Estrogen’s Storm Season: Stories of Perimenopause

Estrogen's Storm Season: Stories of Perimenopause
Published: July 30, 2005
Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior is a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. She is also the Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research ( This website overflows with practical information about the menstrual cycle. It’s a one stop shopping place addressing questions and concerns throughout a woman’s lifetime.

Not only is Dr. Prior a dedicated scientist and medical writer (and an avid reader) she has now turned to story to illustrate and disseminate information that she knows from experience can take decades to get to those who would benefit the most. She has captured our love and tradition of story to carry her message by personifying the main challenges of perimenopause.

“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”
― Tim O’Brien

Perimenopause is the time from the first signs of symptoms appear to a year after the last menstrual cycle. Dr. Prior has carefully documented the stages of perimenopause. Through fictional encounters with women going through these stages, she has woven information and helpful hints and concepts so readers can identify what is actually happening in their own lives.

Here are the main issues that she brings to focus:
• Night sweats and hot flashes
• Menorrhagia or heavy bleeding
• Nausea
• Infertility
• Migraine Headaches
• Moodiness
• Weight Gain
• Breast tenderness, pain, and swelling.

While touching on these issues with broad strokes, she illustrates that life can be messy. She examines many other issues entwined in these avatar’s lives. There are concerns with blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. She includes stress of work situations, relationships, financial concerns and diet. Like real women, these characters find that their discomfort can be part of a bigger picture and that solutions should be comprehensive. Through these stories, she teaches women how to document so that they can see for themselves what works and what doesn’t. This empowers women to take charge once they have guidance and understanding. These tools are available on the CeMCOR website.

Most practitioners and almost all women are in the dark about an underlying theme in this book. Perimenopause has long been characterized as the time of life that women experience a drop in estrogen. Not so, claims Dr. Prior. She has found in her studies that during perimenopause, women experience the highest estrogen levels in their entire lifetime. Couple this with the fact that when progesterone is needed the most to offset the high estrogen effects, it is the hormone that is actually in decline. Dr. Prior finds success in using progesterone along with employing a whole spectrum of life enhancements.

Recognizing the obstruction in our conventional systems to get the truth into application, Dr. Prior hopes to side step with a practical, readable book. Too many women, in her opinion, are prescribed estrogens or birth control pills containing estrogens when they are already suffering from too much estrogen. As her fictional characters come alive for us from her pages, the stories they tell us build our knowledge base and we are empowered.

Review by Carol Petersen and published at