Marla Ahlgrimm, a Madison, Wisconsin-based pharmacist and founder of Women’s Health America, explains that women who have exhausted self-help methods may find relief in the form of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), but warns that there is not a single method that’s right for everyone.
Premenstrual Relief - Progesterone Therapy
Progesterone is widely referred to as the “pregnancy hormone,” says Marla Ahlgrimm. This is because the body produces elevated levels during gestation. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, progesterone is also manufactured by the ovaries halfway through the female menstrual cycle, once an egg has been released. Progesterone production is vital to fertilization in women of child-bearing age, explains Marla Ahlgrimm.
Marla Ahlgrimm reports that progesterone therapy is a viable option for women who experience severe premenstrual discomfort. By maintaining balanced levels of the hormone, women may eliminate the worst of symptoms. However, Marla Ahlgrimm strongly cautions against entering into a progesterone regime without talking to your doctor first.
Progesterone, the medication, is identical to what the body produces naturally, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Despite the name’s suggestion, it is not a nutritional supplement and is not generally available without prescription. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that natural progesterone is compounded for each woman individually and insists that exact measures are necessary to ensure proper results.
There are several options available for natural progesterone, reports Marla Ahlgrimm. Oral, cream, and suppository forms are the most common. An oral progesterone caplet or tablet may be taken in immediate release or time release form. Marla Ahlgrimm cautions that oral progesterone may cause drowsiness. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that progesterone cream is also available over the counter for cosmetic purposes but is best prescribed by your doctor.
Marla Ahlgrimm makes the distinction between natural progesterone and synthetic progestins. A progestin, which Marla Ahlgrimm explains, is similar to but not identical to the natural hormone a woman’s body produces. Progestins are commonly used in oral contraceptives and can amplify the symptoms of PMS and PMDD.
Menopause and Perimenopause Help – Estrogen
For women entering into the menopausal stage of life, Marla Ahlgrimm reports relief may be found in the form of another naturally occurring hormone called estradiol. Most women associate estrogen with fertility. Estrogen is actually vital to the cardiovascular system, brain function, and bone density. Marla Ahlgrimm notes estrogen also plays a role in skin, hair, and nail health. Estrogen therapy using natural estradiol may be administered via tablet, cream, patch or vaginal suppository.
Marla Ahlgrimm reports that some women need a combination of both estrogen and progesterone to relieve symptoms. As with all forms of hormone therapy, combination HRT should be reevaluated annually to determine if the dosage is the lowest possible.
Aside from progesterone and estrogen therapies, Marla Ahlgrimm also notes that testosterone therapy is available for certain women who experience a weakened sex drive due to hormone imbalances.
Marla Ahlgrimm reports that most women will choose to continue their HRT therapy indefinitely and states the likelihood of periodic dosage adjustment. Additionally, Marla Ahlgrimm stresses that there are no standard or across-the-board HRT methods for all women. Every single prescription is tailored to exact specifications, as prescribed.
About Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm, R.Ph. is a leading figure in women’s health. In the late 1970s, she helped clarify the causes of PMS (a disorder unknown in America at the time) and established nutritional and natural hormone treatment options. As an advocate for women’s health, Marla Ahlgrimm established the Women’s Health America in 1993. Over the last 30 years, Marla Ahlgrimm and her staff of specially trained medical professionals have helped nearly half a million women find the right treatment to relieve their hormone and age related disorders.
An author, speaker, and popular feature in consumer health literature, Marla Ahlgrimm continues to educate women as well as physicians and future clinicians across the country on women’s hormone health topics. The Marla Ahlgrimm Scholarship Fund was established in 1992 and has helped Ahlgrimm promote the study of women’s health by providing assistance to University of Wisconsin pharmacy students interested in women’s health.