Stress is a word with which the average Nigerian is all too familiar. For women this is even more so especially in the metropolitan areas where getting basic things done is a struggle everyday. When you show these 5 signs of stress, it’s time to watch it.
Acne is one of the most visible ways that stress often manifests itself. Several studies have also confirmed this.One study measured acne severity in 22 people before and during an exam. Increased levels of stress as a result of the exam were associated with greater acne severity.
Another study of 94 teenagers found that higher stress levels were associated with worse acne, especially in boys.These studies while showing an association, don’t account for other factors that may be involved. Other potential causes of acne include hormonal shifts, bacteria, excess oil production and blocked pores.
One study of 2,483 people found that fatigue was strongly associated with increased stress levels.Stress may also disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, which can lead to low energy.
One small study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime.
Another study of 2,316 participants showed that experiencing a higher number of stressful events was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia.
These studies show an association, but they don’t account for other factors that may have played a role. Further research is needed to determine if stress can directly cause decreased energy levels.
Other factors that may play a role in decreased energy levels include dehydration, low blood sugar, a poor diet or an underactive thyroid.
Digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation can also be caused by high levels of stress. Stress may especially affect those with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These are characterized by stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
In one study, higher daily stress levels were associated with increased digestive distress in 181 women with IBS.
Additionally, one analysis of 18 studies that investigated the role of stress on inflammatory bowel disease noted that 72% of studies found an association between stress and digestive symptoms.
Although these studies show an association, more studies are needed to look at how stress may directly impact the digestive system.
Headaches and frequent sickness
One study of 267 people with chronic headaches found that a stressful event preceded the development of chronic headaches in about 45% of cases.
A larger study showed that increased stress intensity was associated with an increase in the number of headache days experienced per month.
Another study surveyed 150 military service members at a headache clinic, finding that 67% reported their headaches were triggered by stress, making it the second most common headache trigger.
Other common headache triggers include lack of sleep, alcohol consumption and dehydration
Stress may also take a toll on your immune system and can cause increased susceptibility to infections.
In one study, 61 older adults were injected with the flu vaccine. Those with chronic stress were found to have a weakened immune response to the vaccine, indicating that stress may be associated with decreased immunity.
Similarly, one analysis looking at 27 studies showed that stress was linked to increased susceptibility of developing an upper respiratory infection. A weakened immune system can also be the result of a poor diet, physical inactivity and certain immunodeficiency disorders like leukemia and multiple myeloma.
Some studies suggest that chronic stress may contribute to the development of depression. One study of 816 women with major depression found that the onset of depression was significantly associated with both acute and chronic stress. Another study found that high levels of stress were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms in 240 adolescents.
Besides stress, other potential contributors to depression include family history, hormone levels, environmental factors and even certain medications.