Madison Pharmacy Associates founder Marla Ahlgrimm explains saliva hormone test
Monitoring hormonal changes in perimenopausal women can be tricky, acknowledges pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, with the menstrual cycle or even the time of day affecting results. Often, there is no consistent pattern in blood testing, and the variations can be hard for doctors to interpret. Women considering hormone therapy and who want to measure their levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other hormones now have another option, reports Marla Ahlgrimm: Simple saliva testing.
Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm is not an M.D., she is a pharmacist whose clients use the term as a sign of respect. She is an advocate of saliva testing to measure hormone levels in women suffering through menopause. Saliva testing, she says, is far more accurate than standard blood testing when it comes to measuring hormones. A saliva test only measures the active or “free” hormones which affect the body, reports Dr. Martin Ahlgrimm. Additionally, it’s more convenient than making a trip to the doctor’s office for blood testing. Saliva samples can be collected at home and sent to a lab for testing. Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm insists that it’s important for women to keep track of their hormone levels and adjust their hormone therapy to compensate for varying levels in the body.
Saliva testing to determine hormone levels means we can get good baseline information, states Marla Ahlgrimm. The hormone level baseline sheds light on which hormone a woman needs, and how much. Comprehensive testing pairs the baseline saliva hormone information results with the NTx urine test to measure rate of bone loss. “This is a more precise view of a woman’s hormonal health,” Ahlgrimm adds.
While she does not practice medicine as an MD, Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm is often referred to as “Dr.” by her patients and the press. Her work in women’s health is respected globally. She works closely with patients and their doctors to help monitor hormone changes in pre and postmenopausal women. Many women going through “the change” are subjected to blood tests to check hormone levels, says Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm. However, women now have a new option in the form of saliva testing, which is quick, accurate, and easy. According to Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm, checking estrogen and other hormone levels via saliva helps to establish an accurate baseline that will help determine if hormone therapy is right for them.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, reliable hormone measurement is especially important for women already on hormone replacement therapy. “Dosages of estrogen, progesterone or testosterone sometimes need to be adjusted up or down, either to alleviate side effects or to increase the therapeutic benefit of the hormone. Knowing the exact level of a woman’s hormones takes the guesswork out of tailoring hormone replacement therapy to her specific needs,” says Ahlgrimm.
Author and entrepreneur Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm is not a medical doctor; she is a Wisconsin based, licensed pharmacist. However, she is often fondly referred to as “Dr.” by the patients whose lives she has affected over the last 30 years. She has spent her entire career helping women manage hormone changes, including those associated with menopause. Women considering hormone therapy, says Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm, can benefit from saliva testing to establish their baseline levels. Saliva testing is easier and more accurate than blood testing and can help ensure that a woman receives proper hormone doses, says Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm.
Patients often ask Marla Ahlgrimm how saliva testing differs from blood testing of hormones. “We test hormone levels in the body; we want to know how much of the hormone is available to work for us.” This is the available or “free” form of the hormone, says Marla Ahlgrimm. According to Ahlgrimm, our saliva contains only the free form of hormones, so it is an excellent way to look at our levels. Blood tests, on the other hand, measure “total” hormone levels which combines both the free and inactive, or “bound” form of the hormone. The bound form of hormones, points out Ahlgrimm, cannot get into cells and do its work. Blood tests do not always distinguish between free and bound forms of hormones, so the results of the blood test are less precise than saliva testing.
Often referred to as “Dr.”, Marla Ahlgrimm does not practice medicine; instead this Wisconsin pharmacist focuses her attention on PMS, menopause and how to help women cope with their symptoms. Women going through menopause often rely on hormone therapy to increase their body’s progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen levels. Consistently monitoring these levels can ensure that a woman’s HRT is adjusted to avoid over or underdosing. Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm recommends the less invasive saliva testing for measuring and monitoring hormone levels.
In addition to its accuracy, the convenience of saliva testing is another plus, says Marla Ahlgrimm. “You can collect the saliva sample in your own home without going to the doctor’s office. You collect the saliva and urine samples in a sterile container and mail them to the lab for evaluation.” Marla Ahlgrimm goes on to note that the results are available for discussion with your physician within just a few days. “Women can use this information to make a decision with their doctors about whether hormone replacement therapy is needed,” says Ahlgrimm. An added value of the test is that women already on HRT also have a way to evaluate how well HRT is working for them.
Sometimes called Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm in the press, this popular Wisconsin pharmacist and entrepreneur is not a PhD. In the early 1980s, she stood at the forefront of women’s health in America and shed light on PMS as a legitimate disorder. Additionally, she helped bring respect to premenstrual syndrome as a legitimate health condition affecting women today. She advocates saliva testing on a regular basis to measure and monitor hormone levels. According to Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm, saliva only contains hormones in their “free” or active form. Many women now easily check their hormone levels via saliva and are able to have their HT adjusted as necessary, thanks to Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm’s work.
For more information about the hormone testing programs, please call Madison Pharmacy Associates, office of Marla Ahlgrimm, at 1-800-558-7046.
Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm is not a PhD, instead she is a pharmacist with over three decades of experience in women’s health and monitoring hormone levels. She says that women undergoing hormonal therapy can benefit from consistent testing of their hormone levels to see how the therapy is being absorbed. For convenience, she suggests at-home saliva testing. Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm says that saliva testing is much easier to collect than blood testing and allows for a patient’s physician to adjustment hormone medication when necessary. Dr. Marla Ahlgrimm reports that women can use saliva hormone testing to understand their hormone levels to better manage their symptoms.