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Since premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes a wide range of symptoms, a specific diagnosis may be difficult to make. Therefore, it is necessary to keep a record of your monthly physical and emotional symptoms. This will help your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis. The symptoms will most likely occur 1-2 weeks before you menstruate. When symptoms occur at about the same time each month, PMS is likely the condition.

Initial Assessment

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. The timing of your symptoms and their impact on daily activities are very important to consider. You may be given a questionnaire or a chart to keep track of your discomforts.

Physical Examination and Tests

A complete physical exam will provide important information. Although there is no single finding that confirms the diagnosis of PMS, your doctor will want to look for signs that may indicate another conditions. Examples include thyroid disorders, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, perimenopause (if you are over 40), or medication side effects.

Psychological Assessment

Sometimes an underlying mental health condition may be present. The symptoms may get worse during the premenstrual phase of your cycle. Screening for depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions may be recommended.


Premenstrual syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 14, 2012. Accessed August 24, 2012.

Premenstrual syndrome. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2012.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: Accessed August 24, 2012.

Last reviewed September 2015 by Andrea Chisholm, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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