Physical and mental health experts have long known that stress lowers immunity. But there are some surprising symptoms you need to know about.
In college Sarah Jenkins was diagnosed with a mild case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition causing gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Since then, “it’s always been manageable,” the now 31-year-old says, adding, “except when I’m under a lot of stress.”
Indeed, in the past six months as Jenkins’ personal life spun out of control, her IBS followed. During this time, she was applying to graduate school for speech pathology, taking prerequisite classes, working at two restaurants and as a tutor and trying to maintain a relationship with her boyfriend.
The result: She either was endlessly on the toilet or had constipation so bad that she could go a week or more without a bowel movement. She also had heartburn so severe she slept sitting up. “I couldn’t be intimate with my boyfriend sometimes because I couldn’t lie down,” Jenkins says.