Managing Stress and Anxiety: Techniques for Relaxation and Self-Care

Many women struggling with the symptoms of reproductive and sexual health issues can benefit from finding ways to manage their stress and anxiety. Gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can be associated with intense period pain, painful sex, chronic fatigue, heavy periods and lower abdominal pain. These symptoms are typically a result of increased inflammation in the body resulting from these conditions. Combined with a medical treatment plan, managing stress and anxiety can reduce inflammation and ease symptoms. Let’s discuss managing stress and anxiety with techniques for relaxation and self-care.

The Link between Gynaecological Issues, Inflammation, and Stress

Due to the symptoms, women who suffer from gynaecological issues often experience a reduced quality of life. Constant pain and discomfort can result in chronic fatigue and ultimately affect daily life and mental health. Elevated cortisol levels further exacerbate the inflammation caused by these conditions, as chronically elevated cortisol levels create an inflammatory response in the body. Cortisol is often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’, so it makes sense that managing stress and balancing cortisol levels can help cope with gynaecological conditions. A variety of lifestyle changes can reduce cortisol levels and ease symptoms.

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

In times of intense stress and anxiety, it’s easier to reach for comfort foods, hibernate, and remain sedentary, especially when the anxiety is accompanied by chronic pain. Unfortunately, this isn’t helpful in the long run, but stress can be better managed through various lifestyle changes.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential in managing stress and anxiety and regulating cortisol levels. Habits such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can aid in managing insomnia. Other habits, such as a consistent bedtime, like showering or bathing and reading before bed, can help to wind down. In addition, limiting caffeine and alcohol reduces sleep disruption.

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

A healthy diet is vital in reducing cortisol and inflammation. Foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, mushrooms, and fruit help reduce inflammation and balance cortisol levels. Processed foods high in sugar, salt, and trans fats have the opposite effect, making stress management more difficult.

Gentle Exercise

 Exercise is a critical component of a well-rounded self-care routine. Women struggling with the symptoms of gynaecological issues understandably struggle to maintain an exercise regimen due to fatigue and chronic pain. Gentle forms of exercise, like Pilates, may be more beneficial than more intensive ones, like cross-fit.

Meditation

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation can be integrated into a bedtime routine as a powerful tool to unwind. Look for meditation apps to get started.

Take Time to Socialise

Spending time with loved ones and pets can greatly aid in relaxation. Laughter and bonding with others not only serve as a distraction but also helps to tackle stress and anxiety.

Relaxation and self-care aren’t a luxury but a necessity to manage stress and anxiety effectively. Combining self-care and relaxation practices with medical treatments further promotes well-being and improves the quality of life for many women struggling with reproductive health issues. Healthcare providers often encourage this approach to enhance the effectiveness of medical treatments. Don’t let symptoms worsen; consider booking an appointment with a gynaecologist today.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.