Posted on Jul 03, 2013, 6 a.m.
In four out of ten cases, long-term psychological stress leads to some form of physical ailment, among middle-aged women.
Mental distress is suspected as an underlying and often underrecognized cause of physical complaint. Dominique Hange, from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), and colleagues assessed data collected on 1,500 middle-aged women enrolled in the Population Study of Women in Gothenburg. The data revealed that one in five middle-aged women had experienced constant or frequent stress during the last five years. Further, in four out of ten cases, long-term stress suffered by women leads to some form of physical complaint. Among those women who reported stress, 40% had psychosomatic symptoms in the form of aches and pain in their muscles and joints, 28% suffered from headaches or migraines, and the same proportion reported gastrointestinal complaints. However, there was no association between perceived mental stress at baseline and mortality over 37 years of follow-up.
Hange D, Mehlig K, Lissner L, Guo X, Bengtsson C, Skoog I, Bjorkelund C. “Perceived mental stress in women associated with psychosomatic symptoms, but not mortality: observations from the Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden.” Int J Gen Med. 2013 Apr 24;6:307-15.