Marla Ahlgrimm, author of The HRT Solution, Restoring Balance: An Individualized Approach to Hormone Replacement Therapy, and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome, is a retired pharmacist whose four decades’ long career has shaped the very foundation of women’s health in America.
In the 1970s, fresh out of school and with a degree in hand from the University Of Madison School Of Pharmacy, Marla Ahlgrimm started her journey at a small pharmacy in Madison, Wisconsin. It was here that Marla Ahlgrimm discovered her interest in women’s health, specifically how hormones affect the body and mind. By chance, one female customer would return to Marla Ahlgrimm each month with the same symptoms: fatigue, irritability, depression and other signs we now attribute to PMS. Things were different then, however, and the predominantly male managed pharmacy mostly ignored the woman’s symptoms as all in her head. Not Marla Ahlgrimm.
Working against her supervisor’s wishes, Marla Ahlgrimm met with the woman and finally linked her symptoms to her monthly cycle. It took months of exhaustive research, but Marla Ahlgrimm finally stumbled upon groundbreaking work in women’s health being done in Europe. Starting in the 1950s, Dr. Katharina Dalton had made the connection that progesterone, or rather lack thereof, was a likely trigger for migraine headaches and other PMS-related symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm studied Dr. Dalton’s work until she was convinced of its legitimacy. Soon, Marla Ahlgrimm had formulated a prescription progesterone replacement for the weary patient, who noticed an almost immediate change in her condition.
Marla Ahlgrimm and her work soon reached the women of her community. Customers began pouring into the pharmacy and soon Marla Ahlgrimm opened her own compounding center, Madison Pharmacy Associates. By 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates had gained a reputation for providing individualized solutions to women based on their own bodies’ needs. No other healthcare services provider in the US had offered this prior. Since this time, Marla Ahlgrimm has been credited as one of the nation’s most trusted experts in the field of women’s hormone health.
Marla Ahlgrimm and her colleagues at Madison Pharmacy Associates treated women for a host of hormone balance issues including PMS, menopause, infertility, and perimenopause. She later founded Women’s Health America to serve these same needs on a larger scale. Through Women’s Health America, Marla Ahlgrimm took treatment a step further, publishing PMS Access, a monthly newsletter which offered women access to real information about their health.
PMS Access was a popular newsletter and its success encouraged Marla Ahlgrimm to write her first book, Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome and later, Restoring Balance: An Individualized Approach to Hormone Replacement Therapy. In 1999 Marla Ahlgrimm and author John Kells released The HRT Solution. These books have been lauded by women of all ages for their no-nonsense approach to hormone replacement therapy.
Marla Ahlgrimm retired in 2016. She plans to continue to write and remains active in the women’s health community. Marla Ahlgrimm is a gifted speaker and presenter and continues her philanthropy with students of the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy.