Monday, September 22, 2014

Q&A with Women’s Health Advisor Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen and Women's Moods

Marla Ahlgrimm
According to pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, estrogen doesn’t just regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. In fact, estrogen is linked to mood disruptions in women, including premenstrual syndrome and postpartum depression. Here, Ahlgrimm explains the wide range of effects estrogen has on the female body and brain.

Q: What exactly is estrogen and what is its function?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogens are hormones that are important for sexual and reproductive development, particularly in women. Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries, but is also produced by fat cells and the adrenal glands.

Q: How does estrogen play a role in women’s mental health?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen plays a significant role in women’s mental health. Sudden decrease in blood levels contribute to significant mood lowering. After childbirth, nearing menopause and after menopause, low levels of estrogen can also prompt depression.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tips from Marla Ahlgrimm – Easing the Discomfort of Menstrual Cramping

Marla Ahlgrimm
In the days prior to starting a monthly period, women often experience painful menstrual cramps that put a damper on their regular routine, reports women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm. These cramps may cause moderate to severe pain in the thighs, back and lower belly. Some women, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, may experience fainting, dizziness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea and headaches.

Most women are stricken with menstrual cramps at some point in their lives, though cramping generally goes away in a woman’s mid-20s when her hormone levels stabilize. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that women in their 30s and 40s may also have cramps. On certain occasions, menstrual cramps are associated with another health issue such as uterine fibroids or endometriosis. To treat these cramps requires the treatment of the underlying health issue.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Food Cravings: A Natural Mood Moderator, Says Pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm

Women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm explains why women crave certain foods during the menstrual cycle. 

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, while some women keep track of their menstrual cycles with cramps, bloating, and fatigue, others simply look at their plates. Many women, explains Ahlgrimm, crave certain foods during and just after ovulation. It is not uncommon for women to have specific cravings that often include chocolate or salty carbohydrates.

Over the course of her professional experience, Marla Ahlgrimm has noted a woman’s craving for chocolate may actually be linked more to her body’s need for magnesium than an actual weakness for sweets. Since chocolate is a perfect combination of sugar and fat, it may be the ideal food for boosting endorphin levels which typically surge in the days before ovulation. A craving for salty carbohydrates, like chocolate, may also be the body trying to replenish certain types of fats and/or energy expended during the menstrual cycle.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Phytoestrogens Linked to Decreased Cholesterol Levels in Women, Says Pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla Ahlgrimm
A cardiologist at LA’s Cedars Sinai recently completed a study that observed a correlation between high phytoestrogen levels and a decreased amount of total cholesterol. Marla Ahlgrimm explains.

Nationwide, women are struggling with high levels of cholesterol, according to pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. With that in mind, researchers at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles have looked for a non-medical way to prevent an overabundance of bad cholesterol. In an observational study – meaning the subjects were simply observed and not asked to change their routine – Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz found that those who ate ample amounts of foods containing phytoestrogens had lower levels of LDL.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy Explained by Marla Ahlgrimm, Pharmacist and hormone expert

Q: What is hormone replacement therapy?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormone replacement therapy is essentially replacing hormones naturally produced in the body with prescription hormone medications.  When the body fails to produce enough of a certain hormone—which may include progesterone, testosterone or estradiol—a woman may begin to feel symptoms of hormone deficiency. 

Q: What’s the difference between synthetic and natural hormones?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Synthetic hormones are similar to those hormones produced naturally in a woman’s body. An example of synthetic hormones are those found in oral contraceptives. Natural hormones are identical to those produced in a woman’s body -progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol. Natural hormone replacement therapy is typically considered advantageous over synthetic hormone replacement therapy by many women and their doctors. 

Q: Is hormone replacement therapy suitable for all women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hormone replacement therapy is determined on a case-by-case basis. No two women are alike and each woman must be prescribed exactly what’s needed to meet her unique needs. It is not a one-size-fits-all treatment for any condition. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Marla Ahlgrimm: Joint Pain Not Inevitable In Menopausal Women

Marla Ahlgrimm
Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm answers questions about joint pain as it relates to menopause and aging.

Q: What are common causes of joint pain in women over 40?

Marla Ahlgrimm: As the body’s hormone production naturally decreases, many women experience aches and pains in their joints, muscles and connective tissues. Joint pain in menopausal women may be caused by diminished estrogen levels. Estrogen is important for the body’s creation of synovial fluid, the liquid that lubricates the joints.

Q: Which is better for joint pain, synthetic or bioidentical hormones?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While synthetic estrogens and progestin have been prescribed by doctors for decades, they may actually exacerbate the symptoms of unexplained joint pain. Bioidentical hormones—those a woman naturally produces—are a much better option. Minor or infrequent joint pain may be managed with exercise, diet changes and the occasional use of anti-inflammatory medication.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Marla Ahlgrimm: Estrogen May Lessen Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Q: What is Parkinson’s disease?

Marla Ahlgrimm:  Parkinson’s disease is the result of cell degeneration in the brain, which short-circuits control centers that direct movement.

Q: What are the symptoms? 
Marla Ahlgrimm:  Parkinson’s symptoms can include tremors or shaking, rigidity or stiffness, difficulty with balance and slowed movement.

Q: What causes the cell degeneration? 
Marla Ahlgrimm:  It is not known why cells deteriorate.

Q: Is Parkinson’s a common ailment? 
Marla Ahlgrimm:  It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, after Alzheimer’s. Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease.