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How Do You Know If You Really Have PMS?

If you think you may have PMS, start keeping a symptom diary. List the dates of your period, and which symptoms you have (and their severity) on the 10 days preceding, as well as following, your period. After tracking your symptoms for at least 2 cycles (but ideally 3), bring this diary with you when you consult your physician, along with a list of all medications you are taking (including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbs, vitamins, and supplements). Your doctor will give you a complete history and physical exam to rule out other possibilities (such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia or depression). No specific physical findings or tests can confirm the diagnosis of PMS.

If you think you have PMS, take Dr. Donnica's Decisionnaire ™. Check off all the points that apply to you and take this list with you when you consult your physician.

___   Do you have a stressful lifestyle?
___   Are you having relationship difficulties with your spouse, family members or coworkers?
___   Would those who live or work with you say you have PMS?
___   Are you getting enough sleep (do you awake feeling refreshed?)?
___   Do you have regular eating habits and a balanced diet?
___   Do you get 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times per week?
___   Do you smoke?
___   Do you drink alcoholic beverages?
___   Do you have more than two 8-ounce caffeinated beverages per day?
___   Is your diet high in red meat, salty foods or sugar?
___   Do you have food cravings in the 10-day period before your period?
___   Do you have mood swings or crying jags in the 10 days before your period?
___   Do you feel bloated before your period?
___   Do you actually gain weight the few days before your period (that goes away when you've finished)?
___   Are you on birth control pills?

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Created: 9/22/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

 If you have checked 2 or more boxes on this checklist, show it to your doctor and say that you want to know if s/he thinks you are at risk for osteoporosis. 

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