prone to digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, nausea, and other disorders. Since stress affects how quickly food moves through the body it may also contribute to constipation or diarrhea. Stress may also cause digestive muscle spasm. The discomfort from spasm may vary from mild discomfort to severe pain.
Chronic stress decreases your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients from your food and worsen the intestinal barrier. This makes you more vulnerable to different bacterial infections.