How Stress Affects Women
Women are stressed out in different ways, and from different causes, than men. While men are most likely to report that work causes stress, women are more likely to attribute their stress to financial worries. They're also far more likely to report high levels of stress than men. In one survey, 28% of women said they experience stress at a level of eight to 10 on a 10-point scale, with only 20% of men reporting the same.
Women also handle their stress differently than men. Perhaps it's oxytocin as mentioned previously, which women get in higher doses in reaction to stress. Women are more likely to confide in friends and family and to talk about their emotions more freely. That's a good thing, as one way to cope with stress is to openly address it.
What's not so good for women, though, is that their stress is more likely to manifest in physical symptoms. Women are significantly more likely to report stress headaches, stomach complaints, and crying provoked by stress than men.
Stress and Sexual Health in Women
Intense stress can cause women and adolescent girls to miss their periods, or to experience irregular cycles. It can also make their periods more painful. PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and mood swings can worsen, too. Sexual desire can wane for stressed out women as well.
For women approaching menopause, hormonal changes can bring on stress. Emotional stress can make the symptoms of menopause worse, too, such as an increase in the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.