Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hysterectomy Basics

Marla AhlgrimmSometimes, it becomes necessary for a woman to have her uterus removed due to injury or disease, says acclaimed women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm. The procedure to do this is called a hysterectomy. Most often, the entire uterus is taken, though a doctor may choose to only remove part of the womb and may also remove the ovaries and/or fallopian tubes.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, greater than 500,000 women each year undergo hysterectomy surgery. It’s the second most common surgical procedure for women, surpassed only by cesarean delivery.

Partial hysterectomy

A partial, or supracervical, hysterectomy involves the removal of only part of the top half of the uterus; the cervix remains in place. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that the ovaries may or may not be removed.

Total hysterectomy

This is the most common type of hysterectomy surgery. During a total hysterectomy, the entire uterus, and potentially the fallopian tubes and ovaries, are removed.

Radical hysterectomy

Marla Ahlgrimm describes radical hysterectomy surgery as a last resort, usually reserved for cervical cancer patients. A radical hysterectomy removes a woman’s uterus as well as the tissue immediately surrounding the womb. The upper portion of the vagina is also removed.

Hysterectomy and menopause

Some women who undergo hysterectomy surgery will have some symptoms of menopause right away. The rapidity of onset depends on whether or not one or both ovaries were left intact, says Marla Ahlgrimm. If both ovaries are removed, menopause can come on almost immediately and may be more severe than natural menopause.  Women who have kept both ovaries often experience menopause a few years sooner than the average age of 51.


Most women with a satisfactory sex life before having a hysterectomy will continue to engage sexually without a problem. However, vaginal dryness, which often accompanies menopause, may cause a disinterest in intercourse. Water-based lubricants and allowing additional time for arousal may help.


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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