Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

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

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hooray for Hormones

Marla AhlgrimmYour hormones aren’t just there to dictate whether or not you have stomach cramps every 28 days. In fact, your body is full of chemicals that do everything from regulate your metabolism to boost your muscle growth. Here, hormone specialist and retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm answers a few quick questions about hormones and your body.

Q: What is Irisin?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Irisin is a hormone that received very little attention until recently. It’s essentially an exercise-related hormone that burns fat. Not only does Irisin transform unhealthy white fat into body-boosting brown fat, it is also believed that it offers the brain protective benefits against age and injury.

Q: How does estrogen affect the body?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen is most commonly thought of as the hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle and controls the physical features that differentiate women from men. It also plays a role in keeping your cholesterol levels down and making sure your bones stay healthy.

Q: Do women have testosterone?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Contrary to popular belief, yes, women’s bodies do produce testosterone. Although more closely associated with masculinity, testosterone goes to work in a woman’s body helping repair muscle proteins after vigorous exercise. Despite its small amount, women’s bodies also need testosterone for proper muscle growth.

Q: How can I lower my cortisol levels?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Cortisol is a hormone that  is released anytime you’re under stress, tension, or anxiety. It can get your heart pumping in a bad way, make your palm sweats, and overwhelm you when you least expect it. Fortunately, women can control their cortisol levels by exercising regularly. A low to moderate-intensity exercise can help the body better regulate its cortisol productions. A word of caution, however, as endurance training may actually increase the body’s production of cortisol.


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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