How to prepare for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

When something bad happens, feelings of depression, anxiety, or irritability can surprise us and take over our mind. But it doesn't have to be this way. Rather than having negative emotions show up out of nowhere, there are ways women can prepare to handle these emotions.

Nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner stopped by to discuss why these states of mind occur, and how they can combat these feelings.

Dr. Bitner says the mind is a powerful thing to shape our perception of the world and people around us.

Many variables affect how women interact, cope, and make choices. One variable that catches women by surprise is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a mood disturbance which occurs in the days before a period.

Some women experience anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, less motivation, desire to pull away from people and life in general for less than a week every month. But once the period starts, it is as if all those feelings vanished out of thin air.

Perimenopause is a time when hormones change more rapidly, and often estrogen levels drop suddenly instead of a gentle drop like in the earlier phases. Estrogen and brain chemicals are closely related, and some women are more sensitive to even the smallest changes. In menopause, estrogen is consistently low unless replaces with hormones medication, and can also be linked to mood changes such as depression or anxiety. Other factors also affect brain chemicals such as genetics, sleep, and stress.

Once women understand why they're feeling the way they do, they can create a plan to make their lifestyle better and move forward. Some women require meds which raise chemical levels to feel normal, others take hormone medication.

Whatever the case, when women accept the way they feel, understand what's causing those feelings, and have a game-plan to get it under control, women can start to feel better and continue to live a happy, healthy life.

To set up an appointment with Dr. Bitner or her staff, call (616)267-8520. Their office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite A., Grand Rapids. Make sure to visit her blog at

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