10 Signs You're Living With Chronic Inflammation And What To Do About It

Behind many an illness, disease, and chronic health disorder lies a certain culprit: chronic inflammation.

By Anna Hugoboom3 min read
Pexels/Ekaterina Nt

I’ve had multiple female friends who have struggled with chronic inflammation. They experienced digestive pain and gut issues, hormone deficiencies and excruciating periods, imbalanced thyroid and subsequent weight management struggles, and even reproductive complications with infertility and eclampsia. It was heartbreaking to see. Sometimes, they would be misdiagnosed, or they would jump through hoops trying all the different diet trends, but to no avail. Their lives were dominated by these issues that prevented them from being fully healthy and happy. I myself have struggled with autoimmune, digestive, and hormonal issues for the past decade, so I know firsthand the struggle is real.

Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

When you see a mosquito bite swell up, hives breakout, a sprained ankle, or a sunburn, you are seeing examples of acute inflammation. Acute inflammation is your body’s natural response to a recent injury or infection – your immune system activates and sends white blood cells to destroy the bacteria or foreign bodies and to heal the damaged tissue. An acute inflammatory response is good and healthy.

However, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and the same applies to inflammation. In cases of chronic inflammation, the body continues the inflammatory response even when the threat is over. This could happen if the injury or infection didn’t heal sufficiently in the acute stage or if the body is under stressors like chronic stress, alcohol usage, obesity, or toxin exposure. Chronic inflammation is a persistent, low-grade immune response that can wreak havoc on your health over time, as white blood cells can mistakenly begin attacking healthy tissue and organs. While acute inflammation serves as our body’s frontline defense mechanism, chronic inflammation can lead to a host of ailments ranging from cardiovascular diseases to autoimmune disorders. 

Chronic inflammation symptoms can manifest in 10 main ways:

  1. Persistent fatigue and low energy levels

  2. Joint pain and stiffness

  3. Digestive issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or abdominal discomfort

  4. Recurring headaches or migraines

  5. Skin problems such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis 

  6. Frequent infections or slow wound healing

  7. Allergies and sensitivities to food or environmental triggers

  8. Mood swings, depression, anxiety, irritability, or difficulty concentrating

  9. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

  10. Increased risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer 

What Triggers Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation is a rampant health issue in our society today. It’s an easy guess that the majority of people you know have some type of chronic inflammatory issue, be it digestive, hormonal, autoimmune, or a skin issue that won’t go away. News flash: Although some tendencies might run in your family, your inflammation isn’t genetic. Instead, it was triggered by something in your environment, your state of health, or a lifestyle choice.

Some chronic inflammation triggers are:

  • immune response from an irritant or infection or as an autoimmune reaction

  • result of poor food choices (especially if you have digestive sensitivities or disorders due to an imbalanced gut flora)

  • poor sleep habits and consistent loss of quality sleep

  • environmental stressors 

  • poor stress management

  • allergic response to an environmental or food irritant

Disease Risks 

Chronic inflammation is more serious than just a long-standing rash that you “deal with.” It puts you at higher risk of developing chronic conditions and diseases such as ulcers, autoimmune and digestive disorders, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and cancer. Cancer is, after all, simply damaged cells that have abnormally formed and spread in the body. Parasitic infections cause cell damage and deterioration that develops into cancer. Lingering inflammation stresses the body and weakens the related cells, which only hold for a time before they succumb to infection and lean toward deterioration too. 

Female Hormones and Chronic Inflammation

The feminine hormones are wondrous things, but they definitely demand attention in one way or another. Women specifically could suffer debilitating developments from chronic inflammation in the form of PCOS, endometriosis, or fibromyalgia, hormonal deficiencies and subsequent imbalances, extremely painful periods, and even struggle with fertility issues and complications during pregnancy and menopause.

Unfortunately, chronic inflammation can’t be fixed with a heating pad and some dark chocolate. Consult with a medical professional to investigate the root cause of your chronic inflammation and come up with a treatment plan to address it, including what lifestyle habits to modify.  

How To Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Sometimes, people can be clueless as to why they feel heavy-headed, or spacey, or bloated; they don’t stop to think about what they recently ate or exposed themselves to or to notice their stress level. If you haven’t learned to keep track of your body’s responses and match symptoms to a possible cause or solution, then how can you find out what you’re dealing with? 


Digestive symptoms of chronic inflammation are far from fun: bloating, swollen gut area, cramps and indigestion. Fortunately, you can use the food you eat every day to mitigate or reduce inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is truly a life-saver for many! Some people swear by the Mediterranean diet, some prefer Paleo, others have benefitted from the GAPS diet, while others (like myself) feel best keeping to their blood type diet and eating hunter-gatherer style with a high-protein diet of meat, eggs, fish and fruits and prepared veggies. 


Regular exercise and physical activity, or lack thereof, is a huge factor in inflammation, and studies have shown that regular movement is key in reducing inflammation and helping alleviate symptoms of chronic inflammatory issues. 

Stress Management

Stress management and mindful activeness are huge, especially for women and their hormonal balance and reproductive health! Medical studies show that emotional regulation with stress management is crucial to keeping the mental state in a peaceful symbiosis with your physical well-being. Mental stressors of negative emotions such as anger, resentment, anxiety, and depression greatly affect your physiology and could affect your body’s immune ability to combat inflammation. 


Sufficient quality sleep makes a world of difference when dealing with inflammation as your body heals during sleep. Incorporate good sleep habits into your nightly routine.

Closing Thoughts

Equipped with a rounded understanding of chronic inflammation and its profound effect on women’s health, we can let ourselves be empowered to take proactive steps toward wellness. 

Some people with a higher pain tolerance will live more easily with chronic inflammation, but just because a person “deals with it” doesn’t mean they’re not in pain. If you’re one of them, be careful not to dismiss what you're feeling because the suppression could increase the inflammation. It’s being proactive, not dramatic, to check with a medical professional about symptoms. Symptoms are messengers relaying information about underlying problems in your body, so listen up!

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