(BlackDoctor.org) — We all know that stress takes a toll on your mind and your body. It shakes up your nerves, it puts you on edge and can cause unwanted side effects, such as sexual problems, insomnia, even hair loss.
When most of us think of the physical effects of stress, our minds jump to common complaints like headaches and upset stomachs. Stress, however, can influence many aspects of physical and mental health, ranging from teeth and skin to memory and concentration skills — even how well we sleep. The good news is while these problems may seem serious, stress relief can make real improvements on your overall health and well-being.
Some amount of hair loss is normal — strands fall out over time and get replaced by new ones. However, when you’re under physical or emotional stress, the normal shedding of 100 or so hairs a day can speed up to the point where half to three-quarters of your hair can fall out. Known as telogen effluvium, this diffuse and often stress-induced hair loss may not happen right away. In fact, it may take weeks or months after the stressful event for the hair to actually shed. Fortunately, after six to eight months, this type of hair loss often improves.
We all have our moments of not being able to find our car keys, but research shows that the more stress we are under, the more frequent these mental lapses may become. In fact, not only can long-term stress (over a period of weeks or months) disrupt communication between brain cells, but even several hours of acute stress can affect the brain’s ability to store information and create solid memories. For many people, frequent bouts of forgetfulness can lead to fears about Alzheimer’s disease. But before jumping to conclusions, take a step back and consider whether any chronic stress in your life may be playing a role in memory issues.
Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups — most of us are well-versed in what it takes to keep our teeth healthy. But how many of us realize that the effects of stress can impact dental health? During the day and even while sleeping, people under stress may clench their teeth or grind them back and forth against one another. This action, called bruxism, can not only wear down and damage your teeth, but may also cause temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), leading to severe jaw and neck pain.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, our internal thoughts and feelings can actually affect our external appearance. This is particularly true when it comes to stress. One of the effects of stress is skin that’s more sensitive to irritants. Stress can worsen pre-existing conditions including rosacea, psoriasis, and acne, as well as dehydrate the skin, permitting allergens, bacteria, and pollutants to irritate it.