Women’s lives are stressful. Juggling work, home, relationships, parents and children, women feel the emotional, physical and mental effects of big and small events. The physicians at Athens ObGyn make it a point to talk with patients about their mental health and stress levels during well-woman exams. Teaching women about stress management and techniques for managing stress is part of the preventive care our physicians provide.
How stress affects women’s health
Everyone has periodic stress, but when stress becomes chronic, women’s physical and mental health suffers. Chronic, untreated stress can lead to serious problems, such as heart disease, depression or weakened immune systems. Untreated anxiety and stress also contribute to many women’s health issues.
- Menstrual problems
- Worsening premenstrual symptoms
- Diminished sex drive
- Inability to get pregnant
- Pregnancy health issues
- Obesity or eating disorders
Techniques for managing stress
Stress management begins with awareness. Women need to journal or spend time reflecting on what is causing their chronic stress. Once women find the cause of their stress, they can try to set limits or say no to cut down on heavy personal responsibilities or workloads. Our physicians also recommend several other techniques for managing stress.
- Exercise or participate in physical activity
- Try deep breathing techniques
- Meditate or incorporate prayer in daily routines
- Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep, and work on a plan to enhance your sleep quality
- Learn and practice some mind/body techniques, such as tai chi or yoga
- Get outside for a walk or just to experience nature
- Get a pet
- Interact more in fun ways with friends and family
- Learn organizational and time-management techniques
- Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding too much caffeine or sugar
- Journal to get in touch with feelings and create awareness about stressors
- Develop a support system and ask for help as needed
When stress management is not enough
Sometimes stress management techniques alone won’t help with the level of stress or the problems that chronic stress creates. Women who experience any of the following issues should get professional help.
- Alcohol or drug issues
- Low energy or lack of motivation to the degree that it affects work, school or relationships
- Overeating or undereating in an unhealthy way
- Unhealthy behaviors or feelings, such as excessive sadness or anger
- Serious sleep issues
- Inability to function, get out of bed or perform daily tasks
- Health issues
The physicians at Athens ObGyn are here to lend a compassionate, professional ear to women with stress issues. Contact us for an appointment.