Stress and PCOS have a common bond…
Many women with PCOS experience stress because of their PCOS syndrome, but did you know that stress can also aggravate PCOS, hormones and weight gain, PCOS and infertility, and more?
Let’s take a general look at stress and what you can do in managing PCOS signs and symptoms related to stress…
Are Stress And PCOS Keeping You From Health?
Stress is now a common fixture in our hectic, busy lives. Small amounts of stress that are easily resolved can be beneficial in motivating and helping us achieve our goals. Although chronic or long-term stress affects each of us differently, it ultimately affects the whole body in a negative way and may contribute to many health complaints.
Is your health being affected by stress?
Do you often feel anxious, worried, depressed, irritable, exhausted, overloaded or forgetful?
Do you suffer from stiff or sore muscles or joints, tension headaches, high blood pressure, frequent colds or the flu?
Or do you have irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, an increase or loss of appetite, or worsening of an existing illness or condition?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, your body may be overburdened by stress.
Fight or Flight: Your Response to Stress
Thousands of years ago, we may have been faced with the threat of a saber tooth tiger and our immediate response to this was one of two reactions: to attack or run away. This is now known as the fight or flight response.
Once this stress response is triggered, chemical messengers called adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline are produced by the adrenal glands and brain. These messengers increase blood flow to the essential organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, and muscles to help us fight or run away.
Digestive function slows down as this is less important in survival mode. Cortisol also increases the amount of sugar released into the blood to provide energy for our muscles to attack or run. This increased sugar in our blood leads to insulin resistance, one of the main drivers of PCOS. This also contributes to an imbalance of hormones and weight gain and PCOS infertility.
In the past, stress was short-lived and once the stress was over, these chemical messengers shortly returned to normal.
Where’s the Off Switch?
Over time our bodies have not changed this biological response to stress. Although the saber tooth tigers are long gone, the physical threat to our lives and limbs has been replaced with the modern day stress of long work hours, financial worries, traffic jams and family issues. So what happens if this stress response does not turn off because of our non-stop busy lifestyles?
Ongoing stress that does not resolve may result in chronic stress, which can be the underlying cause of many health conditions. Chronic stress can impact body systems such as the cardiovascular system by contributing to high blood pressure. It can also take its toll on your nervous system leading to exhaustion, headaches, and insomnia. Your digestive and immune systems can also be weakened by stress, making you more susceptible to irritable bowel syndrome, frequent colds, and the flu.
Herbs and Nutrients for De-stressing
Go from ‘dis-stressed’ to ‘de-stressed’ with the help of herbs and nutrients. As always, I recommend you seek professional guidance when using herbs as they contain wonderful, powerful components best targetted by an expert practitioner:
- Rhodiola and withania are herbs which enhance the body’s response to stress. Rhodiola has been shown to reduce both physical and mental fatigue during times of stress.
- The herbs, passionflower, zizyphus, and magnolia have been traditionally used for reducing stress, anxiety and nervous tension.
- St John’s wort is well-known for supporting healthy mood and protecting against the effects of stress.
- Magnesium, glutamine and B vitamins are used in abundance during times of stress when the body’s requirement for these key nutrients is increased. Magnesium assists in muscle relaxation and calms the nervous system.
As well as herbal approaches there are five quick tips to reduce PCOS stress. Drum roll, please…
Here are 5 Top PCOS Stress Busting Tips:
Lessen your stress load by practicing the following stress-busting strategies:
1. Rest and Relaxation:
Relaxation techniques such as tai chi, yoga, and meditation can help you to control stress and improve physical and mental wellbeing.
2. Think Positive:
A good attitude and positive outlook are fundamental for de-stressing. Thinking positively will help you get through a stressful period with greater enthusiasm and drive.
Note: If you suffer from anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue, please, please seek professional help.
Exercise is a brilliant form of stress relief as it conditions the body and mind, and encourages the release of endorphins to help you feel good.
5. Eat Healthy Foods:
For a healthy mind and body, eat a diet abundant in fresh, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Consume protein with meals and snacks, and enjoy foods high in essential fatty acids such as oily fish, nuts, and seeds. Minimise your intake of caffeine, energy drinks, sugar, alcohol and processed foods as these will contribute to fatigue in the long-term.
Stress Less for Good Health and Wellness
Although the causes of the stress of modern life may be inescapable, it is important to remember that we can easily manage our response to stress with the help of dietary and lifestyle changes and some key natural medicines. Supporting a healthy stress response will allow you to feel more energised, resilient and ready to tackle life, so you can maintain the state of health and wellness that you deserve.
And reducing stress is also imperative if you are to reduce your PCOS signs and symptoms, and live a well life.
In my bestselling book Conquer Your PCOS Naturally, I delve into stress in detail in Chapter 6, from page 111, and how it affects PCOS. You’ll also discover 14 ways you can beat stress to help you:
* Lose weight, and keep it off
* Restore a regular cycle, and boost your fertility
* Reduce, even eliminate, your depression and anxiety, and more…
Including one inexpensive, healthy and tasty option from your local supermarket shelf.
And, until next time,
From PCOS to perfect health, with love,
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