Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | Birth Control Options Beyond the Condom

Marla Ahlgrimm
Becoming a parent is undoubtedly the most rewarding aspect of many people’s lives, says women’s health expert and retired HRT compounding pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. However, when the time isn’t right, sexually active women have more options than ever to postpone pregnancy. While no birth control method is perfect, Ahlgrimm says most are remarkably reliable when used correctly.

The best birth control, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, is the one that fits into a woman’s life without causing adverse side effects.

There are at least a dozen forms of birth control, each with unique pros and cons, says Marla Ahlgrimm. The most natural, but possibly the least effective, is known as the Rhythm Method. Natural family planning involves continuously monitoring the menstrual cycle and keeping track of basal temperature and vaginal discharge. Barrier methods, by contrast, are a “time and place” form of birth control that must be inserted just before sexual activity. Barriers such as the contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, and female condom block sperm from entering the fallopian tubes.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm: A Tribute to Dr. Katharina Dalton

Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm is known throughout the United States as a pioneer in women’s hormone research and therapy. However, she isn’t the first person in the medical field to delve into the depths of woman-specific medicine. That honor goes to the late British gynecologist Dr. Katharina Dalton.

Dr. Dalton, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, is the inspiration for everything we know about PMS today. In 1948, Dr. Dalton realized that her pregnant body was suddenly free of recurrent migraine headaches. After consulting with friend and endocrinologist Dr. Raymond Green, Dr. Dalton made the connection between a lack of progesterone and many cyclic symptoms plaguing herself and countless other women across the globe, says Marla Ahlgrimm.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that Dalton went as far as to study the behaviors of teenage girls and women and linked certain moods, feelings, and actions to a monthly progesterone deficiency, brought on by the onset of menstruation. Dr. Dalton found a correlation between lower grades, anxiety, depression, and violence and the menstrual cycle. Her solution: replace the missing hormones. This early hormone therapy would eventually lead to a greater understanding of how women’s bodies were different from men’s; previously, women with what we now know as PMS were often described as hysterical and subject to tortuous “treatment.”

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | Missing Menstruation

Marla Ahlgrimm
Amenorrhea is described by Marla Ahlgrimm as the lack of a menstrual period. While this might sound like a dream come true to many women, amenorrhea may be cause for concern and should be checked out by a doctor.

There are two categories of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, primary refers to the condition when a young woman has not had her first period by her 16th birthday. Secondary, which happens without cause for alarm during pregnancy, is when a woman has maintained a regular cycle then fails to have a period for at least three consecutive months.


A missing period is the primary sign of amenorrhea, though a woman might also experience vision changes, breast discharge, headaches, and/or hair loss.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | Sex Hormones

Marla Ahlgrimm The endocrine system manages every hormone in the body, including all of the sex hormones, which naturally diminish with age. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, waning sex hormones, especially in women, can affect energy levels as well as sexual pleasure and overall feelings of well-being. In the following Q&A, Ahlgrimm answers questions about the functions of the most common sex hormones.

Q: What is estrogen and why is it so important to women’s growth and development?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Though estrogen occurs in both men and women’s bodies, it is one of the main hormones in a woman’s reproductive system. The three forms of estrogen, estriol, estrone, and estradiol, each have different functions. A deficiency of any of these can cause severe health conditions, including osteoporosis, chronic dry skin, mood swings, systemic inflammation, and fatigue.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm | Less Stress is Best

Marla Ahlgrimm
Stress, unfortunately, is unavoidable for many women, says Marla Ahlgrimm, a women’s health expert and retired compounding pharmacist from Madison, Wisconsin. Here, Ahlgrimm answers common questions regarding stress and its effects on women’s health.

Q: How does stress affect a woman’s reproductive system and sex drive?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While men look at sex as a way to relieve stress, for many women, intercourse may add further pressure to an already emotional day. Stress not only decreases a woman’s libido but can also affect her ability to become pregnant. Studies have found that women with high levels of alpha amylase, a stress-related enzyme, were 12% less likely to conceive than their stress-free counterparts.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Retired Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm Discusses Compounding

Marla Ahlgrimm
Plant-derived, bioidentical hormones are FDA approved to treat symptoms associated with menopause. However, according to retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, the most effective dosages are those tailored to a woman’s specific needs. Here, Ahlgrimm explains the process of compounding and why there is no single dose right for every woman.

Q: What is compounding?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Pharmaceutical compounding is the process by which a licensed pharmacist combines two or more medications. Compounding is used for the general public in cases of allergies to certain ingredients in a prescribed medication, failure to respond to a generic dosage, or when a drug has been discontinued. Many women need dosage strengths that are not commercially available. When the medication does not come mass manufactured in the strength needed or dosage form needed, it must be compounded.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm Explains Hormone Therapy

Marla Ahlgrimm
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a medical treatment that seeks to replace a woman’s missing or declining hormones, says HRT pioneer Marla Ahlgrimm. HRT has been used to treat women for a number of hormone-related conditions since the mid-20th century.

HRT is most common in menopausal and postmenopausal women, though it has recently gained popularity in transgender women. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that Premarin was the first commercially available HRT in the United States and was formulated using urine from a pregnant mare. Premarin is an estrogen that is different from estradiol produced naturally by a women.

Marla Ahlgrimm, who began dispensing natural HRT to help her pharmacy patients manage hormonal symptoms in the 1970s, says that most doctors prescribed the same standard dose to each patient. Ahlgrimm was one of the first pharmacists to advocate the use of compounded bioidentical hormones, which are those that are identical to hormones produced naturally. Premarin utilized synthetic hormones.


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