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Talking to Your Doctor About Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With PMS | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. Someone with whom you will review what is discussed in the doctor visit. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

  • Where can I get more information about PMS?
  • Should I have a physical examination?
  • Are there any tests I should have to rule out other causes of my symptoms?
  • Do you know what could be making my symptoms worse?

About Treatment Options

  • What treatments are available for PMS?
  • Are there medicines that can help me? If so:
    • How long will they take to work?
    • What benefits can I expect?
    • What side effects can I expect?
  • Have you helped other people with PMS?
  • Do you know any counselors who could help me with PMS?
  • Are there any support groups in the area for people with PMS?

If you decide to try counseling, interview counselors who treat people with PMS. Be sure that you feel comfortable with the counselor. Ask the following questions:

  • Do you have experience treating people with PMS?
  • What is your basic approach to treatment?
  • How long do I need treatment?
  • How long and how frequent are the treatment sessions?
  • What type of healthcare insurance is accepted?
  • Do you have special fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accompany various financial circumstances?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What lifestyle changes can help me to manage PMS? What can I do about my diet, exercise, and stress level?

About Outlook

  • What are my chances of alleviating symptoms of PMS?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse?
  • Will I have PMS all my life?

References:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin: premenstrual syndrome. ACOG. No. 15. April 2000.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome-pms.html . Updated August 2010. Accessed August 20, 2012.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Women's Health.gov website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.cfm . Updated May 18, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2012.



Last reviewed September 2013 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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