Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Marla Ahlgrimm: Migraines and Women

Marla AhlgrimmMore than three-quarters of all migraines are suffered by women, says Marla Ahlgrimm. In the following brief Q&A, the retired women’s health center entrepreneur and compounding pharmacist shares insight on these debilitating headaches.

Q: Is it migraine more than a headache?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The vast majority of headaches are mild to moderate and go away on their own. Migraines, by contrast, can be very severe. People with migraines suffer with unusually intense throbbing pain, light sensitivity, and often, nausea. It is not uncommon to see spots or experience an acute loss of vision during a severe migraine attack.

Q: Who is at risk for migraines?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are nearly 30 million Americans that suffer with migraines. While people of all ages, sexes, and family histories experience migraines, they are most common in women between the ages of 15 and 55. It is suspected that hormones play a role triggering and quelling migraines since they tend to start at the onset of puberty and become less severe with age.

Q: Aside from hormones, what causes migraine headaches?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Migraines can be caused by any number of issues including poor sleep habits, and unhealthy diet, exposure to strong odors, loud noises, bright light, and stress and anxiety. Alcohol, caffeine, and aspartame have all been linked to migraines.

Q: What are the different types of migraine?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are two primary classifications, migraine with aura and migraine without aura. The former involves flashing lights and a disturbed sense of touch, taste, or smell while the latter may experience the same amount of pain and throbbing without the sensory symptoms. While migraines can be subjectively moderate to severe, they can usually be distinguished from a tension headache by severity. A tension headache may be slightly distracting but not to the point of disrupting a person’s daily routine. A migraine, by contrast, can completely debilitate a sufferer’s ability to function.


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.

Comments are closed.