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Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics

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"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 worl "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."


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"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 worl "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."

30 review for Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    OMG this is so important! I love Lara Parker from BuzzFeed and am so excited that she is writing a book about this. Nobody ever talked about this kind of stuff in sex ed and I'm sure SO MANY teens will find this helpful. <3 Take 2 of me applying for this in a giveaway because I WANT THAT ARC OMG this is so important! I love Lara Parker from BuzzFeed and am so excited that she is writing a book about this. Nobody ever talked about this kind of stuff in sex ed and I'm sure SO MANY teens will find this helpful. <3 Take 2 of me applying for this in a giveaway because I WANT THAT ARC

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Lara Parker is bravely tackling an issue that even today gets discussed in hushed tones, in case someone overhears you: vagina problems. The author points out that a large percentage of the female population suffers debilitating pain as a result of being born with a vagina. Dysmenorrhea, cystitis, recurring UTI's, vaginosis, endometriosis, dyspareunia.... the list goes on and on. I felt v My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Lara Parker is bravely tackling an issue that even today gets discussed in hushed tones, in case someone overhears you: vagina problems. The author points out that a large percentage of the female population suffers debilitating pain as a result of being born with a vagina. Dysmenorrhea, cystitis, recurring UTI's, vaginosis, endometriosis, dyspareunia.... the list goes on and on. I felt very badly for this young woman, whose entire life, once she starting menstruating, was one unending wave of pain. The title of this book caught my eye, because I also suffered from painful dysmenorrhea for most of my life, with little or no help from the medical profession. Going on the pill helped, as did extra strength Advil - and learning to take it a few days before my cycle was due to start, etc., but I can agree with the author that this type of pain was not taken very seriously forty plus decades ago. I think I would have given this book a five instead of a 3.8 star rating if there had been more focus on the cures and help available for women suffering through these issues. Have you ever been stuck in a conversation with a person who tells you every excruciating detail of a recent serious illness or surgery? In the beginning, you are very sympathetic, but after a while, you realize that you've had your fill of listening to all her terribly sad monologue about her pain and suffering. For me, I'd reached my limit when the author described at great length an episode where she was writhing in pain on the workplace unisex bathroom floor, rolling around in all those pee and poop spores. This phrase was repeated one too many times for my liking. Hey: Hats off to Lara Parker for seeking enlightenment and answers to her questions about her many medical issues. I agree with the author that too many women have been left to suffer for so long and in silence. More funds need to be invested in research to find cures or medical treatments for all of these issues affecting women's health. Be prepared to become enraged by the unequal allocation of resources when it comes to women's health. I recommend this book for women who have suffered, or want to know more about, vagina problems. I rate this a 3.8 stars out of 5.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    Wow. Am I ever thankful that I don't have vagina problems. I very much rather live with my few kill-me-now migraines a month, than the constant pain and torture that Parker lives with. I can't express how impressed I am with Lara Parker and her willingness to put everything out there in the hopes of getting people to talk about topics that are still considered taboo by many. I can't believe how dismissive medical professionals were of her pain, but I can also totally believe that because I've als Wow. Am I ever thankful that I don't have vagina problems. I very much rather live with my few kill-me-now migraines a month, than the constant pain and torture that Parker lives with. I can't express how impressed I am with Lara Parker and her willingness to put everything out there in the hopes of getting people to talk about topics that are still considered taboo by many. I can't believe how dismissive medical professionals were of her pain, but I can also totally believe that because I've also been dismissed as a hysterical woman when I was in very real pain. I really hope that Parker's honest memoir is something that helps people open up about what is often dismissed as "female problems" and not given the attention it deserves. Yes, they're not exactly easy topics talk about, but they're also things that affect half the world's population. Let's open up and talk through the uncomfortable to get to the understanding that we need. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Griffin for the chance to read it early.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!) I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the aut When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I have played a zillion games of scrabble, done a zillion crosswords and I AM BORED!!!) I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Shrill meets Everything Below the Waist in this raw and sharply-funny account of Lara Parker's experience of endometriosis from diagnosis, to dating without sex, to work-life balance and more When Lara Parker first started experiencing what she calls her Vagina Problems, she was just 14 years old. She hurt everywhere, but especially in her abdomen and vagina. The pain was constant, and worse around her period. But if she’d learned anything about periods before she even started her own, it was that you didn't talk about that shit. So she mostly just tried to ignore it, even as her period made her throw up, pass out, miss school, and wrecked an entire week of her life every month. She convinced herself that everyone must be feeling what she was feeling, but that they were just better at hiding it. When she finally brought it up to her doctor, the doctor brushed it off and made her feel stupid. “Periods are supposed to hurt,” she said. This was only the beginning of Lara’s seven-year journey to find out what was going on in her body. It took multiple doctors, thousands of dollars, and a refusal to take no for an answer for her to finally have some sort of understanding of what was causing her so much pain. Now Lara is ready to take an honest, funny, relatable, and raw look at how Vagina Problems have affected every single part of her life. From fighting to get a diagnosis, to maintaining relationships through illness and depression, to working a full-time job with chronic pain, to navigating the dating scene when she can’t have sex—this book will have it all. Lara acts as a guide, a confidant, a friend, an outlet, and a support system to anyone who has ever gone through Vagina Problem WHERE WAS THIS BOOK WHEN I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS???? (RANT DONE...) I sat down and inhaled this book - I have been there, done that and bought the postcard. In the words of the author, people need to talk about this shit, and the shit in this book is worth talking about. Half of the world ha vaginas and no one wants to take about them - this book is a great start and should be around for every girl in your life. What an AWESOME BOOK!!!! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🍑🍑🍑🍑🍑

