Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Q&A with Women’s Health Advisor Marla Ahlgrimm, Pharmacist  

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Marla AhlgrimmVaginal health is an important part of a woman’s overall health, says women’s health advisor Marla Ahlgrimm. Vaginal problems can affect a woman’s fertility and her desire for sex. They can also cause stress or relationship problems and impact her self-confidence. Here, Ahlgrimm describes the signs and symptoms of vaginal problems and what a woman can do to protect her vaginal health.

Q: What factors generally affect vaginal health?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Vaginal health depends on various factors. For example, unprotected sex, birth control products, certain health conditions, of course, pregnancy and childbirth. Just getting older is a big factor.

Q: How does getting older make a difference?

Marla Ahlgrimm: As we age, the vagina loses elasticity after menopause. Also, estrogen production declines after menopause, which can cause the vaginal lining to thin — making sex painful.

Q: Is vaginal discharge normal?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Most of the time, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal. The amount can vary, as can odor and color depending on the time in the menstrual cycle.

Q: What are signs of abnormal discharge?

Marla Ahlgrimm: If the color, odor, or consistency seems unusual, especially if it’s accompanied by vaginal itching or burning, this could indicate an infection or other condition.

Q: What causes abnormal discharge?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are several things that can upset the balance of healthy bacteria. Infections, diabetes, antibiotics, birth control pills, and even scented soaps and lotions can cause abnormal discharge.

Q: What treatments are available for those women who experience abnormal discharge?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. Some infections are treated with anti-fungal gels, others with antibiotic pills. The daily use of probiotics is an important step in maintaining vaginal health. Keeping the body clean by washing regularly with a gentle, mild soap and warm water is also an important step in protecting vaginal health.

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Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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