As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the globe are experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety. Stress leads to a wide range of physical and mental issues and often leads to disease. It wreaks havoc on the hormonal levels in our body, causing imbalances that result in pain, discomfort and even infections in our feminine regions.
When we are faced with stress or a perceived threat, it triggers a physiological fight-or-flight response. Our body releases a surge of powerful hormones, including epinephrine, more commonly referred to as “adrenaline,” and cortisol, our primary stress hormone that is critical for overall health and well-being.
During the fight-or-flight response, adrenaline elevates the heart rate and blood pressure while cortisol helps control blood sugar levels. Cortisol also alters immune responses, reduces inflammation and regulates metabolism, among other important functions. When these hormones are overproduced, this puts our overall health at risk. We may experience anything from low energy, weight gain and sleep deprivation to high blood pressure and feminine health issues.
When anxiety and stress levels are not addressed, this can cause women to experience uncomfortable feminine issues, including:
Stress has an extremely dehydrating effect on our entire body. This causes discomfort across the board, especially in women’s particularly sensitive genital areas.
During high stress or anxiety levels, vaginal discharge may increase and cause abnormal odors. This may cause discomfort and self-consciousness.
High cortisol levels caused by stress and anxiety may lower libido and contribute to changes in a woman's menstrual cycle. It can also result in discomfort and even pain during sex.
Heightened stress levels can cause discomfort in the form of itching and burning sensations within the vaginal walls.
When we experience anxiety, it can throw off the levels of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the vagina, known as the pH balance. This may result in a vaginal infection, known as bacterial vaginosis. While symptoms vary, vaginosis can cause serious discomfort in the form of itching and burning. It is important to seek medical treatment when this occurs.