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Buzzfeed editor Lara Parker shares her personal experiences with endometriosis in this raw and honest memoir. Lara spent years dealing with undiagnosed pain and other symptoms. Many doctors implied that it was all in her head. Finally, she received a diagnosis of endometriosis. She talks about her own experiences and also relates them to women's experience in healthcare. Many times women express concerns or symptoms to healthcare providers they aren't taken seriously or told it is because of anx Buzzfeed editor Lara Parker shares her personal experiences with endometriosis in this raw and honest memoir. Lara spent years dealing with undiagnosed pain and other symptoms. Many doctors implied that it was all in her head. Finally, she received a diagnosis of endometriosis. She talks about her own experiences and also relates them to women's experience in healthcare. Many times women express concerns or symptoms to healthcare providers they aren't taken seriously or told it is because of anxiety or depression. Also, women aren't given a faire share of medical research due to the pesky effects of female hormones. Lara also talks a lot about the difficulty of living with any chronic illness and how it takes a physical and mental toll on someone's life. This book reminded me of Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain, which is another memoir about living with endometriosis. Both books really help shine a light on the imbalance in healthcare for women and men. I recommend to anyone who is into feminist reads or looking for a memoir about chronic illness. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Natasha | readalongwithnat

    I received an eARC from Netgalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for my honest review. CW: all things medical, death of a friend I laughed, I cried, I felt so incredibly seen. I would recommend this book to literally everyone because you either have a chronic illness and can relate to so much of Lara's words, or you don't but you should read this so you can be aware of what folks experience on a daily basis. I received an eARC from Netgalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for my honest review. CW: all things medical, death of a friend I laughed, I cried, I felt so incredibly seen. I would recommend this book to literally everyone because you either have a chronic illness and can relate to so much of Lara's words, or you don't but you should read this so you can be aware of what folks experience on a daily basis.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Williamson

