With unflinching honesty, Lara Parker, the Deputy Director for BuzzFeed, shares her day-to-day challenges of living, working, and loving with chronic pain caused by endometriosis in this raw, darkly humorous, and hopeful memoir.
I wasn’t ready to be completely honest about my vagina yet, and the world wasn’t ready for that either. But I was getting there. I wanted the world to know that all of this pain I had been feeling…that it was related to my vagina. Thus, Vagina Problems was born. It was a cutesy name. It was my way of taking this pain and saying, “Whatever. I’m here. I have it. It sucks. Let’s talk about it.”
In April 2014, Deputy Editorial Director at BuzzFeed Lara Parker opened up to the world in an article on the website: she suffers from endometriosis. And beyond that? She let the whole world know that she wasn’t having any sex, as sex was excruciatingly painful. Less than a year before, she received not only the diagnosis of endometriosis, but also a diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, vaginismus, and vulvar vestibulitis. Combined, these debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on her life, causing excruciating pain throughout her body since she was fourteen years old. These are her Vagina Problems.
It was five years before Lara learned what was happening to her body. Five years of doctors insisting she just had “bad period cramps,” or implying her pain was psychological. Shamed and stigmatized, Lara fought back against a medical community biased against women and discovered that the ignorance of many doctors about women’s anatomy was damaging more than just her own life. One in ten women have endometriosis and it takes an average of seven years before they receive an accurate diagnosis—or any relief from this incurable illness’ chronic pain.
With candid revelations about her vaginal physical therapy, dating as a straight woman without penetrative sex, coping with painful seizures while at the office, diet and wardrobe malfunctions when your vagina hurts all the time, and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved, Lara tackles it all in Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics with courage, wit, love, and a determination to live her best life.