Four physical effects of stress on the body

Symptoms of stress manifest differently in people and can take emotional, physical or mental form.

Most of us occasionally about feeling stressed out by work, school, relationships and other parts of our lives that require some level of effort and attention. Despite how often we talk about being stressed, we hardly associate it with certain changes in the way our bodies function. Read on to learn more about four physical symptoms of stress.


A 2003 study by researchers at Stanford University found that college students experienced acne flare-ups during exams, a period associated with relatively higher stress levels compared to few weeks into the start of school where no tests are conducted. Dermatologist, Dr Lisa A. Garner offered this explanation on

When you already have acne, and you get into a stressful situation, that seems to be when your acne really flares up.


Probably a common effect of stress on one’s health is in the form of a headache. It’s no wonder your head tends to ache at the end of a stressful day or when you are worried about an ongoing or impending event. Research from 2015 indicated that increased stress levels were associated with frequency of headaches. Lack of sleep, brought on by stress, can result in headaches as well.

Getty/ Peter Dazeley

Digestive problems

You may have noticed that a change in your bowel movement when you are feeling stressed. Some people experience constipation, diarrhoea as well as heartburns when they are under pressure. A 2010 study conducted on 2,700 children found that exposure to stressful events or activities caused them to constipate. Although other factors can cause digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, heightened stress can trigger these as well.

Frequent ailment

Long periods of stress may take a toll on your immune system’s ability to fight off common infections. This means you may be more prone to common cold and other viral infections when you are feeling stressed. According to

psychological stress can affect a range of bodily functions, such as inflammatory responses, wound healing, and the body’s ability to fight off infection and disease

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