    AVAILABLE NOW!!! I have followed Lara Parker on Buzzfeed for awhile now. She was one of the only voices I was readily able to access when I received my very own Endometriosis diagnosis. I have so much respect for the way she showed up and offered her own life experience with vagina problems. I know I am not alone when I say that reading her articles made me feel less isolated in a time when isolation and I were very familiar with each other. At the time of my diagnosis, there were no other voices AVAILABLE NOW!!! I have followed Lara Parker on Buzzfeed for awhile now. She was one of the only voices I was readily able to access when I received my very own Endometriosis diagnosis. I have so much respect for the way she showed up and offered her own life experience with vagina problems. I know I am not alone when I say that reading her articles made me feel less isolated in a time when isolation and I were very familiar with each other. At the time of my diagnosis, there were no other voices in the community openly discussing what I was experiencing and I will always be grateful to her for showing up in such a vulnerable way, to discuss something so personal. I say all of that to convey how important it is for books like this one to be out in the world. When I turned to books from other people's perspective on living with endometriosis shortly after my diagnoses, I found none. Instead, I found a lot of medical journals that I read and understood about 20% of the text. The lack of material out there on something that 1 in 10 women suffer from is astounding to me. This fact alone makes Parker's book an important, timely read. Vagina Problems covers so much of what it is like to experience pelvic pain without answers. Lara talks about living with chronic pain and the challenges of feeling like you are taking up space in a way people are uncomfortable acknowledging. The chapter discussing the complete lack of help doctors have to offer people suffering from chronic pain was so eerily accurate it was difficult for me to get through. All of these topics are so important, and I feel Parker gave voice to a myriad of issues too many are familiar with. The struggle that I had with getting through this book was the redundancy in writing and in pain explanations. Every page felt familiar because parker had said it in a slightly different way several times before. A lot of phrasing was repetitive and she would give vague details of a life experience in one chapter only to go into the same story several chapters later in greater depth. This book felt spread a little thin. I wondered several times If maybe she didn't have enough content for a full book and tried to stretch it a little farther than it could go physically. There is a lot of fluff here and I almost feel like Vagina Problems could have benefitted from one more round of editing, or maybe even rearranging chapters for a better flow. Do not get me wrong, I think Parker is an excellent writer, I just feel this particular book could use a little extra finessing. The very fact that a book like this is going to be out for public consumption gives me hope that people can reach a greater understanding of what it is like for chronic pain sufferers. I hope that books like Vagina problems will eventually push the medical field to advocate for their patients. In my own experience, and in the experience of Lara Parker, patients have to beg and plead to be believed and treated with the kind of care and respect that they deserve in order to receive a formal diagnosis. This HAS to change and in my opinion, publishing a book like this is a step in the right direction. Reviewer's note: A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. You can find the book Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics on a bookshelf near you on October 6th 2020!!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️/ 5 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Pignataro

    This is a book about pain—chronic, life-altering pain that affects 10 percent of all women. To be clear, this is not a medical study of endometriosis (or the myriad other diseases that affect women along with it), but is rather one woman’s experiences living with it. It’s both heart-breaking and inspiring. While I read this book because I wanted to know more about how endometriosis was affecting a friend of mine (chances are, if you don’t suffer from it, you know at least one person who does), I This is a book about pain—chronic, life-altering pain that affects 10 percent of all women. To be clear, this is not a medical study of endometriosis (or the myriad other diseases that affect women along with it), but is rather one woman’s experiences living with it. It’s both heart-breaking and inspiring. While I read this book because I wanted to know more about how endometriosis was affecting a friend of mine (chances are, if you don’t suffer from it, you know at least one person who does), I found the book also valuable in identifying ableist impulses and prejudices within myself. As author Lara Parker points out, we live in a society that places an extremely high value on healthy productivity, which only makes everything worse for those forced to live with chronic pain they do not deserve.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Repetitive and not really all that informative🤔 I had hoped to learn something from Lara Parker's book that could help me understand how to handle some of the pain issues I've been facing for a few years. I did not find any answers here, and I found the narrative overly repetitive, depressing, and pretty well summed up in a few lines. -Yes, she has pain that took a long time to diagnose and will not go away. -No, she is not less worthy of love because of her pain. -No, others who don't experience i Repetitive and not really all that informative🤔 I had hoped to learn something from Lara Parker's book that could help me understand how to handle some of the pain issues I've been facing for a few years. I did not find any answers here, and I found the narrative overly repetitive, depressing, and pretty well summed up in a few lines. -Yes, she has pain that took a long time to diagnose and will not go away. -No, she is not less worthy of love because of her pain. -No, others who don't experience it will probably never understand how the pain dominates your life. -No, she is not alone in her symptoms. -Yes, the medical profession should do more to recognize and find mitigation therapies or cures for medical conditions that only affect women. - Yes, living with vaginal problems presents tough challenges in forming and sustaining a relationship, but relationships are not just tough because of your pain. The book is also heavily focused on the way the pain affects a woman's sex life. A book recognizing the issue is a good thing BUT I feel this one was a bit of a circular rant heavily critical of "all the doctors she'd known before." Knowing vaginal problems are common is important; I just wish there had been more light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to publisher St. Martin's Griffin and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karlee

