Tuesday 13 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | Less Stress is Best

Marla Ahlgrimm
Stress, unfortunately, is unavoidable for many women, says Marla Ahlgrimm, a women’s health expert and retired compounding pharmacist from Madison, Wisconsin. Here, Ahlgrimm answers common questions regarding stress and its effects on women’s health.

Q: How does stress affect a woman’s reproductive system and sex drive?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While men look at sex as a way to relieve stress, for many women, intercourse may add further pressure to an already emotional day. Stress not only decreases a woman’s libido but can also affect her ability to become pregnant. Studies have found that women with high levels of alpha amylase, a stress-related enzyme, were 12% less likely to conceive than their stress-free counterparts.

Q: Does stress really cause weight gain?

Marla Ahlgrimm: During times of stress, the body releases a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol is linked to a woman’s hip-to-waist ratio and a decrease in metabolism. Combined with stress eating – when the mind or body craves certain foods to relieve anxiety – cortisol can absolutely lead to weight gain. And, stress-induced pounds may be harder to work off until the source of the stress is eliminated.

Q: How is stress related to insomnia and depression?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Anyone who’s ever lain awake at night worrying over past or future events understands that stress can interfere with the ability to get a good night’s slumber. Women who have difficulty sleeping are often irritable and may have a tougher time concentrating. Insomnia can also lead to a lack of motivation and fatigue can exacerbate feelings of emotional distress, which contributes to depression.

Q: What physical effects does stress have on a woman’s body?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Aside from weight gain, women who are chronically stressed are more prone to acne of the face and body. Additionally, stress can even disrupt the development of hair, causing hair loss over the course of three to six months.


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