Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Women May Have Stronger Immune Systems Than Men| Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla AhlgrimmMan Flu. You’ve heard the jokes and seen the memes, but is there really something to it? Marla Ahlgrimm says there might be and answers a few questions about why, exactly, men seen to over-exaggerate the common cold while women go on about their day in the face of the flu.

Q: Do men really feel the effects of sickness more than women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While this might not be the case for every disease out there, research suggests that men do have a stronger and longer negative response to viral respiratory viruses, such as the flu and cold. A study in the British Medical Journal found that men’s immune systems simply can’t stand up as well as women’s to certain types of viruses.

Q: Why are men’s and women’s reactions different?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Researchers aren’t 100% sure the reasons. However, it theorized that it has something to do with the way that hormones, specifically estrogen and testosterone, affect the immune system.

Q: How does estrogen affect the immune system?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen enhances a woman’s immune system. While women’s symptoms actually appear to be stronger, the fairer sex tends to be sicker for a much shorter period than men. In the aforementioned study, male mice took twice as long to recover from flu like symptoms as their female counterparts.

Q: How do men’s flu symptoms differ than women’s?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Men tended to experience chills more often than women and have more indications of systemic inflammation. It’s been noted that men exhibit visible symptoms of illness more predominantly than women. This includes shivering, droopy eyes, and pallid skin.

While this study, which was performed in a laboratory using mice, doesn’t prove that man flu is a real thing, it does suggest that gender differences, and specifically hormones, can significantly affect recovery time in both men and women. In the battle of the sexes, this is one area where women clearly come out on top.


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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