    When I saw this book on NetGally I got super excited! dealing with endo myself it's almost comforting to read that I'm not alone with my chronic pain. Lara takes you on a journey of her struggles with Vagina Problems throughout her years, the endless amount of doctors appointments and days in bed. Finding a doctor to help with any sort of Vagina Problems is definitely a struggle, thinking you're going crazy while dealing with all the pain and stress is a true bummer. This book definitely gives yo When I saw this book on NetGally I got super excited! dealing with endo myself it's almost comforting to read that I'm not alone with my chronic pain. Lara takes you on a journey of her struggles with Vagina Problems throughout her years, the endless amount of doctors appointments and days in bed. Finding a doctor to help with any sort of Vagina Problems is definitely a struggle, thinking you're going crazy while dealing with all the pain and stress is a true bummer. This book definitely gives you a really descriptive perspective on what someone with Vagina Problems deals with on a day to day basis.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    5 stars for importance of subject matter, 3 stars for reading experience (mostly because it got pretty repetitive).

  12. 5 out of 5

    MarleneAnna

    I highly recommend everyone affected or everyone who knows someone affected to read this. Especially when it comes to those issues, it can be a lonely, isolated road for those living with them, and this book breaks the stigma by putting into words what it feels like to live with this in a world like ours.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    4.5 stars. "Living with chronic pain is not just being in pain. It's being forced to alter your life in a million different ways that other people don't have to, all while trying to find the mental capacity to be okay with this." If you or someone you know suffers, please read this book. And I really wish all doctors were forced to read this to indeed realize that women's pain is real and not in their head. 4.5 stars. "Living with chronic pain is not just being in pain. It's being forced to alter your life in a million different ways that other people don't have to, all while trying to find the mental capacity to be okay with this." If you or someone you know suffers, please read this book. And I really wish all doctors were forced to read this to indeed realize that women's pain is real and not in their head.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I absolutely love that Lara was willing to share her story in such intimate detail - for the sake of educating people about these diseases, and also to remind those 1 in 10 women dealing with endo that they aren't alone. It's so important to continue to rally for women's health reform. The lack of medical research specifically tailored for women's bodies is criminal. Her story perfectly details how the system let her down again and again - despite all the advantages she has with access to care, I absolutely love that Lara was willing to share her story in such intimate detail - for the sake of educating people about these diseases, and also to remind those 1 in 10 women dealing with endo that they aren't alone. It's so important to continue to rally for women's health reform. The lack of medical research specifically tailored for women's bodies is criminal. Her story perfectly details how the system let her down again and again - despite all the advantages she has with access to care, medical insurance, etc. It's certainly not in the same league as the chronic struggles of endometriosis, but I do have an anecdote about pelvic floor therapy. After I gave birth to my first child, I was having extreme pain with various activities (i.e. basically labor pain). I just assumed this pain was "normal" and would go away in time. The symptoms weren't mentioned in the screening for my 6 week post-partum doctors appointment. My doctor said I would have general pain for awhile; I was still healing from my unplanned c-section. It wasn't until I mentioned my symptoms in passing to another mom (in the pump room at work) that I heard about pelvic floor PT, and realized I could actually get treatment for my issues. I didn't get off the waitlist for an appointment until around 8 months post-partum, because despite living in a well-populated area, these specialized clinics are not super common. The therapy was truly a game-changer for me. Not only did my therapist help me correct my post-partum issues, she also helped me work on an undiagnosed pelvic floor issue I didn't even know I had...because, women's health information is so sketchy and incomplete!! For my entire life, I just thought it was something "normal" that I couldn't do anything about. My quality of life improved IMMENSELY. Yet, the only reason I even received this care was happenstance. I shouldn't have had to learn about this type of PT through casual work conversations. I should have been referred through my OB/Gyn after being properly informed of and screened for pelvic floor issues (which, turns out, are insanely common!) So yes. It was very gratifying to read this book and see vehement advocacy for better information, better drug testing, better disease research, and better standard of care. Justice for vaginas! *** I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I was really looking forward to this, but it was incredibly repetitive and very 'woe is me.' Also strangely lacking in informative and statistical details? I was really looking forward to this, but it was incredibly repetitive and very 'woe is me.' Also strangely lacking in informative and statistical details?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Self indulgent, repetitive and uninteresting. It would have been better as a long article in the New Yorker.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Just Reading Everything

