You’re working at your office, overburdened with work, you look at the number of tasks you’re holding onto, and then you look at the clock running out of time. You hit the panic button, and in a flash, your muscles tense up, your breath quickens, and your heart races.
Your panic takes a toll on your productivity, and you’re no longer capable of working. Ever wondered why your body reacts that way? Your brain’s control tower – the hypothalamus is designed to release stress hormones when your body perceives something as harmful.
These stress hormones activate your body’s fight-flight-or-freeze response. This response makes your body react the way mentioned above. However, if this stress response keeps triggering every other day, it can adversely affect your body. Here, we’ll discuss the negative ways stress affects your body.
Decreased sexual behavior and fertility
Consistent high stress levels can cause both men and women to lose sexual desire. It can make women more vulnerable to painful, heavier, and irregular periods and can also worsen the symptoms of menopause.
Prolonged stress is also capable of affecting men’s fertility. While it can cause infections in a man’s reproductive organs like the testes and prostate, it can also lead to decreased testosterone levels. Lack of testosterone levels can directly affect fertility by causing decreased sperm production and erectile dysfunction.
Luckily, erectile dysfunction can be cured with the correct diagnosis and medications like sildenafil tablets. Still, the cure of a single complication can’t undermine the intensity of problems that arise from recurring stress.
A Weakened immune system
Stress hormones can prove to be of great help at times of emergency. They help in activating your immune system that in turn takes action on the spot. This action involves healing wounds and fighting off infections.
However, prolonged stress weakens your immune system leading it to become ineffective to defend your body from foreign invaders. A weakened immune system welcomes flu, colds, infections, and viral diseases with open arms.
Not only this, but your body takes a little longer than usual to recover from injuries or illnesses when you’re under stress.
Stressed out muscles
When you feel yourself under stress, your muscles respond by tightening themselves to shield your body against injuries. While there is no doubt that your body banishes muscle tension once it feels relaxed, the problem is something else.
When you’re under constant stress, your body has no time to relax, which causes body aches, shoulder and back pain, and headaches. This continuous muscle tension can eventually lead you to avoid doing exercise and instead take pain-relieving medications daily.
Poor digestive system
Stress can affect the movement of your food in your intestines, causing you to undergo several digestion-related problems. These problems may include stomachache, vomiting, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.
In addition to this, when you take a lot of stress, your heart rate increases, breathing fastens, and stress hormones are released rapidly. This puts you at a greater risk of having acid reflux and heartburn.
Prolonged stress is also capable of giving rise to type 2 diabetes in your body. How? When you’re under pressure, your liver starts producing more glucose (blood sugar) to uplift your energy levels. This extra glucose starts storing in your body until your body becomes unable to deal with it, thereby causing type-2 diabetes.
Increased cardiovascular and respiratory disorders
You’re at a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke if you take stress for long periods. Because stress hormones increase your heart rate, which in turn increases blood pressure, this consistent increase in blood pressure can, thus, become the cause of your heart attack or stroke.
Additionally, stress can make you breathe with difficulty, given that your body’s response to the stress hormones causes you to breathe rapidly. And, if you’re already dealing with illnesses like emphysema and asthma, your situation can become worse.
Continuous fight-flight-or-freeze response
When your hypothalamus sends in the stress hormones, your CNS (Central Nervous System) takes charge and turns on the fight-flight-or-freeze response. This response fires up your heartbeat and pumps blood to the organs that require the most blood to defend the body from emergencies.
This response is supposed to be deactivated once you’re out of a stressful situation. However, people who are constantly under stress have their fight-flight-or-freeze response turned on permanently. Thus leading to several problems like social withdrawal, drug or alcohol abuse, overeating, and the like.
An Unhealthy gut
Your brain and gut are always under direct communication. This is why your stress levels highly influence the way the activities take place in your stomach. Therefore, it is essential to understand the effects of stress on your stomach. Let’s hop on!
- Bowel movement: Stress can cause bowels to become discomforting and cause bloating, pain, constipation, and diarrhea. It can also lead to an increase in the production of gas. Not only this, but stress can also weaken the intestinal barrier – a barrier that prevents the food bacteria from escaping to the body.
- Loss of appetite: While a lot of people start overeating when under stress. A significant number of people suffer from loss of appetite. Unhealthy eating habits and lack of sufficient nutrients can cause one’s health to deteriorate.
- Stomach ulcers: The fact that stress encourages acid production is not actual, and so is the fact that stress cause stomach ulcers. What stress does is that it makes the existing ulcers worse.
- Difficulty swallowing: Since stress speeds up breathing, it also causes problems while swallowing food. And even if consumed easily, it causes increased burping due to the amount of air consumed with food.
Stress is a feeling that doesn’t leave you in any phase of your life. It would be best if you dealt with it all the time; the way you handle it shows your power to fight against any shortcomings that come in your way. In this manner, you can easily undergo numerous health problems in a blink of an eye. So the best way to comfort yourselves is to know the symptoms that cause you stress.
However, sometimes a therapy from the doctor is all that you need during your high-stress levels. The above mentioned are a few negative ways stress affects our body; if you’re still not convinced to refrain from taking stress, who knows what will?
My name is Sardar Ayaz a professional content writer and SEO expert having Proven record of excellent writing demonstrated in a professional portfolio Impeccable grasp of the English language, including idioms and current trends in slang and expressions. I have ability to work independently with little or no daily supervision with strong interpersonal skills and willingness to communicate with clients, colleagues, and management.
I can produce well-researched content for publication online and in print, organize writing schedules to complete drafts of content or finished projects within deadlines. I have 12 years’ experience to develop related content for multiple platforms, such as websites, email marketing, product descriptions, videos, and blogs.
I use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies in writing to maximize the online visibility of a website in search results