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Perimenopause: A case history

  • 12:51 reading time (ish)
  • 2444 words

A case study by Al Khābūrah Fiona Brannigan

Introduction

The subject of the perimenopause is a hot topic at the moment with what appears to be more discussions, debates, news articles, social media posts, books, t.v. and radio programmes than ever before.  Yet despite this level of interest, the discourse seems limited to highlighting the symptoms not the solutions, and defaults to the overmedicalising of women’s health. It must be remembered that the perimenopause is not a disease state.

From the Greek meno (monthly) and pausis (to stop), the word menopause literally translates as stopping menstruation and can only be ‘diagnosed’ retrospectively, 1 complete year from the date of your last period.  This usually occurs between 45-55 years of age. Also termed the climacteric, the peri (around/about) menopause is defined as the time leading up to the cessation of menstruation lasting on average 4-5 years but which can be up to 10 years for some.

Mediated by hormonal changes (switching from ovarian oestradiol to adrenal oestrone), the perimenopause is simply a time of adjustment and transition from one physiological state to another accompanied by the psychological impact these changes bring about. For context, it is analogous with puberty.

Whilst hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be a therapy of choice for some, it’s not for everyone and indeed doesn’t suit everyone. The term itself is misleading and begs the question why we are replacing hormones that are naturally declining at this life stage.  

This is where supporting women through this time of transition with carefully chosen herbs, prescribed by a qualified herbalist following a detailed case history holds a totally unique position in healthcare offering a viable, highly effective, invaluable alternative to allopathic approaches.

The following case demonstrates the extensive scope of herbal medicine treatment at a time of natural flux; helping the body to balance and adapt, and gain a greater understanding of the physical, emotional and spiritual realities that the menopause can bring. It can be a positive time, a galvanising time and moreover, a liberating time as you re-evaluate ones purpose in life.

I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in 2005 having commenced my studies with The Scottish School of Herbal Medicine in 2001, with a BSc Hons in Herbal Medicine. I have been in practice ever since, am a member of NIMH, and have a particular interest in women’s health and fatigue syndromes.

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