According to women’s health expert and pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, painful periods are the leading cause of absences at school or work among women in their teens and 20s.
Q: Is pain during menstruation normal?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, most women have some discomfort during their periods, and more than half have some pain for one or two days each month.
Q: When is menstrual pain considered abnormal?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Menstrual pain is considered abnormal if the pain is so severe that it keeps a woman from her normal activities. Severe menstrual pain is known as “dysmenorrhea” and can be treated in most cases. Read more…
According to pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be prescribed in a number of different ways, depending on the individual needs of each woman. While some women require estrogen, many receive both estrogen and a progestogen.
Q: How does hormone replacement therapy work?
Marla Ahlgrimm: When estrogen and progesterone levels drop, some women may benefit from artificially boosting hormone levels to reduce certain menopausal symptoms. HRT increases the estrogen and progestin levels in the body.
Q: HRT can be prescribed in different ways. What are the main types of hormone replacement therapy?
Marla Ahlgrimm: There are three main types of HRT. Hormone replacement therapy with only estrogen is for women who have had a hysterectomy and their uterus and ovaries have been removed. They do not need progesterone, because there is no risk of endometrial cancer. Cyclical HRT is for patients who are still menstruating but have menopausal-like symptoms. These patients are given an estrogen daily and estrogen plus a progestogen for 14 days. Continuous HRT is used for post-menopausal patients. They take a combination of estrogen and a progestogen daily. Read more…
Marla Ahlgrimm recently answered some questions about one of the most popular prescribed treatment methods for menopause, HRT. Below is a summary of the Q&A session.
Q: Do all women need hormone replacement therapy?
Marla Ahlgrimm: No, hormone therapy helps women whose menopausal symptoms are severe and affecting their quality of life. Women need to discuss with their doctor whether their symptoms are serious enough to warrant taking hormones.
Q: Which factors determine whether hormone therapy is right for me?
Marla Ahlgrimm: There are several factors, including age, personal or family history of breast cancer or clotting disorders, and whether or not you’ve had a hysterectomy. Read more…
Perimenopause, or the menopause transition, begins several years before menopause, says pharmacist and women’s health expert, Marla Ahlgrimm. During this time the ovaries begin to make less estrogen and progesterone. For many women, perimenopause is also a time of risk for the onset of a mood or anxiety disorder. While perimenopausal anxiety is very common, in a minority of women, anxiety symptoms are severe enough to warrant treatment.
Q: Is it because women are feeling anxious about menopause? Or, the other way around, does menopause itself cause anxiety?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Both. There is a connection between hormonal changes and psychiatric symptoms in general, and women undergoing specific hormonal changes during perimenopause have increased risk for particular psychiatric disorders.
Q: How is perimenopause diagnosed?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Often a doctor can make the diagnosis based on a woman’s symptoms. A simple blood test to check hormone levels may also help. Read more…
Exercise is not the cure to menopause, but it often comes pretty close. According to women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm, exercise can lessen many of the most severe symptoms of menopause.
Q: How does fitness benefit women during and after menopause?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Physical activity during and after menopause offers many benefits. Fitness strengthens the bones, reduces the risk of many diseases, prevents weight gain, and boosts the mood.
Q: Can physical activities reduce menopausal symptoms?
Marla Ahlgrimm: While exercise cannot entirely prevent the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances, it may minimize these symptoms, reduce stress, and improve quality of life. Read more…
Reduced stress levels may decrease heart disease in postmenopausal women, says Marla Ahlgrimm, a pharmacist and women’s health expert based in Madison, Wis. In the following interview, Marla Ahlgrimm answers questions about a study published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which examined female primates’ physical reaction to stress.
Q: What was the purpose of this experiment?
Marla Ahlgrimm: To examine the effects of premenopausal stress on female primates. Specifically, researchers focused on the monkey’s long-term physical reaction to stress in relation to heart disease and overall health.
Q: Why heart disease?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Heart disease is the leading cause of death of both men and women in the United States. The study was conducted to determine potential ways to lower a woman’s risk.
Marla Ahlgrimm has dedicated her entire career to women’s health. Today, as baby boomers increasingly reach retirement age, Marla Ahlgrimm believes good heart health is more important than ever. For this reason, Marla Ahlgrimm works hard to keep her patients as healthy as possible.
Marla Ahlgrimm believes knowledge is a large part of the battle to keep women healthy. Recently, Marla Ahlgrimm spoke to us about one of the most common heart problem in women, congestive heart failure.
Q: Thank you for speaking with us today. How serious is congestive heart failure?
Marla Ahlgrimm: It is the most serious cardiovascular condition.