Many women around the world face vaginal issues and other reproductive problems. So just know you are by no means alone.
In the past, these women were looked down upon and had many problems in their sex life. Some even died from their problems during childbirth, or otherwise.
Fortunately, attitudes toward reproductive health issues and advances in medical sciences since the 20th century have opened up the door to a myriad of treatment options for women with such problems.
In this article, we will be looking at the use of dilators and how they are used to treat some vaginal disorders. We will also take a quick look at the pros and cons of using dilators, and you will discover whether or not they are right for you.
But first, we will talk about what vaginal dilators are.
What are vaginal dilators?
Vaginal dilators are tube-shaped objects that are inserted into the vagina for the purpose of stretching it. These slowly restore vaginal capacity, expanding it in width and depth, and making the tissue more elastic, which also helps to make sexual activity more comfortable.
These can come in a variety of sizes and are usually two to seven inches in size. It can be as small as a finger or tampon, or as large as a fully erect penis. Vaginal dilators are typically made of plastic, rubber, glass or silicon and are typically sold in kits.
One thing you should note is that vaginal dilators are not the same as dildos. The former is used to stretch the vagina and keep it from shrinking, the latter is used for sexual pleasure.
Uses of Vaginal Dilators
Like we said earlier, they are used to stretch the vagina or keep it from shrinking. There are several conditions which can cause said shrinking or even underdevelopment.
Here are some of the most popular instances where vaginal dilators are used:
Gynecological cancers include cancers of the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina, and vulva. They are caused by the overgrowth of cancer cells within the reproductive system. To treat these cancers, doctors will either perform surgery, prescribe chemotherapy medication or use radiation treatment.
As it relates to radiation therapy, this treatment method can cause damage to vaginal tissue, causing it to shorten, become narrow and lost its elasticity. By using a vaginal dilator, you can combat this side effect by inserting it into the vagina for a few minutes to prevent narrowing or healing shut and maintain elasticity.
Vaginal reconstructive surgery
Women undergo vaginal reconstructive surgery for numerous reasons. This can be due to a birth defect, post-cancer treatment, physical trauma such as rape or an accident, vaginal wall prolapse, and the list goes on.
The purpose of this surgery is to correct any defects or damage and to restore function to the vagina. After surgery, a custom dilator is inserted which will help the vagina to stay deep and wide while it is healing.
Menopause can cause the vagina to shrink and become less elastic. To combat this issue, vaginal dilators are used to help the vagina maintain a reasonable size in order to enjoy pain-free vaginal intercourse and undergo painless pelvic exams.
Vaginal Agenesis is a rare condition in which some females are born without a fully developed vagina. To treat this condition, surgery is performed to create a vaginal canal for those who were born without one.
For underdeveloped vaginas, dilation is a non-surgical treatment option. This treatment usually occurs for at least half an hour twice a day until a deep and wide enough opening is formed that can comfortably accommodate a sexual partner.
Otherwise known as pelvic floor myalgia, Vaginismus is a condition where the vagina has a muscle spasms during a penetrative attempt. This means that whenever something is about to go into it, the muscles immediately tighten up, making penetration impossible or painful.
This condition is caused by an intense fear of penetration due to past trauma from sexual abuse or stress in a relationship. The condition can even come on suddenly without any apparent fear.
Treatment for this can involve therapy and vaginal trainers, such as dilators. This will help to relax the muscles and get the mind accustomed to the feeling of penetration.
Other conditions that can be treated with vaginal dilators include superficial dyspareunia, high-tone pelvic floor dysfunction, vaginal atrophy, provoked vestibulodynia, lichen sclerosus and vulvar dermatoses
Dilators for the developed vagina vs underdeveloped vagina
Using dilators for fully developed vaginas require less time. For one, the woman is more mature and has likely had penetrative sex before. Dilation can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
On the other hand, women with underdeveloped vaginas, such as in the case of women with vaginal agenesis will have a more challenging time with dilation. Where there is a small opening, it will take much more time, and more pressure to widen the current opening. This process can take as little as three months, up to eighteen months, depending on how underdeveloped the vagina is and how often the dilator is used. It will also have to be used even after the vaginal opening is created to prevent it from shrinking.
How to Use the Dilator
Using a vaginal dilator can be scary for some women, especially if they don’t actively masturbate or have undergone sexually related trauma.
If you need some help with using your dilator, you have come to the right place. Follow these steps and in no time you will begin to feel comfortable with the whole concept.
First, take a warm bath. Though this isn’t necessary, it can help to soften the skin around the vagina, and more importantly, help to calm your nerves. Next, choose the smallest dilator of your sex and wash it with warm water and mild soap. Dry it with a towel or paper towel.
Next, lay on your back with your legs spread, your knees bent and your legs flat on your bed or sofa. Coat your dilator in a lubricant of your choice and place the vagina at your vaginal dimple or entrance. If you have trouble finding it, you can use a hand-held mirror for guidance. Remember to relax.
When inserting the dilator for the first time, angle it in a downward angle towards your back of your spine. Then, apply slight pressure against your entrance. If it becomes painful, stop, and hold it there. If you feel no pressure, you’re going to need a bigger dilator.
Do this for about 15-20 minutes. You can watch some TV, read a book, or catch up with the happenings of social media while you are dilating your vagina. Repeat this process twice a day, inching further inside of you as you feel more comfortable. You should also upgrade to larger dilators as you feel more comfortable, and feel less pressure.
Once it is inside of you, feel free to do Kegel exercises build your pelvic floor muscles and increase dilation. Gently push the dilator in and out to deepen the vagina. If you start to feel sexual sensations, this is completely fine. This can help to increase blood flow to the vagina and improve vaginal health. You can even rotate the dilator in circles to help increase elasticity.
Once finished, gently remove your dilator and wash once more with warm, soapy water. Dry and store for later use.
If you experience bleeding, this is completely normal and it should go away in time. It is advised that you wear a pad or pantyliner afterward. If bleeding persists for more than a day, contact your doctor. He/she will advise you on what to do.
Be sure to pee after using your dilator. Failure to do so can lead to a Urinary Tract Infection(UTI)
The main concern for women is seemingly the whole idea of inserting something into the vagina. However, with proper guidance and time, this fear should quickly go away.
Dilation can also cause pain and discomfort after surgery and radiation therapy. In many cases, however, it is necessary to keep the walls of the vagina from fusing together.
Using a dilator can also interrupt regular sex life. But with communication and mutual understanding, this issue can be dealt with. In time, sexual intercourse can also be used alongside dilators for dilating the vagina.
Vaginal dilators are used for widening and deepening the vaginal canal. These are necessary where certain medical conditions (and their treatments) such as gynecological cancers or vaginal agenesis, or age-related conditions such as menopause, cause the vagina to either not develop, or shrink or become narrow. When this happens, the dilators of various sizes are used to correct the issue.
If you or someone you know has to undergo dilation therapy, remember that you are not alone, and there is nothing to be afraid of. Once you follow the guidelines of this article, and your doctor’s instructions, in time you will have