Diagnosis of Menstrual Cycle Disorders

Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Do you keep track of the days of your menstrual cycle, listing the days you bleed and any symptoms you experience? If so, you’re going to be a step ahead when it’s time to diagnose your menstrual cycle symptoms. Having such a journal or calendar helps your doctor see any patterns that may develop. The doctor can see when you bleed, whether bleeding is light or heavy, and when you experience pain or other physical symptoms, as well as when any emotional symptoms you have.

See: Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle

Current guidelines for diagnosing PMS or PMDD require patients to complete a three month symptom log prior to diagnosis. A pattern of cyclical symptoms that begin after ovulation and end when menstruation starts can signal that a diagnosis of PMS or PMDD is correct.

See: The Symptoms of PMS
The Symptoms of PMDD

Because the symptoms associated with menstrual cycle disorders often mimic the signs and symptoms of other diseases or conditions, getting a correct diagnosis is imperative. Diagnosing the cause of menstrual cycle disorders is often a process of elimination and ruling out other diseases such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders, endocrine system disorders such as thyroid diseases or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and pelvic health diseases.

See: Types of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Blood and lab work including a pregnancy test in premenopausal women is normally the first diagnostic tool ordered by your physician.

Other diagnostic tools and procedures that your doctor can utilize include endometrial biopsy, diagnostic hysteroscopy, and ultrasounds. Which diagnostic measure your physician chooses depends on your age, symptoms, and medical history.


Menstrual Disorders;” Healthy Women.org, NWHRC; accessed 09/13/07.

The American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association 1994.

Robert F Casper, MD; “Patient information: Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder;” UpToDate [online]; accessed 10/24/06.

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