6 Lesser Known Physical Effects of Stress

We have all been through stressful times. You sleep worse, feel embarrassed, are hungrier, and are less able to concentrate. These are all physical consequences of stress. Yet there are also physical complaints that are less often linked to stress. 

Hair loss

When you are very stressed (longer than a few days) your hair can start to fall out. This of course sounds very bad and it is, but know that it will grow back when you feel calmer again.

Going to the toilet more often

When animals are in life-threatening situations they need to poop often, and the same is true for humans. That's according to research from the Digestive Diseases Research Center in Los Angeles. So when you are stressed you may need to go to the toilet more often and in some situations may even experience diarrhea.


When you make too much of the stress hormone cortisol, it can affect your memory, causing your memories to take on a bit of a different shape. They become more jumbled and some memories even fall away. This is why it is often difficult to think clearly under stress. 

Horizontal lines on your nails

Your nails can also show you that you are stressed. You probably know about the vertical lines on your nails. Those lines are very normal and appear as you age. But do you see horizontal lines? Then there's more to it: it can indicate stress or other problems in your body. So do you see horizontal lines on your nails? If so, contact your doctor.


Stress does make you age faster. When you suffer from chronic stress, the protective layers on your cells can disappear, causing them to age faster. This causes wrinkles to appear sooner. But the good news: you can slow down this process by exercising.


Stress also hurts your resistance. For example, that annoying cold just won't go away and wounds don't go away either. This is because your body is in survival mode and has less time to resolve a cold. Carnegie Mellon University, for example, has proven that chronic stress can also cause a chronic cold. A nasty side effect of stress, in other words.