Credited with bringing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to mainstream America, pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm saw a need, starting in the late 1970s, to fully understand women’s hormonal health. Many doctors were unsure how to classify the troubling symptoms of PMS, dismissing them as psychological rather than physical. Treatment at the time focused on symptoms being “all in a woman’s head,” and Marla Ahlgrimm found that women were offered tranquilizers and antidepressants. These were rarely effective in symptom management.
Marla Ahlgrimm knew that there must be a more effective and safer way to address the unique health needs of women. Along with a handful of other pharmacists, Marla Ahlgrimm began researching the collective set of recurrent symptoms we know today as PMS. This was in the 1970s, before the advent of the internet, so research was slow but Marla Ahlgrimm finally found a solution across the Atlantic. Doctors in Europe had recently discovered that women’s hormones played a significant role in their overall health. With this information, Marla Ahlgrimm established Madison Pharmacy Associates.
At first, Marla Ahlgrimm faced an uphill battle, but gradually Madison Pharmacy Associates earned a national reputation for its successful treatment of women suffering from PMS. Marla Ahlgrimm was soon being asked to speak and author articles on the syndrome. As nationwide acceptance of the term grew, Marla Ahlgrimm focused on managing symptoms using the lowest effective medication dose to avoid dangerous side effects.
In the early 1990s, Marla Ahlgrimm leveraged her work with women’s health into a new venture, Women’s Health America. Through Women’s Health America, Marla Ahlgrimm was able to address additional women’s health concerns using natural hormone replacement therapy. Hormones, such as low dose estrogen and progesterone, that are identical to those produced naturally by a woman were useful to manage symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm successfully treated hormone imbalances, including perimenopause and menopause.
In addition to her many accolades over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm has also co-authored two books. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s The HRT Solution, released in 1999, and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome, also released in 1999, continue to help women all over the world.
Marla Ahlgrimm, after greater than 30 years and with dozens of groundbreaking discoveries in women’s health to her credit, retired in 2016.