Do you have pelvic pain and you hide it?
Tara Langdale-Schmidt, 34, is the founder of VuVa Tech in Sarasota, Florida. She has suffered pelvic pain during sexual intercourse herself.
However instead of hiding under a blanket of stereotype and society's expectation of women to keep these issues to themselves, Tara decided to talk openly about it.
After a range of misdiagnosis, she decided to take matters in her own hands.
Today she is the founder and owner of Vuvatech, a medical device company that helps women suffering from pelvic pain. She has a thriving community of 15,000 women sharing their stories and talking about their pain. Below is her story!
By Tara Langdale-Schmidt
I have Vulvodynia and Endometriosis.
These chronic pain conditions in my Vulva region make sex painful, if not impossible, and for many women can lead to not only physical, but emotional and mental problems.
My problems began when I was 11-years old. I had extreme abdominal pain and underwent exploratory surgery.
They ended up removing my left ovary and fallopian tube due to a very large cyst that had cut off blood supply to my ovary. This was not endometriosis, but the beginning of a long journey with pelvic pain. I have since had four or five surgeries for Endometriosis and 11 pelvic surgeries total.
For four long years as an adult, I experienced sharp, stabbing, burning pain in my pelvic area, making it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with my boyfriend, Jason, who would become my husband. The pain was agonising 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 another answer, I went to a pelvic pain specialist who did not even examine me. How can you be a pelvic pain specialist and not be examined?
Instead, 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 and alter who I am 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 the part out that hurts. I politely refused. He was the kind of doctor who only cared about money and not helping the patient. He offered no prognosis and I never went back to him.
Finally, I had enough. I took my medical condition into my own hands. Searching for an answer, I went on for years until I ran across an article on Vulvodynia and I realised that is what I had.
The 'Lightbulb' moment
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 with little pain. It was then that I decided I had to help other.
With the help of medical experts and advisers, 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 15,000 women all over the world to live a more normal life and finally enjoying sex without pain. This device has also
improved relationships, marriages and even helped couples expand their families.
Advice for partners of women with Vulvodynia
During my stressful and painful time, my partner, Jason, who would become my husband, was 100 percent supportive and caring. He felt bad that I was hurting and never pressured me to have sex. He understood that the pain was not an excuse and my agony was real.
He also realised it was not my fault. We always had a strong relationship that wasn’t based just on sex. Now that we can have pain free sex, it makes our marriage even more meaningful.
My advice to men: Please be supportive. Sexual pain should not end a caring, loving relationship.
Finally, it’s been an amazing, surprising and fulfilling ride. But if I never made a cent from my business, it would be fine. My passion and mission is spreading pelvic pain awareness to women who are not receiving 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 other than surgeries. There is hope and there are answers.
Follow the journey of Vuvatech @pelvicpainhelp on Instagram
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