Book Review – Estrogen’s Storm Season by Dr. Jerilynn Prior
Dr. Jerilynn Prior is a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She is also the Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR). Not only is Dr. Prior a dedicated scientist and medical writer, she has now turned to fiction to share her knowledge about women’s health. She knows from experience that it can take decades to disseminate information to those who would benefit the most. In Estrogen’s Storm Season she uses storytelling to carry her message by personifying the main challenges of perimenopause.
Perimenopause begins when the first symptoms appear and lasts until one year after the last menstrual cycle. In her book, Dr. Prior carefully documents the stages of perimenopause. Through fictional encounters with women going through perimenopause, she weaves useful information and helpful hints and concepts into her writing so that readers may be able to identify what is happening in their own lives. Here are the main symptoms she brings into focus:
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Menorrhagia or heavy bleeding
- Migraine headaches
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness, pain, and swelling
While touching on these issues with broad strokes, she illustrates that life can be messy, as many other issues are entwined in her characters’ lives. Their concerns include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. She also addresses the stress of work situations, relationships, financial concerns, and diet. Like real women, her characters discover that their discomforts and health concerns may be part of a bigger picture, and that solutions should be comprehensive, addressing health concerns and lifestyle modifications in addition to perimenopausal symptoms.
Many individuals may be unaware of an underlying theme of perimenopause, which Dr. Prior reveals in this book. Perimenopause has long been characterized as the time of life when women experience a decline in estrogen production. Dr. Prior claims this is not so; in fact, she has found in her studies that women experience the highest estrogen levels in their entire lifetime during perimenopause. In her opinion, too many women are prescribed estrogens (or birth control pills containing estrogens) when they are already suffering from too much estrogen. According to Dr. Prior, the hormone that is in decline is actually progesterone, which is needed to offset the effects of high estrogen levels. Dr. Prior has found success in progesterone treatments in tandem with employing a whole spectrum of life enhancements.
As her fictional characters come alive, Dr. Prior teaches women how to document their initial symptoms and their interventions with any subsequent symptom changes so that they can see for themselves what works and what doesn’t. These tools are available on the CeMCOR website, which overflows with practical information about the menstrual cycle as well as addressing questions and concerns a woman may have throughout her lifetime. Through Estrogen’s Storm Season, Dr. Prior’s guidance and understanding empowers women to take charge of their health.