If You Suffer from Vulvodynia Keep Reading

If You Suffer from Vulvodynia Keep Reading

By Liza Zoellick. 

Tara began to have issues when she was just 11-years old, which included extreme abdominal pain. She underwent exploratory surgery which resulted in the removal of her left ovary and fallopian tube, due to a very large cyst that cut off blood supply to that same ovary. This was not endometriosis, but the beginning of a long journey with pelvic pain. Since then, she has had 11 surgeries, 5 of which were pelvic related.  

Tara Langdale-Schmidt

As an adult, for four, long years, she experienced pain in her pelvic area. Sharp, stabbing, burning pain in the pelvic area which made it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with her then, boyfriend, Jason (who is now her husband). The pain she experienced was not only agonizing but directly impacted her quality of life, as chronic pain can easily do.

The doctor list is too long to recount; doctors who failed to diagnose her condition and, sadly, would have her undergoing several unsuccessful operations. The medical advice she received was so dismal that at one point the OB/GYN recommended that she drink some wine and take some Advil before sex. The last straw for Tara came after visiting a pelvic pain specialist who did not even examine her, but wanted to put her on anti-depressants, to which she declined and ultimately, wanted to cut the part that was hurting her, out. He offered no prognosis and she never went back. This experience, and her experience as a while with her pain, prompted her to take matters into her own hands. She began searching for answers online until she finally came across an article on vulvodynia that would change her life.

A previous experience using neodymium magnets to reduce back and nerve pain after a car accident, prompted a “light-bulb moment,” where she thought that adding the neodymium magnets into a vaginal dilator might offer similar relief. It made sense. So she enlisted the help of her husband to make the device and within two weeks she could have sex again with little pain. Knowing this had helped her and that it could possibly help others, Tara set out to make this device available to women experiencing the pain of vulvodynia.

VUVA Magnetic Vaginal Dilators

Aided with the help of medical experts and advisers, she turned her idea into a non-prescription, vaginal dilator device and start-up business: VuVaTech (www.vuvatech.com) which helps to relieve the pain and sexual discomfort experienced by so many women today. She has estimated that the dilator device has allowed over 17,000 women all over the world, including herself, live a more normal life and finally be able to enjoy sex without pain. In conjunction, this device has helped improve relationships, marriages and even helped to expand their families.

It’s important to note here that during this stressful and painful time, her partner, Jason, became her husband and was 100% supportive and caring. He understood that her pain was not an excuse and that the agony was very real. There was also the knowledge that this was not her fault. This understanding and empathy helped an already strong relationship become stronger and now that they were able to have pain free sex it made their marriage more meaningful. Her advice to men: “Please be supportive. Sexual pain should not end a caring, loving relationship.”

Tara Langdale-Schmidt’s story is amazing to me. From her perseverance through her pain, to her determination not to give up on a diagnosis, and to her brilliance on creating something that could help herself- what I truly loved was her desire to help other women suffering. This quote really nailed it for me: “If I never made a cent from my business, it would be fine. My passion and my mission is spreading pelvic pain awareness to women who are not receiving a correct diagnosis from their doctors. Women need to know that they do not have to live with painful intercourse and pelvic pain.” I think this sentiment is something that all chronic pain patients share, to some extent, and especially women who are often not treated in the same way as men. It is something that drives me to write and share my own story with everyone, so they know they are not alone, and sometimes, so they know they are not crazy and something is really wrong with them. It can make all the difference in the world being able to arm yourself with knowledge and better equipped to seek out a doctor who will listen, or maybe a product that can help you.

I can’t tell you how over-joyed I am to be able to share this story with you. I think her story is one that can inspire those of us with chronic pain and illness to take initiative for their health and if they are not being heard, if they are not getting the right diagnosis and are being turned away with dismissive words to keep searching. I often tell my daughters and my girl friends that a doctor is someone with a degree, who can, from study and experience diagnose you but they are not perfect and they do not know your body as well as you do. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you do not want that medicine. Don’t be afraid to take yourself to another doctor for a second or third or fourth opinion. You are important.

Featured image: Tara Langdale-Schmidt and Husband Jason Schmidt

Liza Zoellick

Author: Liza Zoellick is a chronic pain warrior from Houston who has been chronicling her journey through chronic pain and illness on her blog: http://lovekarmafood.com. She is a frequent and valued contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Liza Zoellick

Liza is a chronic pain warrior from Houston who has been chronicling her journey through chronic pain and illness on her blog: http://lovekarmafood.com. She is a frequent and valued contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Dillon

Yes complaining about constant pelvic pain does result in the pushing of antidepressants, until someone finally discovers several pounds of growths. What a bad joke on people with vaginas. Good on her discovery/invention.

Pamela Lee

What a fabulous article on vulvadynia. I have had it 25 years. It’s difficult to wear slacks or underwear at times. My OBGYN has sent me to pelvic floor PT, lidocaine gel, and amaltriptyline. Nothing really helps. An intimate life is non existant. The pain just started after a diagnosis of intertistial cystitis 25 years ago.
Hopefull about the product you invented. Blessings to all who suffer with this type of chronic pain. It brings you down to the depths of embatressment.
Pamela Lee

Cin Har

What a fabulous article it shows that determination hope and love will succeed if you set your mind to it…
I have had Interstitial cystitis which is a chronic bladder disease since the 1990s and if I would not have had the compassion empathy kindness true humanitarian love from my urologist I don’t know what I would have done…
I have used dilators during pelvic physical therapy to help ease the pain but the magnets sound even better…
I know one thing though there are amazing doctors out there that will truly help you and again I was lucky enough to have a compassionate doctor that would hold my hand sometimes while I lay on the exam table crying because the pain was so severe and I was crushed and heartbroken when he retired recently so I just want to say to him again God bless you enjoy your retirement and thank you for believing in me Dr.Diokano at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak Michigan he will be missed so much and it is so important for all of us as patients to ensure we find a doctor that will show you kindness compassion and that truly believes that your pain is real and not all in your head like some doctors insinuate sometimes I was so lucky to have him as my doctor for years and thank you for this wonderful article it shows you that true determination pays off thank you and God bless to all of us intractable chronic pain Warriors that push through the pain every day happy New Year and may God bless you all💝

Dooney

I have had pelvic pain for 17 years so anyone dealing with this, I have a lot of empathy for. Unfortunately you not only have to deal with the pain but intimacy issues which adds to more stress in your marriage. Mistake after mistake was made in getting my diagnosis after a botched hysterectomy. I actually had to ask for pathology to be done on the pelvic cysts I kept having on my 4th surgery in 8 months. I ended up with a diagnosis of ovarian remnant syndrome. If path had been done the first time it might have saved me from having massive adhesions , another major surgery, and nerve damage. It was and has been an uphill battle that basically ruined my life.
A surgery that was supposed to cure my pain made it 100 times worse. Keep fighting ladies!

Mary

My heart breaks for this woman’s visits resulting in “no care, no answers, no treatment plan”. So many OB/Gyn are indifferent to problems such as Tata suffered. Especially the OB/Gyn doctor who failed to examine her and wanted to put her on SSRI Rx meds! Irresponsible! Unscientific. Thank God Tata took power and started her business. It just proves that some licensed doctors are “healers” and some fail to consider a patient’s. Pain is real. Humans have a complex neurological capacity for pain and pleasure, regarding what organ or “system” is involved. Great article!