Stressed to the Point of Sickness

Feeling stressed?  Who doesn't at some point or another? We've all heard stress can take its toll on your health. But ladies, did you know it could cause bloating, weight gain and even fertility problems?

"We get stressed a lot!," Joan Ellis, of Somers, Ct. said.

"I'm miserable. I like to take naps and eat Munson's chocolate,” said Katrina Thrall, of Manchester.

"Stress means my shoulders are up to my ears," Ellis said.

But stress can cause much more serious problems in women such as breakouts, headaches, heart problems, sleep deprivation and even trouble conceiving.

"[Chronic stress] really affects a lot," the head of UConn Health Center’s Division of internal medicine, Dr. Adam Silverman said. "Sometimes we have a tough time even identifying it... It's part of our every day life," he said.

So maybe you can't avoid it, but what's a girl to do when it comes to dealing with stress?

UConn medical students will soon be treating patients of their own -- many of whom are stressed out. But first they're learning how to de-stress themselves with deep breathing exercises.

"There's really good evidence these days to show that certain mind-body techniques, such as breath work, meditation, visualization even movement like yoga, chi gong or Thai chi- can be quite helpful," said their professor, Dr. Mary Guerrera.

Another option is to needle away the stress with acupuncture.

"I have seen in the past 10 years a very big increase in the number of people seeking it out and who are aware of the benefits of it,” licensed acupuncturist, Karen Borla, said.

Borla said this ancient Chinese treatment is peaceful and produces results. "Most people leave feeling very revitalized and refreshed."

Other proven remedies for relieving stress include exercise, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep. All could help make the difference in warding off stress-induced sickness.

"You've got to make some sort of change in your lifestyle.  There's no real pill to de-stress your life,” said Dr. Silverman.

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