Female Disruptors: MaryEllen Reider is helping women tone their pelvic floors
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing MaryEllen Reider, co-founder of Yarlap®, an American company that designs a unique FDA-cleared medical device for improving a women’s pelvic floor muscle tone. Yarlap® is disrupting women’s healthcare in a very personal way — by providing women a way to improve their sexual wellness and bladder control at home.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
As a college student, I worked in Kosovo on an international project to empower women helping them take financial control over their lives. It seems like a given here, but having access to a checking account or small business loan can make a lifetime of difference for the woman and her family.
Paying it forward, I’ve continued my work to improve the quality of women’s lives simply but significantly. Pelvic floor muscle toning to improve sexual wellness and urinary control is so easy and it can make a radical difference in the quality of a woman’s life.
Why did you found your company?
Approximately 40 million American women want bladder control, and aneven larger number who want to improve their sexual wellness. Something had to be done when it came to women’s pelvic floor care. It’s a personal subject, its intimate topic that helps their partners and families too.
Here’s why: Healthcare professionals will usually recommend Kegel exercises to tone the muscles of our pelvic floor. These are simple work-rest exercises for posture and respiration of the pelvic floor muscles. Unfortunately, a large number of women find it difficult to perform Kegels correctly — even with professional guidance.
Isolating those muscles and working them for the right amount of time at the right level is really hard! It’s a deeply personal issue. This makes it difficult for the woman to openly talk about what’s going on and Kegels on your own require concentration. My co-founder and I wanted to take the stress, guessing, and stigma out of the equation. Plus, exercise is only as safe and effective if the right procedures are followed.
Yarlap®’s AutoKegel technology sends precise instructions to the muscles using a mild impulse to work-rest the pelvic floor muscles correctly, comfortably, safely, easily, and conveniently. It’s much like in nature but there is no minimum muscle control necessary to start, there is no need to concentrate on the routine, and there is no guessing as to what are the proper muscles to contract and for how long.
This type of technology is called “Biomimicry” because it follows nature. Since the work-out instructions to the muscles are precise, Yarlap supports muscle control and re-education — neuroplasicity.
The work-out programs for strength or massage are clinically preset. All the woman has to do is set it to her comfort level. No guesswork and the Yarlap® is appropriate for women of virtually any age or size.
AutoKegel allows the woman to follow the physician’s non-surgical, non-narcotic recommendations precisely. The Yarlap® was designed to help promote the patient–healthcare professional relationship.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Yarlap® treats the cause. Diapers, surgery and narcotics address the symptom.
For example, the primary function of pelvic floor muscles is postural — they work with the muscles in our lower back and thighs to carry our body weight to our heels and the hold our visceral organs in place.
If the pelvic floor muscles weaken from strain or non-use, the lower back muscle try to compensate and may result in lower back pain and our organs can shift putting pressure on the bladder.
The added pressure on the bladder results in what is commonly known as stress urinary incontinence; leaks from movement like a cough, laugh or sneeze. Muscle atrophy can spasm causing the sudden “Urge” described as “Over Active Bladder.”
Yarlap® has clinically set programs that tone the pelvic floor muscles for you. The benefits of include ending the urge to go to the bathroom, end stress, and better muscle control improves sexual performance.
We disrupt the flow because we offer women a choice of a more natural treatment in ending leaks or continue having leaks.
For instance, we have women in their 80s reporting better sex using the Yarlap® and Yarlap® with AutoKegel is a finalist for Women’s Health Magazine’s first FemTech Award. Yarlap is in the category of Sexual Wellness.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
I’ve been very fortunate to have many excellent mentors. The two dearest are teachers: my mother and grandmother.
My mother is a college professor, Japanese Tea Master and wonderful role model. Whatever she does my mother always tries to do her best. In Japanese we say, “置かれ たところで咲きなさい” [blossom in your field].
My grandmother taught theater. To be heard, you must project your words and finish their ending. Clarity is very important in the medical field.
How are you going to shake things up next?
When women think of bladder leaks, they usually assume the next step is adult diapers or surgery. We’re here to shake that mentality up because it’s not true.
Pelvic floor exercises are a really great and natural way to treat this issue. Most women just need the information and the correct tools to help fix it. Yarlap® is all about improving the quality of life for every woman. Muscle control is key — we give that to you in your own home on your own terms.
Yarlap® may be the ultimate in trans-human medical technology — energizing our neuro-plasticity (the way our brain works) to make the quality of life better.
That’s about all I can share at this time, but buying the Yarlap® now puts you way out ahead for the new technology.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Beverly Whipple, Professor Emerita, Sexology Rutgers University, speaks plainly about sex. People vested in their health and wellbeing appreciate knowing research. Pelvic floor muscle tone serves us all as a critical physiological tool toward our well-being. The data support this view but unfortunately, popular culture — like late night television, make female pelvic strength into a joke about interrelations or a panacea for uptightness. On the contrary, I think men and women are excited to know how they can make their personal sexual performance and expression better.
Dr. Carl Dahlmen, Professor Miami University taught me a big difference can be made with a very small start. As I said before, in Kosovo, a simple checking account made a world of difference in women’s lives. I suppose in the West, we say “A room of her own.”
Dr. Nick Gillespie, Editor at Large, Reason Magazine says when you speak, speak with knowledge and sincerity. Listeners and readers appreciate that when an authority speaks, it is with the intent to help others. Female pelvic floor wellness is a very serious issue that women and men are keen to understand.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
Connecting with other business women on Facebook was really beneficial for me. I was part of a female entrepreneur group where everyone would help each other when it came to VC and pitches. It later evolved to how we can help each other get exposure with media/print, and social media.
Networking is an integral part of business and having this group really allowed me to make connections all over the place. When women are able to work together, we accomplish so much. It was really uplifting and comforting to have a group of women who have your back.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Dolly Parton is one of the biggest stars in country — she is a legend. What I love most is that she has always had a “I’m going to do it my way, on my own terms” kind of career. She calls the shots.
Not only that but she’s incredibly humble. Her career with music to movies like Nine to Five and Steel Magnolias is really impressive. Whenever I have seen interviews with her she is charming and kind.
She does philanthropy, like in 2016, when she announced “My People Fund” that provided $1,000 a month to newly homeless wildfire victims for six months. Plus, she donated 100 million books through Imagination Library. I think she’s brilliant. I’d like to talk with her on how to speak to women so they can see the beauty in themselves and how to stand up and make decisions to make their lives better.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!