top of page

If It's Not PMS, What Is It?

Updated: May 1

Most people assume they have PMS if they have specific symptoms or cyclical symptoms. But could it be something else?

Conditions That Mimic PMS

There are a number of conditions that look a lot like PMS but actually aren't. Treating PMS when a patient has a completely different condition wont help at all so determining what is really going on is important.

Common PMS mimicking conditions are...

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Perimenopause (more of a normal phase of life than a condition)

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Thyroid disease

Woman dealing with the symptoms of PMS

Conditions That Can Get Worse in Luteal Phase

Some conditions have a cyclical nature and symptoms get worse during the luteal phase (between ovulation and menstruation) as these conditions are exacerbated by fluctuating hormones.

Common conditions exacerbated during the luteal phase include...

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Migraines

  • Epilepsy

  • Allergies and Asthma

All these conditions, the mimics and the exacerbators, can also co-exist with PMS adding another layer of potential complexity.

How Can You Tell What Is PMS, A Mimic, An Exacerbator or A Combination?

Human health is complicated but symptom trackers can really help untangle this particular set of conditions. The tracker I suggest to my patients has been validated in studies and is on paper to keep health information private. Tracking should be done for about 3 months to get a clear picture but this should not delay treatment. You can track and treat at the same time.

A woman tracking her PMS symptoms

A few of these conditions, like hypothyroidism, are also easily ruled out with basic blood tests. Often, there are other conditions considered for a patient based on their unique presentation that may also need to be ruled out (like PCOS, Endometriosis, fibroids, etc.).


bottom of page