1. Causes acne breakouts
When you’re really freaking out, the level of sex hormones called androgens in your body tend to spike, causing acne to flare up. In addition to zits on your face, stress can also show up on other parts of your skin in the form of rashes, say experts. That’s because anxiety wreaks havoc on your immune system, which can make eczema act up or cause other skin infections.
Visit the pharmacist for topical treatments to help with those issues or speak with your doctor if those don’t help or if the symptoms get worse.
2. Make you lose hair
Just as a spike in androgens can cause your skin to break out, it can also cause your hair to shed more than usual, usually three to six months after a super stressful situation.
The good news is that this unfortunate side effect should only be temporary, and a balanced diet can help the cells in your hair follicles heal back to normal.
3. It upsets your stomach
Sometimes, those knots in your stomach could mean more than just an uneasy feeling. Chronic stress can impact the hormones released by your thyroid glands, which regulate your metabolism among other things. If these hormones get off track, it can lead to constipation.
When you’re feeling this symptom, head to the gym, drink lots of fluids, increase your fibre intake, or take a laxative if you need to.
4. Lack of sleep leads to exhaustion
Aside from the fact that your anxiety might be keeping you up at night, freaking out triggers your brain to release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. This helpful chemical quickens your heartbeat, gives your brain more oxygen, and releases extra energy to help your body deal with that stress. But frequent stress can cause your brain to limit the amount of cortisol it sends into your bloodstream, which can make you feel like you’re dragging yourself around all day.
The good news is that about three hours a week of working out should keep those hormone levels in check.
5. Low libido
Anxiety can impact your body’s production of oestrogen, which keeps your reproductive system in working order. When that happens you could feel a dip in your sex drive.
In times of stress, concentrate on eating a healthy diet and cutting back on processed foods to help ease this symptom.
6. You could experience a memory loss
Traumatic stress, meaning stress that occurs when you feel a threat to your life or feelings of intense fear or helplessness, seriously impacts your hippocampus, the area of your brain where your memories are stored. This kind of stress makes it tough to remember facts, lists and sometimes even long gaps of time (from minutes to days). Plus, damage from stress can make it hard to create new memories.
7. Play havoc on your manicure
Your anxiety could be rearing its ugly head, if you start picking or biting your cuticles. And besides ruining your perfectly manicured tips, picking at your fingers can lead to a nasty infection since you use your hands for pretty much everything.
8. You may just start pilling on the weight
The connection between reducing stress and losing weight could be that it helps cut back on stress-related binge eating. As a University of Kentucky study found that dieters who learned stress-management tactics were more successful at losing weight than dieters who didn’t.
9. Intense backache
When you’re stressing, your heart rate and blood pressure rise and your body pumps out hormones to help with your fight-or-flight response. This combo can cause your muscles to tighten up and amplify the aches you get from sitting at a desk all day.
Text: Bauer/ Good Health/ Additional Reporting: Shenielle Aloysis