Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Marla Ahlgrimm Explains Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Marla AhlgrimmIrritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, isn’t a single symptom, but a collection of painful symptoms that affect the digestive tract. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, IBS is characterized by cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain for a period of at least three months. Though uncomfortable, IBS is not linked to cancer or colonic damage.

Currently, there is no specific known cause of irritable bowel syndrome, but it is most common in women under the age of 35 with a family history of the condition. IBS may be linked to hormones, since symptoms are often more bothersome during a woman’s menstrual cycle, says Marla Ahlgrimm.

Occasional bloating and other intermittent digestive disorders may not lead to an IBS diagnosis, explains Marla Ahlgrimm. Diagnosis is made based on self-reported symptoms and after thorough medical exam, which may include a physical check of the abdomen and rectum. Certain symptoms, including rectal bleeding, iron deficiency anemia, weight loss, and sudden nighttime diarrhea may prompt further testing to rule out celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or colorectal cancer.

Marla Ahlgrimm reports that a doctor may perform a colonoscopy to examine the large intestine for inflammation, ulcers, or abnormal growth. Persons over the age of 50 with chronic irritable bowel syndrome symptoms should talk to their doctor about having a colonoscopy to preemptively screen for colorectal cancer. Many people who present with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms find that they are actually lactose intolerant; abstaining from dairy products will circumvent symptoms in these patients.

Though there is no cure for IBS, stress relief, medication, and dietary changes can help. Foods such as milk, coffee, soda, alcohol, and even certain fruits and vegetables may be eliminated to avoid upsetting the delicate balance of the intestines. IBS sufferers with constipation should eat high-fiber foods, aiming for at least 20g each day, to make bowel movements easier. Marla Ahlgrimm asserts that drinking plenty of water will help IBS patients avoid dehydration, especially those who suffer with diarrhea.


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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