Understanding You Steps forward to assist in the management of premenstrual symptoms
Talk to Your Doctor
Many women assume (or have been told by friends or relatives) that the emotional and physical symptoms they may experience in the lead up to their period, are just something they have to put up with. Some women don't even realise the symptoms they experience before their period are actually PMS or PMDD and have just come to accept them as part of being a woman1.
This is not right.
Times have changed and no matter how mild the symptoms you’re experiencing are, it’s important to speak with your doctor. He or she will be aware of the most up to date medical treatment and lifestyle changes that can help minimise the impact of symptoms on your life.
If you have a regular doctor you feel comfortable talking to about your period, then its best to visit them. If you do not have a regular doctor, you may consider asking a friend or family member for a recommendation.
What should you expect when you visit your doctor?
There is no medical test to determine if you suffer from the symptoms of PMS or PMDD however, amongst other things, your doctor may:
- Evaluate your symptoms, their frequency, severity and how they relate to your menstrual cycle;
- Talk to you about your family history; and
- Rule out other possible causes for your symptoms.
Before visiting your doctor, it may be helpful to register for Your Body Diary and start tracking your symptoms. Your Body Diary can help provide your doctor with a clear picture of the impact and severity of the emotional and physical symptoms you experience in the lead up to your period. Begin filling it out, and take a print out with you to your appointment.
You may also want to read the Discussion Guide: ,Talking to your Doctor, which includes valuable questions you may want to ask, as well as information you will want to provide the doctor at your appointment. This Guide won’t have all the questions you want to bring up with your doctor, but it will be a starting point for discussion.
What happens next?
Once your doctor has evaluated your symptoms, together you can develop a treatment plan and discuss lifestyle changes that may help you minimise the impact premenstrual symptoms are having on your life.
- Robinson RL, Swindle RW., Premenstrual symptom severity: impact on social functioning and treatment-seeking behaviors, Journal of Women's Health and Gender Based Medicine, 2000;9(7):757-68.