Vaginal problems are an issue that most women would rather not discuss, and it can be especially frustrating when they appear with no obvious cause. What many women may not realize is that vaginal problems can occur as a result of or be exacerbated by anxiety. Read on to learn how anxiety can trigger unpleasant physical symptoms for women, and how they can overcome them.
Scientists are still learning about the plethora of ways that anxiety can affect the body, but the “fight or flight” response that makes your adrenaline skyrocket comes with a host of negative side effects that have yet to be fully understood. Symptoms that relate specifically to the vagina can include vaginal dryness, discharge, itching and pain. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, take a step back and think about when they become worse. If you have to, keep a journal and record the ebb and flow of your symptoms. If your symptoms tend to coincide with anxiety, there is a good chance that they either stem from this, or it’s worsening your condition. Regardless, you should pay a visit to your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions and obtain any medications that you may need.
If it is determined that anxiety is at the root of your problem, you’re going to have to address it. If you don’t, you will still be plagued with all of the symptoms that stem from it. You can begin by overhauling your lifestyle and making it more conducive to relaxation. Try to keep stressful situations at a minimum, if at all possible, and prevent yourself from taking on more responsibility than you can handle. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night, and practice deep breathing and meditation as much as possible. When you practice deep breathing, it’s important to make sure that you are breathing from deep within your diaphragm, and not taking shallow breaths that will prove fruitless in healing your anxiety and may even put you more at risk for experiencing hyperventilation. Take a deep breath and count to five, hold your breath for another five seconds, and then slowly release. Continue doing this until you begin to feel your body relax, and try focusing your mind on something peaceful. Don’t fret if you become distracted while doing, as it’s completely normal and is bound to happen in the beginning. Just refocus your attention on your meditation, and eventually you’ll discipline your brain to meditate for longer periods of time.
Try to cut back on caffeine and other stimulants, and eat a healthy, balanced diet as much as possible. Eliminate much of the fatty foods and eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In addition, try to exercise on a regular basis, as this can provide mental health benefits in spade. Yoga, in particular, is very helpful for the mind and body and is recommended by many health professionals for the treatment of anxiety. Whatever you do, remember that sitting on the couch all day is not going to help you, mentally or physically. Get up and get moving if you truly want to conquer your anxiety!
Finally, it’s important to remember that sometimes severe anxiety issues won’t improve without professional treatment. There are many qualified therapists out there who can help you address the faulty beliefs and cognitive styles that are causing your anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be most effective, so make sure to find a therapist who specializes in this type of therapy. Remember, there’s no reason to be embarrassed about your anxiety and your vaginal symptoms. Health professional have seen it all, and it’s their job to help you become the best and healthiest person you can be.
“Vagina: What’s Normal, What’s Not.” Mayo Clinic. <http://www.mayoclinic.com> 12 Jan 2013.