April 16, 2014

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm Answers Your Questions

Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla Ahlgrimm

A pioneer in the field of hormone therapy (HT), Marla Ahlgrimm has helped more than 300,000 women manage their symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), perimenopause, and menopause. Marla Ahlgrimm, founder and CEO of Women’s Health America, receives many questions from women and will answer several of the most common ones.

Q: What is a natural or bioidentical hormone?

Marla Ahlgrimm: When choosing between hormonal medications, a woman and her doctor must select between hormones that are natural or bioidentical and those that are synthetic. A natural or bioidentical hormone is identical – has the same chemical structure – to those hormones naturally produced by a woman. These may include estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, and testosterone. In contrast, synthetic hormones are similar to, but not identical chemically to those produced naturally by a woman. These include oral contraceptives, Provera, Premarin, and Estratest to name a few. A woman doesn’t naturally produce the hormones found in oral contraceptives for example, explains women’s health expert, Marla Ahlgrimm.

“A ‘natural’ hormone does not mean that it is an unregulated, organic product purchased in a health food store either,” Marla Ahlgrimm, co-founder of Madison Pharmacy Associates in Madison, Wisconsin, says. “In fact, ‘natural’ prescription hormones are manufactured by FDA approved pharmaceutical companies.”

Slight chemical differences between natural and synthetic hormones can have substantially different effects in a woman’s body. Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm tells her patients, “it‘s more important than ever to understand the differences before beginning hormone therapy”.

Q: What Does Micronized Progesterone Mean?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Progesterone is the hormone of pregnancy and the word means “for gestation.” Progesterone is produced cyclically, 2 weeks out of every month. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the progesterone level falls and menstruation begins. Micronized describes the size of the particles of progesterone found in pharmaceutical progesterone capsules or tablets. Pharmaceutical companies micronize progesterone particles for better oral absorption. Pharmacists use micronized progesterone powder to formulate customized progesterone dosages for women.

Q: How is Hormone Therapy administered?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormones can be administered in a variety of ways. Depending on the hormone, options include transdermal skin patches like Climara or Vivelle for estradiol, transdermal creams, vaginal tablets or creams, oral capsules and sustained release progesterone tablets. Each route of administration is specifically selected by a woman and her physician, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, a licensed pharmacist.

Q: What types of natural estrogen are there?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen is a general term referring to a category of hormones which include estradiol, estrone, and estriol.   Marla Ahlgrimm has found that many women are surprised to learn there are natural estradiol preparations commercially manufactured and readily available. Brand names include Estrace tablets, Climara, Vivelle patches and Estraderm cream. When hormone therapy is needed, your doctor will likely prescribe a specific hormone or combination that works best for your particular situation, Marla Ahlgrimm, founder of Women’s Health America, concludes.

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About

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.

Comments

  1. Great answers Marla Ahlgrimm! Now I know and fully understands what Micronized Progesterone Mean. Marla Ahlgrimm explained it thoroughly. Thanks Marla Ahlgrimm!

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  2. Crisel Newton says:

    This article is like you’re consulting a doctor. Good explanation by Marla Ahlgrimm. Please keep us informed on the latest study of perimenopause Marla Ahlgrimm. Thank you for this article.

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    • @Crisel Newton Thank you for your positive comment. -Marla Ahlgrimm

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  3. Maria Collins says:

    Marla Ahlgrimm is the leader of Women’s Health America, as well as cofounder of Madison Pharmacy Associates, Inc. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s work has broadened to include other women’s health issues and treatments, some of them as controversial as those for PMS at the time. Great answers once again for a great pharmacist.

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    • @Maria Collins Thanks for your nice words about me. -Marla Ahlgrimm

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  4. Jacob Ballman says:

    Thanks for providing us a detail information Marla Ahlgrimm. Really appreciate this interview. I hope we could read more article from Marla Ahlgrimm!

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    • @Jacob Thanks Jacob for reading my article. “Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm Answers Your Questions” -Marla Ahlgrimm

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