Effects of Chronic Stress on Male Health

Stress is no stranger to any of us. Most of us face some degree of stress at least once a day. This same stress can deteriorate your health if it lasts for a long time.


What Causes Stress?


Stress is defined as the body’s reaction to tension. It can be triggered by an event that is out of your control or anything that causes you to get nervous, anxious, and frustrated. When you feel threatened by a situation, a chemical reaction is experienced within the body, also known as the “fight or flight” response. The muscles tighten under stress, breathing accelerates, heart rate quickens, and blood pressure rises. This response is to protect the body from any danger it might be exposed to.


Long-Term Effects of Stress


There are numerous symptoms of stress, which include behavioral, psychological, and physical symptoms. When men suffer from the effects of stress, they tend to start smoking, withdrawing from physical activity, overeating meals, skipping meals, and often turn to alcohol or drug abuse.


Under high-stress levels, men also withdraw from friends and family members, become more closed off, take up gambling, develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors, suffer from insomnia, or sleep too often. The psychological symptoms of stress include getting angry, irritated, and restless quickly. Moreover, individuals often report feelings of depression and loneliness as well.


How Does Stress Affect a Man?


In this article, we will take a closer look at the long-term effects of stress on men. Continue reading to find out how stress could be silently deteriorating your health and why you need to practise stress management daily.


How Does Stress Affect a Man Sexually?


Stress triggers the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, within the body. Cortisol is vital for the body in moderation; however, due to chronic stress, it can go into overdrive and affect the male reproduction system negatively. It can also impact testosterone production, leading to a loss of libido and erectile dysfunctionality.


Chronic stress can create issues in sperm production and maturation, which can lead to infertility. Furthermore, since stress can affect the immune system, it can make one prone to infections. For men, this makes them more vulnerable to developing infections within the prostate gland and vital organ, which can affect the reproductive system.


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Stress and Cardiovascular Disease


Unfortunately, experiencing stress for a long time can create problems for blood vessels and the heart. The increased stress hormones and blood pressure combined with accelerated heart rate can predispose men to develop stroke, heart attack, and hypertension.


Did you know stress can also lead to inflammation within the circulatory system? This is most commonly experienced in coronary arteries, which directly impact the heart and increase the odds of a heart attack. Additionally, a person’s reaction to stress can also affect their cholesterol levels.


How Stress Affects the Digestive System?


Did you know stress can put a damper on brain-gut communication? It can cause gut discomfort, bloating, and pain. Stress not only alters gut bacteria but can also change the mood. Long term effects of stress on the digestive system can impact your bowel movement, thereby leading to either constipation or diarrhea. It can also cause painful muscle spasms within the bowel.


Moreover, stress can also influence which nutrients are absorbed by the intestines as well as digestion. The intestine has a naturally tight barrier that protects the body against food-related bacteria. Long-term stress can weaken this barrier and enable gut bacteria to enter the body.


Individuals suffering from chronic bowel disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, are more prone to be affected by stress.


How to Manage Stress?


If you are experiencing stress more than usual, it is best to equip yourself with stress management techniques, which you can practise daily to alleviate symptoms. The following are some ways to manage stress effectively:


Try Stress Relief Exercises at Home: Taking care of your health and body is the best investment. Exercising improves the production of endorphins and dopamine within the body. The combination of these chemicals promote happiness and decrease stress. You can choose any physical activity of your choice, such as weight lifting, walking, jogging, or yoga.


Stress Relief Mindfulness: Benefits of mindfulness include reducing anxiety, depression and stress. This technique involves meditation focusing on breathing. You can also practise mindfulness while doing yoga by focusing on your surroundings, physical sensations as you transition from one asana to another.


Stress and Sleep Deprivation: Not getting enough sleep can make you feel the impact of stress more than usual. Aim at getting at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you face difficulty sleeping, try sleeping at the same time daily. It helps you wake up and sleep with ease. Also, avoid eating, working out, or drinking caffeine too close to bedtime.


Strong Emotional Support System: Everyone needs a support system after all your friends and family can help you feel better, ad positivity to your life, deviate your mind, and provide a shoulder to lean on.


Know Your Stress Triggers: The best technique for reducing stress is by recognizing what is causing it in the first place. Whether it is a specific person or a situation; you can start by reducing exposure and focusing more on positive things in your life.

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