    This isn't a book that only "people with vagina problems" should read—but everyone, especially men who oftentimes don't empathize with the pain women experience. Lara writes in a way that is conversational yet honest and vulnerable, as if you've sat down to have a chat with your very good friend. She speaks truthfully about her diagnosis and of the enormous flaws in the medical industry. Chronicling her experience with living with these conditions, Lara openly talks about her sex and dating life This isn't a book that only "people with vagina problems" should read—but everyone, especially men who oftentimes don't empathize with the pain women experience. Lara writes in a way that is conversational yet honest and vulnerable, as if you've sat down to have a chat with your very good friend. She speaks truthfully about her diagnosis and of the enormous flaws in the medical industry. Chronicling her experience with living with these conditions, Lara openly talks about her sex and dating life, her experience with surgery and different doctors, and how she manages her daily pain, reminding readers that those with chronic illness never asked for this, but are doing their very best every single day. You'll come out the other side a more informed person after reading this, so do yourself a favor and put it on your to-read list ASAP.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Craig David

    As someone with a recent diagnosis of endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, pelvic floor dysfunction, and dyspareunia but a sufferer for 15 years, this book hit so close to home. I want everyone around me to have a copy so they can understand what it is I go through. I shared so many of the same struggles as Lara and like she said, this diagnosis can be so isolating. Lara is breaking down that “shh, you can’t talk about!” barrier and gosh, it felt good. I can’t recommend this book enough. Whether you’re As someone with a recent diagnosis of endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, pelvic floor dysfunction, and dyspareunia but a sufferer for 15 years, this book hit so close to home. I want everyone around me to have a copy so they can understand what it is I go through. I shared so many of the same struggles as Lara and like she said, this diagnosis can be so isolating. Lara is breaking down that “shh, you can’t talk about!” barrier and gosh, it felt good. I can’t recommend this book enough. Whether you’re a warrior or Endometriosis, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, Vulvar Vestibulitis, Interstitial Cystitis, Dyspareunia, Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Adenomyosis. Dysmenorrhea, Ovarian Cysts, and Fibrocystic breasts, or you know someone who is, please read this book to better understand yourself or the people you love!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thelma

