Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Bladder Pain | Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla-Ahlgrimm-PMS4Interstitial cystitis, or bladder pain syndrome, is a chronic condition that can mimic a number of other pelvic disorders. According to women’s health entrepreneur Marla Ahlgrimm, bladder pain syndrome is often misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection. However, unlike a bacterial UTI, bladder pain symptom will not improve with antibiotics.

Marla Ahlgrimm reports that upward of 8 million women in the US suffer with interstitial cystitis each year and the condition doesn’t discriminate based on age or race.

Bladder pain syndrome causes frequent bathroom trips, with many women reporting having to urinate more than 40 times in a 24 hour period. Lower abdominal discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse are both common bladder pain syndrome symptoms. The condition may also trigger ulcers and bleeding sores in the bladder. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that most women with bladder pain syndrome experience symptoms in flares with long periods of relief in between bouts.

Although many women with bladder pain only experience mild discomfort, many have extended symptoms that can result in low quality sleep and even depression, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Unfortunately, no one is 100% sure what causes bladder pain syndrome, although past bladder infection, family history, and a history of other conditions appear to increase a woman’s risk. Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome are common in women with interstitial cystitis.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that bladder pain syndrome is diagnosed after a number of tests, including cystoscopy and bladder distention. A biopsy, which is a procedure where a doctor removes a small sample of tissue, may be performed to rule out other potential conditions. While there is no cure for bladder pain syndrome, treatments such as physical therapy, OTC pain relievers, nerve stimulation, and Botox injections may relieve symptoms. If bladder pain is exacerbated by an ulcer, this may be treated with a simple surgery that can relieve symptoms for several months. Bladder removal surgery is only necessary in a small number of cases.


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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