Poor cortisol. Although this hormone mean well, a sudden cortisol increase in your body can cause a lot of damage — physically, emotionally, mentally, and even socially.
When the cortisol level in your body exceeds what’s considered normal, you will undergo a condition known as stress. When your body and mind are under too much stress, it can have a negative impact on your thoughts, performance, relationships, and general well-being.
Although it’s natural — healthy even — to experience a tolerable amount of stress from time to time, it’s helpful to know the early symptoms of an increased cortisol level to prevent further damage caused by stress.
There are several common physical and emotional symptoms of an increased stress level, such as severe headaches, increased heart rate, anxiety, and insomnia. However, there are also other uncommon signs of stress that are often ignored. It’s essential to be aware of these lesser known symptoms because they are the signals being sent by your body to warn you of potential health risk. And when it comes to your health, it’s important to stay vigilant.
Here are the 5 unusual symptoms of stress that you should not ignore:
Irregular bowel movement
Constipation may be a symptom of poor eating habit and lack of proper hydration, but it can also indicate that your body is under stress.
When the body is experiencing a sudden increase in cortisol, the digestive system is also disrupted. Stress and anxiety can suppress the defecation reflex, which is the one responsible in eliminating stool during a bowel movement. This happens because there is a connection between the digestive system and the brain. And when the body is under too much stress, this may result to the brain not functioning properly .
This brain-and-digestive-system connection is the reason why stress can also cause diarrhea or loose bowel movement. However, diarrhea can be a sign of other health conditions such as food intolerance, food allergy, viral or bacterial infection, intestinal disease, or food poisoning.
Have you noticed that when you are troubled, you feel like your body is getting heavier and your belly rounder?
This is because too much cortisol can affect digestion, as mentioned above, and it can put a great deal of pressure on the stomach and abdomen. Furthermore, stress and lack of proper sleep can also cause a gas buildup in your stomach. A gassy tummy can make you look (and feel) bloated.
Dry Skin and Brittle Hair
There are many factors that can cause dry skin and brittle hair, such as sun damage, nutrient deficiency, dehydration, and age. However, if you notice these symptoms despite being religious to your regular skin and hair care regimen, there must be something going on in your body that makes it respond negatively.
If you notice, stressed people can’t really look “blooming” no matter how much cosmetics they use.
Also, excessive amount of stress can even cause hair fall, or worse, hair loss. This is because the hair follicles are put into a resting stage when cortisol hormone is high, causing the strands to break and easily fall out.
So the next time you see your skin getting dry and flaky, and your hair getting brittle and damaged, try to fix these problems from the inside before you start finding expensive hair and skin products that are only full of promises.
Muscle twitching or spasm is a sudden,involuntary contraction of the muscle. This is something that you might often ignore but is another message from the body that tells you are stressed.
Twitching usually happens around the eyes, because stress can cause eyelid spasms. This may not be painful, but it can be annoying and may cause distraction. This involuntary spasms may also occur in the lips, cheeks, hands or fingers, and even the legs.
Recurring, Disturbing Dreams
Sweet dreams are often impossible when you’re mentally stressed. Stress adversely affects your subconscious mind, forming vivid yet disturbing images while you sleep. Often, you usually do not mind such dreams — or better referred to as nightmares — when you wake up. But if these nightmares keep on coming back night after night, then your body may be sending a message that your subconscious mind is troubled.
Be mindful of your body
The signs mentioned above are just few of the uncommon symptoms of stress that we usually think are normal.
If you notice your body is experiencing such symptoms, try to observe and keep track as to when you experience them. You may see a pattern that aligns with your activities and stress level. This way, you will know what might have caused your cortisol hormone to rise.
Mindfully recognizing being overwhelmed already reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed.Lilian Cheung
Being aware of the reasons that cause your stress is as equally important as being aware of its symptoms. Try to stay away from activities, things, or people that cause your stress, or at least minimize engaging with them as much as possible.