Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Q & A with Marla Ahlgrimm | Estrogen Dominance

Marla AhlgrimmA brief Q & A with Women’s Health America founder and women’s health pioneer Marla Ahlgrimm.

Q: What is estrogen dominance?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen dominance describes a condition in which a woman has levels of estrogen that far outweigh her body’s progesterone. Even women with low estrogen levels may suffer estrogen dominance if her progesterone levels are severely deficient.

Q: What causes it?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen dominance may occur naturally or be the result of estrogen derived from non-natural, external sources. These xenoestrogens are found in plastic and petroleum products, low-quality cosmetics, pesticides, and certain birth control devices.

Q: What are the symptoms of estrogen dominance?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are a number of symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. They can include any of the following:

  • PMS
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hair Loss
  • Memory Issues
  • Fibrocystic Breast
  • Dry Eyes
  • Decreased Libido
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Blood clots
  • Endometriosis
  • Weight Gain
  • Insomnia
  • Cramping
  • Inflammation
  • Increased breast cancer risk
  • Moodiness
  • Irregular menstrual flow
  • Infertility
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weakened metabolism
  • Uterine cancer
  • Edema
  • Zinc Deficiency
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Gallbladder Disease

Q: Can estrogen dominance be prevented?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Unfortunately, not all cases of estrogen dominance can be prevented. However, many of this condition’s symptoms may be improved by dietary changes, increasing exercise and the use of natural bioidentical progesterone.

Q: Can you help me understand the relationship between estrogen and progesterone?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen and progesterone are the two primary sex hormones in females. They work together to ensure successful pregnancy and birth and to keep the female body healthy.

Q: What do these two hormones do individually for a woman’s body?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen influences over 300 sites of the body. It accelerates metabolism and stimulates endometrial growth. It is also associated with fluid retention and sodium balance. Estrogen also helps keep the lungs healthy and reduces a woman’s risk of heart disease. Progesterone works to promote a healthy nervous system and is a vital component of mammary gland development.


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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