Stress: It’s something most people experience in their lifetime and sometimes more than a few times a week! People often feel stressed from their job, family, or just how quickly a day can do by. So it can be fair to attribute some of our health symptoms to stress. Feelings like anxiety, stomach aches, restless sleep, or a loss of appetite can be the result of a stressful day. Our experts talk about three common ways stress can affect your health, and when you may need to consult your PCP if stress might not be the cause.
Is Stress Affecting Your Health?
- Problems with sleep: Sleep problems can range from feeling exhausted all the time to tossing and turning for hours. This can often be linked to the effect of stress on the body. Try turning off your electronics 2 hours before bed and spend 5 minutes quietly to let go of any stressors.If you continue to have a hard time falling asleep, experiencing insomnia, or are exhausted during the day, this could be the symptom of a sleeping disorder. Answer these questions from our sleep experts to see if you could benefit from a sleeping disorder evaluation.
- Weight gain or loss: Stress can often affect people’s eating habits. Stress commonly can cause stomach aches or feelings of anxiety that either increase or decrease a person’s appetite. This may result in variations of your weight, either an increase or a decrease, over time. If you are experience problems with weight gain or loss or are experiencing any sudden changes in your weight, talk to your primary care physician. He or she will be able to help you define what may be causing your problems.
- Changes in your period: Changes in your period flow, duration, or start are common symptoms of stress triggers for women. Feelings of stress or anxiety can often cause women to have later starts or miss a period all together. However, if you are experiencing amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation) for a few months, talk to your ob/gyn. He or she may want to perform different tests for symptoms other than stress that can cause one or more missed periods.
Stress is a common irritator in most of our busy lives. If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, try journaling what your triggers are daily. You can use a health tracker like, like the My Crittenton Health Tracker, to easily track your symptoms. Review your notes after a week or month of tracking and talk to your primary care doctor about any concerns.
You may also want to try stress relieving activities like yoga, Tai Chi, or the popular MELT method. These classes are available at Crittenton. Check our upcoming events calendar for the next available class.