This week I am happy to introduce you to Materna and its CEO Mark Juravic. Materna is a women’s health start-up in the San Francisco Bay Area that is focused on creative solutions for pelvic pain.
Materna had its start at the Stanford Biodesign program. While a student in the program, Mark began working on Materna’s childbirth device (Materna Prep) to prevent maternal tearing and pelvic muscle injuries during childbirth. Mark explains, “The root of the problem seemed to be biomechanical in nature, and there weren't many people working to solve such a big problem. That is what inspired me to get involved.”
Since its inception, Materna has developed two therapeutic vaginal dilation devices for two different areas of women’s pelvic health. Materna’s first device, Materna Prep, was developed for use during childbirth to prevent maternal pelvic injuries and shorten delivery time. Materna Prep is still in development. Materna is planning to start a large pivotal trial for Materna Prep next year with 200 patients. Their second device, Milli, was developed to treat pelvic pain and dyspareunia (pain during intercourse). Milli is the first expanding vaginal dilator.
For those not familiar with vaginal dilators, they are a common tool used by OBGYNs and Physical Therapists to treat certain kinds of pelvic pain. There are many different treatment options for women that suffer with pelvic pain, depending on the etiology. There is a long list of reasons why women can have pelvic pain: menopausal related atrophy, cancer treatment, vaginismus, vulvodynia, lichen sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, endometriosis… to name a few. Treatments range from counseling to drugs that deliver estrogen to lubricants and moisturizers for dryness to physical therapy and dilators. The body's response to pain is often to brace itself where the pain is. In the case of pelvic pain, the pelvic muscles may begin involuntarily contracting. Sometimes when the original cause of pain is treated, patients are left with sensitive, over-contracting pelvic muscles that require physical therapy to treat. This is where vaginal dilators have historically been used.
The team at Materna hopes that Milli, which slowly expands millimeter by millimeter, will give women a better option for vaginal dilators. They recently launched Milli and it is now available online. As the team at Materna learns from users of Milli, they are hoping to find the optimal dilation treatment programs for women with different conditions.
Do you have patients interested in buying Milli? Milli can be found online at www.millimedical.com. There, you can check out this cool new gynecology device and learn more about the Materna team!