    Vagina Problems is the real story of Lara Parker, a life that has been surrounded by pain and Doctors who kept telling her lies and misguided her on what to do or how to feel better if that's something that actually exists. Vagina Problems, a very eye-opener book, not only do we see ourselves in every page and story Lara wrote about, but also we identify so much on how usually Doctors don't have any clue about our bodies, the female body, and how they usually throw diagnoses at us that are so wro Vagina Problems is the real story of Lara Parker, a life that has been surrounded by pain and Doctors who kept telling her lies and misguided her on what to do or how to feel better if that's something that actually exists. Vagina Problems, a very eye-opener book, not only do we see ourselves in every page and story Lara wrote about, but also we identify so much on how usually Doctors don't have any clue about our bodies, the female body, and how they usually throw diagnoses at us that are so wrong just to get rid of us or try to convince us that all our symptoms are in our head. I identify so much with Lara story, It will never compare to what she went through or what she still going thought, as my story is very different but I've been in that chair many, many, times When a Doctor wants to impose his will and diagnose to you no matter what you said he will try to convince you to do or believe everything he says. When they try to convince you that you need a catheter for chemo when they don't even know if you will even need it, or when they are trying to do major surgery on your intestines because they assure you, you're in danger when is all lies and you don't even need the surgery, they just want the money and to get rid of you because they dont have an answer or your clue to what is happening with your body. Vagina Problems is the story of a misdiagnose of a bunch of doctors who didn't know what to do and keep lying and misdiagnosing Laura over and over again, she even had a surgery that it wasn't even necessary, she tells us how all these terrible misdiagnoses hurt her immensely, how the Doctors never took her seriously and keep making up excuses. I felt angry many times reading how they treat her, how they constantly dismissed her. How hard she fought without any help because people could never understand what she was going through. I feel her and I'm sure many of us will feel her and understand her perfectly. Vagina Problems show us how clueless the medicine world is about us, about the women's body, how in the medical industry we're still being discriminated and constantly try to lies to us when they want to make excuses for their lack of knowledge. I really wish Lara had a different ending, I wish someone in the world could help her, she has been through so much, I wish I knew her so I could tell her to have a soul retrieval. Thank you Laura for being a warrior and a fighter in a man's world.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    An honest reflection on the author's journey through years of horrific pain, finally diagnosed, initial relief, and crashing reality as she grapples with several compounding "unfixable" chronic pain conditions. Her obsession with attempted prevention rang very true to my own after my initial Vagina Problem diagnosis. Parker weaves in hopeful and earnest prose without getting Pollyanna or despondent. Reading about her reworking of relationship and sexual expectations helped me release some unhelp An honest reflection on the author's journey through years of horrific pain, finally diagnosed, initial relief, and crashing reality as she grapples with several compounding "unfixable" chronic pain conditions. Her obsession with attempted prevention rang very true to my own after my initial Vagina Problem diagnosis. Parker weaves in hopeful and earnest prose without getting Pollyanna or despondent. Reading about her reworking of relationship and sexual expectations helped me release some unhelpful expectations of my own. But even if you have not experienced pelvic pain, this book offers key insight to the daily impact chronic pain in general can have on a person. I feel more empathetic toward myself and my friends with health complications. It's a quick read too, with conversational language. Definitely worth the read even if you don't personally relate. *I received an eARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for the opportunity to read and review in advance of publication.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    There was so much that this book COULD have done to highlight the many issues that women face, especially when it comes to vagina problems. I was looking forward to this book as an informative non-fiction read that uses statistics and specific diagnoses that women receive.  Rather than being informative though, this book read as a long complaint of chronic pain. I almost feel that a two-star rating is generous, but Lara Parker has obviously helped many people (women especially) by talking about t There was so much that this book COULD have done to highlight the many issues that women face, especially when it comes to vagina problems. I was looking forward to this book as an informative non-fiction read that uses statistics and specific diagnoses that women receive.  Rather than being informative though, this book read as a long complaint of chronic pain. I almost feel that a two-star rating is generous, but Lara Parker has obviously helped many people (women especially) by talking about the issues that she has faced with the multiple diagnoses she has received for the pain that she feels.  If you are looking for one personal example of a woman who has suffered because of her vagina, I recommend this book. This book may help you recognize that you are not on your own. Note that her stories are repetitive- she retells the same stories in each of the chapters and this book would have been better at half the length. Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Hazen

    I really learned so much in this book. Basically this is a real education in endometriosis. First of all I thought I knew about it, well, I did not. This book at times can really be complaining from the author point of view in regards to how much pain she is in and the episodes that she goes through to truly find out what is wrong with her. However, I cannot begin to imagine truly what it felt like to be in her shoes. Was just thinking maybe some resources or something to help those that are goi I really learned so much in this book. Basically this is a real education in endometriosis. First of all I thought I knew about it, well, I did not. This book at times can really be complaining from the author point of view in regards to how much pain she is in and the episodes that she goes through to truly find out what is wrong with her. However, I cannot begin to imagine truly what it felt like to be in her shoes. Was just thinking maybe some resources or something to help those that are going through the same problems and do not know where to turn? I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Merricat

    If you are a person with a vagina you should be reading this book. Modern medicine doesn’t include or treat women in a way that benefits our health. Being able to read an entire book dedicated to the vagina was truly an experience I deserved before I was 31 years old, but here we are. This book was well done and I highly recommend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Taylor Hunt

    Very grateful for this book - the amount of times I screamed “me too!” in my head was comforting and frustrating (due to the lack of a cure for my constant pain). Glad I have some well written passages to help share my struggle with those around me

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Absolutely amazing. Every person with a vagina should read this. Every person who has a chronic illness should read this. In fact, everyone should read it! I learned so much. Kudos to the author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    The Lexington Bookie

