When you believe that the demands on you—such as those from work, education, or relationships—exceed your capacity to handle them, you are under stress. It might be an immediate response to a scenario, like being caught in traffic or running late for an appointment, or it can linger for a long time if you’re dealing with serious circumstances, including relationship or financial difficulties, the loss of a loved one, or other difficult circumstances. Long-term, untreated stress is connected to major health issues such as depression, heart disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system. While some forms of stress can be helpful, such as stress that drives you to study for an exam or do well in a sporting event.

Women routinely report experiencing more stress than males, according to the annual Stress in America poll conducted by the Psychological Association. We’re unsure if this is due to the fact that women usually face higher demands than males, such as frequently shouldering more household duties, or because women react to stress in different ways. But it’s obvious that persistent stress can have negative health and emotional effects if we don’t develop better ways to manage it.

Stress can result in symptoms such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, headaches, stomachaches, digestive issues, nervousness, excessive concern, melancholy or depression, and other physical and mental health issues. A woman’s ability to become pregnant, the health of her pregnancy, and how she adjusts after giving birth can all be severely impacted by stress. Additionally, it may worsen premenstrual symptoms and have an impact on both menstruation and sexual desire.