Ringing ears, brittle nails and 5 other weird signs of stress no one talks about.

We've all got so much s**t going on. Like, life is A LOT right now. And sometimes your body just pulls a big ol' NOPE on you. That's when our friend stress kicks in. 

Watch: Check out these three steps to help you stress less. Post continues below.

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And by now (hey 2020), you're probably pretty darn familiar with the usual signs of stress. 

Whether you’re having a rough time at work, you’re stuck in a weird social situation or you’re just stressed out with life in general - stress can be a hard thing to avoid. 

And the signs are all pretty obvious. You're exhausted. Your energy levels drop. You're irritable. Restless. Tensed up. Can't sleep. 

Listen: Are parents at risk of burnout? Post continues below.

But what you might not know are that there are some subtle, albeit scary, things that happen to our bodies when we're stressed out. 

So, before it all catches up with you - in the words of a wise old man called Ice Cube, check yourself before you wreck yourself. 


Here are some lesser-known signs you need to pay attention to.

1. You suddenly have to... go to the bathroom.

You know how a dog will just randomly pee at a sign of confrontation or fear? That's a thing we do, too. 

When we're under stress, our fight-or-flight response kicks in which triggers a release of hormones that mess with your intestinal functions. 

It has also been found that in stressful situations, the brain can trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which increases bladder contractions, meaning some people under intense pressure develop diarrhoea. 

What a time.

Image: Giphy 


2. Your nails look gnarly.

We all know that stress brings on bad habits like nail-biting and such, but have you ever wondered why your nails just suddenly start looking like you smoke a pack a day? 

It could be because you're stressed, you know. All that glorious cortisol coursing through your system makes your nails brittle and prone to cracking and breaking. 

Read more: Signs of cancer and thyroid problems: What your nails say about your health.

You also might notice a weird raised ridge in the middle of your nail (this is called Beau's nails), which is your body telling you to slow TF down. 

If you notice any of these signs, it's best to check in with your doctor to make sure everything is okay - cause these indentations are also linked to things like diabetes. 

Image: Giphy 


3. Your ears ring.

About one in three Aussies suffer from ringing ears at some point in their lives, and many of these cases are related to stress and anxiety. 

While it's usually a temporary thing (unless you have tinnitus), it's basically caused by pressure in your head and abnormal blood flow, both of which happen when we're super stressed.

A study from Sweden's Karolinska Institute actually found the stress of switching jobs increased ringing and other hearing problems among women by 43 per cent. This happens because the limbic region of your brain (the bit that manages stress) goes into overdrive when you experience that ringing noise. 


We still don't know why this happens, but there's no denying that it can be a real issue for those of us who are constantly on the stress train.

Image: Giphy 

4. You experience more hair loss than usual.

While some hair fall is normal, if you're noticing more than usual this might be a sign of stress. According to The American Academy of Dermatology, temporary hair loss could be due to the heightened inflammation your body experiences when stressed.


If you've had a couple of rough days at work, don't mourn over your hair just yet. However, if you find that you are experiencing a constant level of stress for quite some time, know that it's not unlikely to experience hair loss.

Image: Giphy 

5. You break out.

Here's one for you: Your rising levels of cortisol tell your skin's sebaceous glands (these secrete oil), to kick into overdrive, which lead to cute outbursts of temporary acne. 


Cortisol, hey... what an idiot. 

Cortisol looking at your sebaceous glands. Image: Giphy 

6. You keep forgetting things.

Ever had to do a presentation at work and you just CAN'T get the words out? Yeah? That's cortisol wrecking havoc on you when you're at your most vulnerable. 


Yep - the a-hole that is cortisol just keeps on giving. 

When this chemical is overproduced, it basically puts a halt on your normal neurotransmitters meaning they can't do their job properly. The result? The cells in your brain struggle to communicate with each other and you struggle to find the right words/look like a nervous wreck in front of your boss and colleagues. 

So. Damn. Cruel.

Image: Giphy 


7. Your cuts won't heal.

If you've burnt your face with a hair straightener because you were rushing to get out the door in the morning, this cute new burn mark might take a while to heal. Same goes for other cuts and scrapes. 


Well, when you're stressed your body basically draws water away from your skin's outer layers (to keep in case of emergency - HOW WEIRD ARE OUR BODIES), which messes with your skin's ability to repair and heal itself.

Image: Giphy 


Feature image: Getty

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