According to a recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry, women are more sensitive to a certain stress hormone than men. They are also less able to adjust levels of this hormone, which is known as corticotrophin-releasing factor or CRF.
Women have a higher rate of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety-related disorders. For this reason, Rita J. Valentino, a behavioral neuroscientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia developed a study to better understand gender differences and stress. Valentino and her team analyzed the brains of rats in response to a swim stress test, particularly their response to CRF.
The female rats were much more sensitive to CRF than their male counterparts, who had a reduced number of CRF receptors and thus an adaptive response. This discovery may help explain why women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders.
Understanding sex differences in stress disorders is extremely helpful for treatments. CRF research will hopefully allow scientists to discover to drugs to aide patients who suffer high levels of stress and the accompanying health problems.
Proper stress management is key to living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding conflict and disease. Although the stress levels and relief are different for each person, many people find exercising, writing, letting feelings out and doing things they enjoy as very beneficial.
NorthShore University HealthSystem will be holding an online live chat on stress management. The chat, “How to Keep Stress from Ruining Your Health”, will be held on Thursday, January 21st at 11am CST.