    Conversational, brutally honest, and delightfully clever, Lara Parker dives into all her vagina problems and the research that she's done to solve them. Parker offers up a safe space for discussion and commissary on topics such as PCOS, endometriosis, other chronic issues. For those who too suffer from pesky vagina problems, it's a must read! Conversational, brutally honest, and delightfully clever, Lara Parker dives into all her vagina problems and the research that she's done to solve them. Parker offers up a safe space for discussion and commissary on topics such as PCOS, endometriosis, other chronic issues. For those who too suffer from pesky vagina problems, it's a must read!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    Vagina Problems // by Lara Parker Ever since reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, I have been reading every medically related memoir I could get my hands on. Over the past year, I’ve also tried to be more outspoken about taboo topics, both when with friends as well as on social media. When I came across Vagina Problems by Lara Parker, I knew that I just had to read it! Aside from the blurb, have you seen the cover?! It is awesome! It is perfect for for her story with its boldness th Vagina Problems // by Lara Parker Ever since reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, I have been reading every medically related memoir I could get my hands on. Over the past year, I’ve also tried to be more outspoken about taboo topics, both when with friends as well as on social media. When I came across Vagina Problems by Lara Parker, I knew that I just had to read it! Aside from the blurb, have you seen the cover?! It is awesome! It is perfect for for her story with its boldness that draws your attention immediately! Lara Parker pulled me into her story right away. There aren’t many books that I read this quickly. But she just has a real talent at telling things how they are with no shame and leaving you wanting more. I know that might be a weird thing to say when it is about a topic like this, but it is true. I learned so much about the illnesses she talks about and I am a better person for it. I wish I could make not just every doctor but every person in general read this book. I knew there was a bias about women’s pain in medicine but I did not realize it takes an average of 7 (SEVEN!) years for someone to be diagnosed with endometriosis. That is ridiculous! I love how Lara Parker is defensive and argumentative and owns it! It is so obvious how much she has been belittled and not taken serious, and it’s very empowering to me (who is struggling with unexplained medical issues thus far and feels like it’s not always being taken serious) to see her not back down and make her problems smaller than they are for the book. Several times throughout, Parker talks about her privilege and what that affords her in terms of treatment options, health insurance, and sick days. She sounds down to earth and honest when she talks about these things, very much in line with the rest of her book. This book is raw and honest and everything it needs to be. There is no happy ending, at least not the type we would all love to see with a cure and forever love and butterflies and flowers. But it has an ending that may feel familiar to others with chronic illnesses or hopefully at least spark some hope. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Actually gave up. Repetitive drivel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Castetter

