Signs of Stress In Women: Effects of Stress On Your Love Life And Fertility

by Majbrit Villadsen on May 23, 2016

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Many women struggle to find the balance between career and family responsibilities, and the signs of stress in women are on the rise. We push ourselves so hard to be recognized as equals to men, while trying to be the perfect mother, wife, lover and friend.

In reality we’re already equal to men. Both genders carry within them feminine and masculine energies. At any given time we’re more in one than the other, and each may be expressed as a balanced or imbalanced energy.

The society however, is dominated by a favoring of imbalanced masculine qualities. The feminine qualities are often not valued as important in the work arena, yet the world would not exist without them. It’s my belief that if we embrace the qualities of nurturance, compassion and empathy more than we do at the moment, stress would drastically be reduced.

We need to reshape society

Because of the male dominated society we live in, we feel we have no choice but to fit into this way of getting things done, and we overrule our inner nature. What we really have to do, each and every woman is to stand by and meet our own needs and intuitive guidance. As a culture, as brothers and sisters, we need to shape a society that gives room for both the feminine and masculine qualities to be expressed. We can honor and explore the value they each bring.

Common signs of stress in women

The tendency to let our lives be run by other people’s needs, and even pushing ourselves beyond our limits to accommodate and take care of others is quite strong. On the flip side we neglect our own needs (we certainly don’t want to be seen as selfish), and eventually end up depleted, emotionally drained, resentful and exhausted.

We’re not all exactly the same, so you may experience different stress symptoms than mentioned here. Here are some of the common signs of stress in women (keep in mind they can also be signs of other imbalances):

  • Irritability, anger, frustration
  • Low sex drive and level of desire
  • Appetite - Weight loss/weight gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Unfocused, lacking overview
  • Forgetfulness
  • Hopelessness
  • Back pain, or other pains in the body
  • Problems with digestion, upset stomach
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem/negative body-image
  • Control issues

What happens in your body

Now we’ve had a look at the signs of stress in women, but what actually happens when we experience something we perceive as stressful?

The stress response triggers a cascade of reactions in the body. Stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine) are released to up our performance levels. And for women, there’s also a significant release of oxytocin, which to some degree counters the production of stress hormones and promotes relaxing and nurturing feelings.

So we have a built in mechanism to protect us from short-term stress, a natural anti-stress hormone. Oxytocin, combined with our reproductive hormones, causes women to go into what has been named ‘tend-or-befriend’ mode when feeling stressed. Bonding with our partner, family and friends; reaching out to others for help, and nurturing those around us is a natural reaction for most women. By reaching out to our social network, relieving our heart to our girlfriends and snuggling with our partner, our brain actually release more oxytocin to restore balance.

How stress can affect fertility and make you not want to make love

In long-term stress the body produces stress hormones at the expense of sex- and reproductive hormones. The shift in hormones lowers your sex drive, and making love is usually the last thing a woman feel like doing when feeling stressed. Often, a woman would compromise her own needs and have sex anyway. In doing so, she slowly disconnects more and more from her body and the relationship suffers more.

Our body-image often gets distorted when we’re stressed. We feel overwhelmed, helpless and go into negative thinking, focusing on all the things we find wrong with our body. Needless to say it doesn’t make us feel desirable and attractive. On top of that our self-esteem suffer as we feel inadequate in our relationship and a sense of guilt towards our partner for not really being available.

Some women’s period becomes irregular or stops altogether due to stress. It may also interfere with ovulation, making it hard for a woman to become pregnant. The body is clever; it clearly favors survival over procreation when the conditions are not optimal for pregnancy.

When stress turns into a chronic situation we may end up with adrenal fatigue. The body is so depleted and is no longer able to produce sufficient amounts of stress hormones or sex hormones. We drag ourselves out of bed every morning, usually relying on stimulants like caffeine, sugar or even alcohol to get through the day. Come evening, we may be wide awake - but still we feel no desire for sexual interactions.

Pre-menstrual, postpartum and menopausal women may be more suceptible to stress and depression because of the hormonal balance associated with these periods. Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can be caused by chronic stress.

Let go of superwoman

If anything in this article rings a bell in you it’s time to turn inwards and tend to your own needs. So much good comes from being in a loving, satisfying connection with yourself and your partner.

Continuing to push ourselves, thinking something is wrong with us, and hoping it will soon pass is not the solution. If you need inspiration, please sign up to our newsletter as we'll soon post an article on how to relieve stress.

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