Marla Ahlgrimm, pharmacist and women’s health pioneer, brought the term PMS or premenstrual syndrome, into the American mainstream. In the following Q&A, Marla Ahlgrimm explains how the symptoms of PMS impact more than just women currently suffering.
Q: What is PMS and how does it affect women?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Years ago, premenstrual syndrome was considered “all in a woman’s head.” The over 150 symptoms that accompany the menstrual cycle can range from headaches, to irritability, to bloating, cravings for sweets, and fatigue. Each woman is different and her symptoms may be more or less severe. Many women are able to manage most symptoms of PMS on their own through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and the use of specific nutritional supplements while others require medical intervention.
Q: How can PMS affect relationships, families and work places?
Marla Ahlgrimm: There is often a ripple effect if a woman has PMS symptoms that are more difficult to manage. If, for example, she is exhausted, she has less energy to exercise or make healthy food choices. If she is is depressed or teary, she may be less inclined to make physical contact with her spouse and may not provide the positive energy families often need. Women who are irritable because of PMS may be more argumentative or less communicative at work. But take heart, with proper care women’s lives do not have to be negatively impacted by PMS.
Marla Ahlgrimm: First, women should educate themselves about the typical premenstrual hormonal changes and symptoms all women experience every month and understand what is atypical. Sharing this information with family members can help them understand what is happening and how they can help, too. If the symptoms become overwhelming and debilitating, consult a doctor. There is no reason to suffer or ignore these symptoms.
Marla Ahlgrimm is the co-founder and president of Cyclin Pharmaceuticals and resides in Madison, Wisconsin.