Ask the right doctor: If your doctor has been dismissive or demeaning to you before, there’s no reason to think she’ll be patient and compassionate this time. Ideally, you’ll find an open-minded doctor who is willing to listen to you and take time to address your concerns.
Ask the right kind of doctor: A general practitioner, internist, or family practitioner has the difficult task of knowing enough about everything, meaning she is less likely to be versed in the proper identification of PMS and PMDD. The doctor most likely to be familiar with your condition is a gynecologist or a psychiatrist.
Manage your expectations: Patients don’t always get what they want from their doctor, which often is simply to be heard and understood. Meanwhile, doctors are often extremely busy with both patient care and administrative tasks, and are focused on whether they can quickly identify your ailment and prescribe medication for it. Keeping in mind your desires and the demands your doctor faces can help you feel better about whatever transpires during your appointment.
Do you want medication for your condition? Keep in mind that even if your doctor does confirm your suspicions that you have PMS or PMDD, the only thing the vast majority of MDs or conventional practitioners are able to do for you is prescribe birth control or antidepressants. This shouldn’t stop you from seeing a doctor, but knowing this going in can make your expectations more realistic.
Internet diagnosis is not diagnosis: Only licensed doctors and health care practitioners can make a diagnosis. Whether you’ve gotten your information from this site, another site, or a friend or relative, the best you can do is suspect that you have PMS or PMDD. Only a doctor can give an "official" diagnosis. Of course, diagnosis is often just a name for a constellation of symptoms, and serves to confirm what you already suspect or know. If you incorporate our lifestyle advice and take PMS Comfort, and your symptoms then go away, it’s fair to say your suspicions have been confirmed, even though you may not have received a formal diagnosis. However, the vast amount of information (good and bad) on the Internet means that patients often approach doctors with an "Internet diagnosis." For doctors, this can be wearisome, because, as often as not, people come to them with, medically speaking, "crackpot" diagnoses. One of the reasons we created PMS Comfort is because of the lack of high quality information on PMS, PMDD, and women’s health on the web. So, there’s a reason your health care practitioner may roll her eyeballs when she hears the phrase "I read on the Internet ..." Keep this in mind when you ask for her expert opinion.
More information probably won’t convince her: Burying your doctor in information you’ve culled from the web or other sources is unlikely to convince her. She’s more likely to feel that you are implying she doesn’t know enough, or she may question the sources of the information. You may be greeted with a more receptive response if you say "I read such and such, but I want your opinion, because you are the expert, and I don’t trust everything I read." Most doctors would also find it more useful if you’ve taken the time everyday to faithfully record your symptoms for 60 or more days than if you spent the same amount of time and energy searching the web.
Keep a journal: Although it can be a chore, and not for the impatient, the ideal way to diagnose PMDD and PMS requires careful tracking of symptoms over a three month (PMS) or one year (PMDD) time frame. You can learn more about the exact correct way of diagnosing PMS and PMDD in our articles on these subjects. Most doctors do not actually use this method, as it is difficult and time-consuming for patients, and delays treatment. However, don’t be disappointed if your doctor doesn’t give your journal the time and attention you justifiably feel your efforts deserve. It is time and energy well spent, because it will help clarify in your own mind what is actually going on.
Don’t give up: If confirmation from a doctor or licensed health care practitioner is important to you, don’t stop if just one doctor didn’t listen or understand your concerns. Seek out alternate opinions.
Remember that hormones can aggravate other conditions: If your symptoms occur at any time of the month, and you have another medical or psychiatric condition, such as depression, bipolar disease, a personality disorder, or hypothyroidism, PMS or PMDD may not be the most accurate diagnosis for you. If your doctor has really listened to you, and still doesn’t agree that you have PMS or PMDD, this may be one of the reasons.