You’ve been called an accidental entrepreneur. What’s your back story?
I never planned on being a startup business entrepreneur. But after suffering unbearable pain, numerous medical misdiagnoses, and ineffective surgeries, there was no choice but to find a way to help myself and others.
For four long years, I suffered from vulvodynia, experiencing sharp, stabbing, burning pain in my pelvic area, making it impossible to enjoy sexual intimacy with my future husband. The pain, both physical, emotional and mental, was agonizing and impacted my quality of life. After undergoing several surgeries and even having a doctor suggest she drink wine before trying sex with her husband, I had enough.
From my previous positive experience using magnets to reduce back and neck nerve pain after a car accident, I had an entrepreneurial “lightbulb moment” to add neodymium magnets into a vaginal dilator. With the help of medical experts and advisors, I turned my idea into a nonprescription device that is clinically proven to help women relieve pelvic pain and sexual discomfort.
Sexual pain can be physical, emotional and mental. Tell me about your struggles during the worst of times.
When the pain became too much to bear, and I was not getting a diagnosis from doctors, it crossed my mind that I may never have a normal sex life again. The pain had become so bad, that I did not want to engage in intercourse at all. I have a very supportive husband who let me know our sexual relationship did not define us as a couple and he would always be there for me. I am lucky in this regard because a lot of women have partners who unfortunately are not as understanding. What kept me in a positive state was the curiosity of this condition called Vulvodynia and how many women actually have it and are in need of a specialist to help treat it.
You saw several doctors and had needless surgeries. Nothing helped. Tell me about that experience and how it drove you to find a solution on your own.
Most of my surgeries were for endometriosis and fibroids, which started when I was 11 years old. When I turned 26, the pain with intercourse started slightly, then become worse during that following year. I saw a pelvic pain specialist in my town after my gynecologist failed to come up with a prognosis. The specialist did not give me a diagnosis or even examine me. He stated he could just cut out the part that hurts and/or put me on an anti-depressant, which can help with nerve pain. These were not options that I wanted to explore. I did not want to alter who I am as a person by taking medication. There was no way I was going to let a doctor. who did not even examine me. cut into my lady parts. This is the way many doctor’s appointments go for women who suffer from pelvic pain.
After doing my own research I noticed Vulvodynia and Fibromyalgia sounded very similar. My mother had previously used Neodymium magnets to treat her Fibromyalgia back in 1996, which is also a nerve pain issue. Vaginal Dilators were a safe treatment for pelvic pain patients, so I had a lightbulb moment to then marry the two concepts together for pelvic pain patients. I had to try this for myself. I created a prototype and within two weeks my pain during intercourse was reduced by sixty percent. Then I had an idea to use them right before intercourse for thirty minutes and that was a game-changer. I immediately started to cry because I was so happy we could have intercourse again and I knew I was going to help thousands of women.
You were in a serious relationship when you had Vulvodynia and Endometriosis. How did your sexual pain impact your relationship with your then boyfriend and now husband Jason? Your sexual pain was also painful to him.
Our relationship stayed strong. Intimacy was hard for him as well because all he was worried about was whether or not he was hurting me. That really puts a damper on the mood and kind of ruins the moment. That is why Neodymium Vaginal Dilators work so well, you relax the muscles and desensitize the nerves on your own by using a dilator comparable to your partner’s size before intercourse. It is very effective and safe to use.
Women who experience sexual pain often are too embarrassed to seek medical help. So, they either suffer or abstain. What’s your message to those women?
Don’t be ashamed. Eighty percent of women at some point in their lives will have a condition that causes painful intercourse. You need to find a vulvovaginal specialist or a pelvic pain specialist. It is very hard for women to find doctors who know how to properly treat Vulvodynia, Vaginismus and other pelvic pain conditions. Pelvic floor physical therapy can also be very helpful and is highly recommended. There are also forums on social media that are private that you can join which really help. There are women from all over the world in these groups that help and lift each other up. There are people out there wanting to help you.
You’ve become an advocate for women who experience sexual pain. What are your thoughts about going from a victim to an advocate?
I know it might sound crazy, but I am glad I have Vulvodynia. I have helped so many women self-diagnose themselves. They had sought a diagnosis for years and years. Also, VuVa Dilators have helped over 8,000 women in the past two years. I receive emails often from women who tell me the dilator saved their marriage. Some write to tell me regaining their sex life allowed them to have more children. It really is a great feeling and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I constantly share my story to help others.
What’s your take-away message to any woman who are reading this story?
Life is short, do not dwell on these pelvic pain conditions. You might have to visit 10 doctors before you find the correct one, just keep trying. If your partner is a jerk about it, leave him before he tries to leave you. You need positive vibes to heal. There are resources out there for you and specialist that want to help. Do your research and make sure surgery is the last option. We can help you find these specialists if you need them. Don’t give up. Don’t let these conditions define you. You are awesome.
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