Marla Ahlgrimm realizes that many women suffer from premenstrual symptoms every month. Marla Ahlgrimm, a pharmacist based in Madison, Wisconsin, says that many turn to over-the-counter medications to manage symptoms such as anxiety, cravings for sweets, and fluid retention.
A pioneer in the field of PMS, Marla Ahlgrimm has worked to help women cope with the syndrome since the late 1970s, first through Madison Pharmacy Associates and later Women’s Health America, which she founded to focus on women health. Marla Ahlgrimm remembers that in the early days, doctors weren’t sure how to manage these symptoms, since PMS had not yet been defined in America.
Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm has found that diet and lifestyle modifications can help women regain control of monthly symptoms. Part of treatment, Marla Ahlgrimm tells us, is an understanding what causes these symptoms.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, one of the more uncomfortable consequences of PMS is water weight gain. Many women find that their fingers swell and clothing feels tighter. Marla Ahlgrimm says this may be due in part to the rise of estrogen during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
One dietary change Marla Ahlgrimm often recommends is limiting sugar intake during the days leading up to menstruation. While salt often gets the blame, Marla Ahlgrimm believes that cravings for sweets may be the primary culprit. Marla Ahlgrimm recommends cutting back on sugar for a couple of months and noting whether bloating diminishes.
Regular exercise can also make a difference in reducing symptoms due to fluid retention, Marla Ahlgrimm adds. Marla Ahlgrimm points out that even small amounts of exercise like a brisk walk 3 to 4 times a week can have very positive benefits.
Lastly, Marla Ahlgrimm stresses the importance of drinking water. The general recommendation is 48 to 64 ounces of water a day, Marla Ahlgrimm relates, reminding us that water is present in everything we eat, as well.