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Quick Reference Guide for Clinicians
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Managing Premenstrual Symptoms

(Published June 2008)

Patient Counseling

Although a primary care clinician is often the first point of contact for many women seeking treatment for premenstrual disorders, women’s health practitioners may be more prepared to deal with this complex syndrome. Clinicians should refer women with premenstrual emotional and behavioral symptoms that do not respond to the measures highlighted in this guide for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

Developing a treatment strategy to manage the symptoms of PMS and PMDD can be a complex and elusive process for both the clinician and the patient. Clinicians may be hampered by terms, definitions, and diagnostic criteria that continue to vary, a challenging patient evaluation, and an expanding therapeutic arsenal. Time and patience are required as different modalities, often in combination, are attempted before an effective approach is found. Treatment is highly individualized, and an empathetic approach contributes to therapeutic success.1 An improved level of understanding of this disorder will enable clinicians to better inform and counsel their patients. Hence, education regarding available options is paramount.


  1. Rapkin AJ. New treatment approaches for premenstrual disorders. Am J Manag Care. 2005;11(16 Suppl):pS489.