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If It's Not PMS, What Is It?

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

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 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.).

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