Helping Women Find Relief: Wound Care Specialist Pamela Cole Leads the Way
Apr 29, 2016 08:22AM
By Kate Hillenbrand
There is no shortage of women who suffer with pain, burning and itching from vaginal infections, vaginal births, postmenopausal intimacy, cancer treatments, painful sex conditions, and post-surgical recovery involving a vaginal approach.
Who knew there was a burning need for a device to cool down this area? Pamela Cole of Femicorp did. She’s a physical therapist and certified wound specialist. As a former associate professor teaching wound care at the University of Minnesota, and consultant, her goal is to educate people in methods of tissue repair.
Her own experience with frequent bouts of yeast infections led her to understand firsthand the pain, itching, throbbing, swelling and burning feeling that keep many women awake at night, not to mention diminish their quality of life. Receiving advice from a nursing line ‘to take a warm sitz bath,’ she found relief was short-lived and it only added fuel to the fire.
She knew from her work that icing could bring relief. Ice for treating inflammation has been used for decades in medicine as it decreases inflammation and can give immediate relief. So, she asked, “Why isn’t cooling an option to treat this problem in this location as well?” Cole set out to invent a feminine ice pack that was clean, safe, dignified and made in the U.S.
She*Pak is an L-shape device made of medical-grade resin (plastic) and is comfortable, easy to clean and painless. It’s filled with safe ice pack gel. The unique and patented design cools both the internal and external genital tissues. It’s easy to insert, hold and remove.
Health practitioners agree it makes sense. Women got it right away and were thrilled because it changed their sex life—even postmenopausal intimacy.
Cole discovered there’s a large market for the device. There are a minimum of 43 million women in the U.S. alone each year who have a need for She*Pak: 14.4 million with vaginitis; 2.25 million vaginal births without deep tears; 132,000 hysterectomies with a vaginal approach; 20 million women with painful sex conditions in their pelvic floor; and 6 million postmenopausal, sexually active women who experience dryness.
A medical assessment is recommended for a proper diagnosis, but in the meantime, try using the non-pharmaceutical She*Pak with a healthy lubricant that won’t make symptoms worse. Go to the Femicorp website for more facts on the types of available lubricants. Some can cause thinning and drying of tissues, bacterial overgrowth or even adversely change the pH.
Cole found coming up with the idea of She*Pak was easy in comparison to getting a patent and bringing the idea to market. She faced years of challenges with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that kept her from searching for investors.
Another set of challenges was starting a company from scratch, without any business background. Cole learned the hard way certain things you don’t want to “do-it-yourself” or not pay for good advice, like how to structure your company to function well, be attractive to investors and do business taxes. “It actually saves time and money to pay for professionals, even if you are bootstrapping,” says Cole. She wants other inventors and entrepreneurs to know that Minnesota has great resources and groups to guide them.
She*Pak made it to market in July 2015 when Femicorp launched its website. Femicorp’s mission is to create and distribute exceptional products and education that enhance women’s self-care and well-being for their reproductive system throughout their lifetime.
Many women suffer in silence. They don’t mention their problem to their doctor due to embarrassment or lack of knowledge that there is a solution to repair their tissues or get relief. Most regular doctors don’t know the treatments are out there, and Cole encourages women to not only see their ob/gyn professional, but specifically clinicians who specialize in sexual health and medicine.
“Every person hopes to impact or make a difference or leave a mark in this life, and I know my calling is to help people heal. I never imagined it would be this specific and have this broad of a market. I hope She*Pak helps many folks around the world find relief,” Cole enthuses.
For more information, visit Femicorp.com. She*Pak is also available at Amazon.com and in some local stores such as Park Nicollet Health Care Products and Smitten Kitten.
Kate Hillenbrand is a freelance writer, certified holistic health coach and the owner of Gut Instincts by Kate based in Minneapolis.