    Note: I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley and am leaving this review voluntarily. As someone who has never shied away from calling it like it is—no matter what “it” is—Lara Parker’s Vagina Problems caught my attention instantly. It’s a catchy title, to be sure, but as I am someone with vagina problems, I wondered how Parker’s story and mine might be alike. A blunt memoir of the harrowing journey to receive adequate medical care as well as an explanation for health issues spanning n Note: I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley and am leaving this review voluntarily. As someone who has never shied away from calling it like it is—no matter what “it” is—Lara Parker’s Vagina Problems caught my attention instantly. It’s a catchy title, to be sure, but as I am someone with vagina problems, I wondered how Parker’s story and mine might be alike. A blunt memoir of the harrowing journey to receive adequate medical care as well as an explanation for health issues spanning nearly half the author’s life, Vagina Problems is the book I quickly declared a “must read,” even posting about it on social media—“This book is AMAZING,” I said. “As a chronic illness gal, THIS is the book we need to rally around! If you have a vagina, enjoy vagina, or love someone with a vagina, READ IT”! Vagina Problems is the type of book that makes the reader laugh; Parker is relatable and so incredibly human as she tells of her troubles, both physically and in her personal life. Vagina Problems is a book that will make the reader positively enraged because women still face so much uncertainty in the medical community, as well as disbelief. (Why are women so readily disregarded, told to “drink some wine” or declared “emotionally unstable” whenever we have a problem a man can’t readily fix?!) And Vagina Problems is exactly the book everyone who cares about vaginas (or, if they’re a misogynist and don’t care beyond the pleasure a vagina can provide) must read. Lara Parker’s story of living with chronic pain—both as a struggling professional and someone who faces oh-so-many do-gooders who think they can use a cup of herbal tea to solve what medicine cannot—is the story of every single woman living with chronic pain and/or vagina problems. From struggling to be believed that yes, this pain is so much more than cramps to fighting for her right to proper medical care and compassion to trying to accept the reality that, unless something drastic changes, the way of life of a chronically-ill person won’t change, Parker is never afraid to share exactly how she feels or thinks. This is the sort of transparency we need in reading memoirs because it’s the type of storytelling that tells the reader we aren’t living through This or That alone. It tells the reader there is someone out there who gets it. And for potential readers with chronic illnesses or vagina problems, or both, I know you’ll appreciate this. But I want to address the less-likely readers out there—those without chronic illnesses or vaginas. As Parker addresses, both the medical community and our society know so much about male genitalia. However, very little is scientifically known or addressed about vaginas, vulvas, clitorises—a woman’s genitals. Even less is commonly known about the problems many women face with their genitals, and Parker’s book opens the door for this conversation. These are things we need to be talking about—as women, mothers, friends, spouses, girlfriends, yes, but also as the non-vagina-possessing counterparts. (I could say the same for heart disease in women versus men, but I’ll save that for another day.) The reality that one’s organs could permanently influence one’s way of life is mind-boggling to all those who haven’t experienced it, and often, I think that’s why some folks will discount those experiences. “Oh, is it really that bad?” Yes, yes, it is, and we need to be educating ourselves and (as kindly as possible) others that there are many hidden, invisible-to-others ailments the human body can experience. Parker has plenty of experience with those, and her book is the perfect starting point for anyone who is curious about chronic illness or any long-term affliction. And I say “any” because, as I read Vagina Problems, I was often reminded of my trauma. Recently, I was diagnosed with Complex-PTSD, for many reasons—one of which is the repeated sexual assaults in my teenage years. My best friend and I have discussed these incidents. Once, she shared that it was hard for her to come to me with her problems because “They just don’t seem so big compared to what you’ve faced.” I understood, and I do, but that doesn’t matter. I told her that if she’s in pain about something, that’s all that matters. I’m here for her, because I know what its like to not have anyone here for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple romantic squabble or a family crisis—if she’s in pain, I want to know. I may not be able to help, but if I can, I will. The way Parker described the “barrier” between herself and her friends sans-vagina-problems, I feel a similar barrier in my social circle. I have challenges that my friends simply cannot—and may not ever—understand, and that can be isolating. It can be isolating to be crippled by something unseen, even temporarily. Moreover, it can be infuriating to be crippled by something that you can’t just show someone for them to fix. If I walked into a doctor’s office with a limb missing, they’d be on it like duck on a June bug. If I walked into happy hour naked, my friends would notice. But if I walk into a room feeling like a part of me is missing, or that I’m completely exposed for all to see? Not everyone picks up on that. Vagina Problems by Lara Parker is a fantastic book that depicts the life of someone with chronic, incurable pain, and the focus is on the physical. However, so much of what Parker said throughout reminded me of my emotional pain that I want everyone I know to read it, simply because she put words to things I’ve been struggling to describe for years…things I’d imagine many of us struggle to verbalize. The quality of Vagina Problems that makes it truly remarkable, though, is the fact that I could sing its praises for hours and still have more to say. Everything about this book is helpful, even the aspects that aren’t strictly positive. I want to take my gynecologist a copy and discuss the ways I’ve felt that way in the past—both in his office and other doctors’ offices!—and ask how doctors and patients can be working together to change the narrative for women everywhere. Vagina Problems by Lara Parker is a five-star book, a must-read for everyone, and a book I can’t wait to share with my daughter in fifteen years or so, so that she enters womanhood fully-equipped, both for the “What if?” for herself as well as with compassion for other women.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    A missed opportunity. As someone with “vagina problems”, I looked forward to hearing another woman’s story on coming to understand and treat endometriosis and similar pelvic pain disorders. At many points in the story, I found myself yelling, “YEP! Exactly!” With that said, I feel like there was a lot of extraneous material (likely to hit the publisher’s page minimum), so I found myself skipping ahead. I believe this book would have benefited from being a collection of short stories from many wo A missed opportunity. As someone with “vagina problems”, I looked forward to hearing another woman’s story on coming to understand and treat endometriosis and similar pelvic pain disorders. At many points in the story, I found myself yelling, “YEP! Exactly!” With that said, I feel like there was a lot of extraneous material (likely to hit the publisher’s page minimum), so I found myself skipping ahead. I believe this book would have benefited from being a collection of short stories from many women in order to highlight the variations in treatment and symptoms. Instead, we hear the author’s sophomoric tirades about sex in the media and other stuff I don’t care about. I’ll echo what another reviewer said: this books is more like a long complaint about having pelvic pain. In many chapters she discusses how “unfair” it is to have pelvic pain and how she felt like “her life is over” because she has painful intercourse. Very self-pitying. As much as I wanted to empathize, i found myself rolling my eyes instead.

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