Sunday, February 5, 2023

Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics by Lara Parker


Lara Parker was one of my favorite OG BuzzFeed people so when I found out she was writing a book about her experiences living with endometriosis (and other related vaginal issues), I was excited. Because I liked Lara and because even though I knew what endometriosis was, I didn't really know what it was. Endometriosis is when the cells that line your uterus grow outside the uterus, but it also means bloating, pain, cramping, and periods that feel like death. But even that doesn't really tell you what it's LIKE.

VAGINA PROBLEMS is part memoir, part self-help, and part instructive guide. Lara writes about how she developed endometriosis, learning to live with chronic pain, her misdiagnoses and gaslighting from ignorant doctors, her difficulty with things people take for granted like eating and sex, and the anger and helplessness she feels of having little to no agency over how and when her pain manifests. As some people have said, the memoir does get repetitive (we're told nine times that penetration of any kind feels like an implement dipped in acid), but given what this memoir sets out to accomplish, I understood why she repeated herself. When I was learning how to be a tutor, we were told that it takes three repetitions for information to sink in.

I would recommend this book to friends and family of people with chronic pain who would like to learn more about what it is like to live with chronic pain without forcing the person in their life to go through the legwork of teaching them. I think it would also be great for young people who have been freshly diagnosed and need to know they are not alone. If you enjoyed Lara Parker from BuzzFeed and want to learn more about her life, it's also a worthwhile read: it's amazing what she accomplished while living through all of this pain and discomfort, and I'm glad she shared her story to shatter the taboo of talking about bodily functions and pain management and make others feel more seen.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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