Gretchen Molannen, a 39-year-old woman featured in a Tampa Bay Times story, was found dead late Saturday at her home in Spring Hill, Florida. Officials of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office did not give information on exactly when and how Gretchen Molannen died but records revealed the deputies responded to a suicide call around midnight on Saturday.
The Times received email messages from Gretchen's two friends who confirmed her sudden death and lamented that she did not receive the help she needed.
For 16 years, Gretchen Molannen struggled with a rare genital arousal disorder which is an unbearable condition marked by continuous sexual arousal. Women suffering the rare disorder are physically but not psychologically aroused. Some doctors deem that the condition is caused by a nerve malfunction.
Molannen sought help from numerous medical professionals but several claimed they had never heard of the condition. With not enough money for tests or treatments, she tried to work but her condition affected her job performance. Molannen was also unable to maintain steady employment after 1999. Her devastation over her condition eventually tempted her to commit suicide at least three times.
The Times discovered Gretchen Molannen's story on Craigslist in early 2012. She was still looking for help from medical professionals. Molannen agreed to tell her story to Times in July. The Times interviewed her for a total of 10 hours, half in person and the other half on the phone.
Before the publication, the Times thanked her via email and phone call to which she responded in an email message that stated: "Thank YOU for taking an interest in doing a story for me! I am flattered that you cared so much to want to help. I just hope this will educate people that this is serious and really exists, and that other women who are suffering in silence will now have the courage to talk to a doctor about it. If men have suffered with the shame of impotence or even priapism, now it's time for women to get help as well. Thank you for your patience with me and for devoting so much time to this. I'm sure your editor is very proud of your work and I'm excited to see my own story online."
After revealing Gretchen's story, the Times received several offers to help Molannen both from legal and medical professionals. Two women even called to say they had a similar problem with Gretchen and hoped to talk to her about it. Too bad it is already too late. Gretchen's story was also shared on a support group for women with the persistent genital arousal disorder. Their web site www.psas-support.com provides more information about the support group.
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