I have vulvodynia. I am one of the 16 percent of women in the U.S. who suffer from the illness that causes chronic pain and discomfort in the vulva region. For four long years, I experienced sharp, stabbing, burning pain in my pelvic area, making it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with my boyfriend, Jason, who would eventually become my husband. The pain, both physical and mental, was agonizing, and impacted my quality of life.
I went to many doctors who failed to diagnose my condition and, sadly, underwent several unsuccessful operations. How bad was my medical advice? One OB/GYN told me to drink wine and take some Advil before sex. I really could not believe what I was hearing. So I continued my research journey every night on the web, trying to find out what could be causing this horrible pain.
Searching for a better answer, I went to a pelvic pain specialist who did not even examine me. How can you be a pelvic pain specialist and not even examine your patient? Instead of doing what would seem to be the obvious thing, he wanted to put me on an antidepressant for the pain. I told him that I did not want to be on medication for this issue; I was afraid it might alter who I was as a person. He actually snapped at me, and told me that he was just giving me options. Another one of his brilliant ideas was just to cut that part out that hurts. I politely refused and never went back to his practice. He was the kind of doctor who only cares about money and not really helping the patient. He did not even give me a name for my condition. I never went back to him. It was back to square one.
Finally, I had enough. I took my medical condition into my own hands. My search for an answer went on for years until I came across an article on vulvodynia, and I realized that is what I had.
From my previous positive experience using neodymium magnets to reduce back and neck nerve pain after a car accident, I had a “lightbulb moment” to add neodymium magnets into a vaginal dilator. I was so excited. I know neodymium magnets work great for nerve pain so I called my husband and told him we had to make this device to try. Within two weeks, I could have sex again. I had to help women, and I had to start a business to help them.
With the help of medical experts and advisors, I turned my idea into a nonprescription vaginal dilator device, and startup business VuVaTech to relieve the pain and sexual discomfort experienced by so many women today. The dilator device has allowed me and over 6,000 women all over the world to live a more normal life and finally enjoying sex without pain. This device as has also improved relationships, marriages, and even helped couples expand their families.
It’s been an amazing, surprising, and fulfilling ride, and if I never made a cent from my business, it would be fine. My passion is spreading pelvic pain awareness to women who are not receiving the correct diagnosis from their doctors. Women need to know they do not have to live with painful intercourse and pelvic pain. There are safe alternative treatments aside from surgery. There is hope, and there are answers.
By Tara Langdale-Schmidt
Tara Langdale-Schmidt, 33, is the founder of VuVa Tech in Sarasota, FL. vuvatech.com is a medical device company that helps women suffering from pelvic pain.