SUSANNA KAYSEN, AUTHOR OF GIRL INTERRUPTED, BRINGS NATIONAL ATTENTION TO CHRONIC VULVAR PAIN
Preliminary Findings from a Harvard Medical School Study Reveal that Chronic Vulvar Pain May Affect Millions of Women
WHAT: Expert Commentary on the Emerging Problem of Chronic Vulvar Pain that May Affect Millions of Women
WHO: Phyllis Mate, Executive Director of the National Vulvodynia Association (NVA)
With the October 2001 release of Susanna Kaysen’s book, The Camera My Mother Gave Me, the issue of chronic vulvar pain is getting national attention. Recent preliminary findings from a study conducted by Bernard L. Harlow, Ph.D., of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, reveal that potentially millions of women in the United State suffer from this serious women’s health condition.
In her book Kaysen writes, “That’s how it is. It isn’t cancer. It isn’t diabetes. It isn’t life threatening. It’s just horrible.” Kaysen’s memoir tells a story very familiar to women who suffer from vulvar pain. She details her interactions with multiple medical professionals as she travels from office to office, searching for an answer that will make her pain go away. Each doctor tells her something different and suggests numerous therapies for her to try. Most of these therapies make her pain worse and others her body simply can’t tolerate – lubricants, soaks, creams, numbing agents, medications – the list is endless.
Phyllis Mate, executive director of the National Vulvodynia Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women suffering from chronic vulvar pain, said, “Unfortunately, many women are too embarrassed to seek help for chronic vulvar pain and attempt to self-treat with over-the-counter medications that can exacerbate the problem. Some of these women suffer from intense physical pain, which is only compounded by the emotional distress this condition can cause. Kaysen’s book is a significant step toward letting these women know they’re not alone, as well as educating the public about the condition.”
Mate is available for commentary on chronic vulvar pain and the recent Harvard Medical School Study. She can be reached at 301-299-0775 or email@example.com.
About the NVA
The National Vulvodynia Association (NVA), a non-profit organization established in 1994, began as a small local support group. Today, more than 4,000 patients and health care practitioners throughout the world belong to the organization. The NVA disseminates newsletters written by medical experts, provides support services and physician referrals, and encourages research on the disorder. Its medical advisory board is comprised of clinicians and scientists from diverse medical specialties, including gynecology, dermatology, pain management and physical therapy. For additional information, visit the NVA’s website at www.nva.org
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