| Tara Langdale

7 Helpful Tips to Using Dilators Successfully, #2 Is the Most Important

The 7 Most Used Tips on How to use Dilators Successfully -

Vaginal discomfort during sexual penetration, even if you desire intimacy can happen. In fact, it occurs more often than people suspect. Sometimes this means you need further stimulation to improve sexual intercourse, but for others, painful vaginal penetration could indicate a more profound medical condition. 


Often times, doctors and medical professionals in sexual medicine, prescribe vaginal dilators. Although medicines and surgeries are common too, but may come with some adverse side effects. Using dilators as physical therapy is medically proven to help ease sexual discomfort, pain associated with pelvic exams, and improve female sexuality. 


But using a vaginal dilator can bring up fear and anxiety too. You now have to use an unfamiliar device in already sensitive vaginal tissue. You may find yourself asking, Will I use it wrong? Can I cause any side effects? Does it really work? All of these questions are normal, and many women have expressed these concerns to their physical therapists and doctors. In this article, we give you seven helpful tips on how to use dilators successfully. 


1) Start slowly with your dilation

Many women need vaginal dilators because of issues related to having undergone pelvic radiation therapy during cancer treatment, going through menopause, or have a pelvic pain condition. Regardless of the reason for needing dilator therapy, starting slow is vital. For some, wanting to "fix" the problem immediately drives them to take on too much at once. 


The desire for pain-free sex life or even having a pap smear without muscle tension, compels them to rush into dilator therapy and spend hours each day trying to stretch and lengthen their vaginal canals. It's important to remember to be patient and start dilator therapy, knowing that it takes time, but eventually, you'll be successful. 


2) Getting into the mood - relax before dilating

Vaginal dilator therapy works best when you get into the mood. Try to think of it like having a date with your sexual health. While dilators are not a sex toy, they do help with muscle relaxation and improve women's sex lives. Some therapists recommend thinking about your ideal sexual experience and creating a mental space reflecting this image. 


Better yet, create an atmosphere with beautiful, relaxing music. Light your favorite candles scented with essential oils like lavender and chamomile, to further set the mood. Remember that success is a mindset, and before each session, create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere to help stretch the elasticity of your pelvic floor muscles naturally. 


3) Privacy between you and your dilator is best

Just as setting the mood is essential in female sexual medicine using vaginal dilators, so is privacy. You'll want to be in a place that feels safe and comfortable. For some, this could mean the warm cocoon of their own bed. Others may wish to have a designated area for dilator treatment, such as a special corner in a room with comfortable pillows and low lighting. 


Also, you want to make sure you won't be interrupted or feel like you have to hurry. If you think someone will come home or call while inserting the vaginal dilator, you might consciously or unconsciously create further muscle tension. Being encased in a private space without fear of interruptions will aid with relaxing your pelvic floor, so you can have the life you deserve. 


4) Practice the therapy every day

Easing pelvic pain takes time and consistent therapy. Perhaps, think about it like daily exercises for women. It's essential that you create the habit of dilator therapy. Even if you can only carve out a few minutes per day at first, using a vaginal dilator consistently improves women's health and female sexuality over time. 


As it becomes a habit, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time each week undergoing dilator therapy. Health care practitioners recommend women use the dilator 7-14 times per week. That is roughly 1-2 times per day. At first, you may only be able to use the dilator for a few minutes, but as you learn to relax and enjoy your therapy, you’ll slowly reach 20-30 minutes per session. 


5) Size matters

Another consideration for practicing every day is the dilator size. In the beginning, you'll want to start off small and work your way up to larger sizes. At first, a small size dilator might cause extreme pain and discomfort. Never go over a 3 or 4 pain level out of 10 when you are dilating. Some women ask how long it will take to move up in size? It depends on your condition and your bodies response, everyone is different. 


Some women struggle with even inserting a small-sized tampon into their vaginas. Wherever you are in the process, it’s okay. And what will help is practicing every day with the right size for your vagina. 


When you choose the right dilator for yourself, you might want to order ones with multiple sizes. Some kits from VuVatech come with five size options and complimentary lubricant. You won’t know what size is right for you unless you have the choice to try a few smaller sizes at first.

VuVatech also offers a lesser priced option of two dilators. You can pick any two sized dilators you want. For example, you can choose a smaller sized option and one larger one for when your vagina is properly relaxed and stretched.

 

6) Keep your eye on the prize - Less Pain

Women start dilator therapy for different reasons. For some, it’s vaginal stenosis as the result of pelvic radiation and wanting to have a healthy sex life again. Others have sexual pain or dyspareunia from vaginal atrophy. In the end, the reason for starting and continuing dilator therapy doesn't matter because the end goal is the same — a life without painful penetration.

This is why staying focused on the prize will help you be successful. It takes time and daily practice to slowly lengthen and stretch your vaginal tissue. You may also need sex therapy, where you can release fear and stress by talking about sex with a trained professional.  Remember to stay focused on healing and let go of feeling like it's your fault.

7) Use the dilator correctly

While the above tips help use dilators successfully, it's also vital that you use them correctly during the therapy. Therapy should begin in a quiet and private room. Set a time you won't be interrupted, then follow the following steps to ensure dilator therapy works the best. 


  1. Lie down on your back with pillows propped around you for comfort. In the prone position, bend your knees and spread your legs apart. 
  2. Before inserting, cover the dilator with a water-based lubricant. 
  3. Slowly insert the dilator into the vagina. The end is tapered to make insertion easier. It’s not about how far you can insert the dilator into your vagina but how comfortable you feel. As mentioned previously, take as much time as you need and only go as far as your pain threshold will allow. 
  4. Take slow and calming breaths to help ease muscle tension. 
  5. As you use the VuVa™ Vaginal Dilator, remain lying on your back. Try to leave it in for 20-30 minutes or longer before removing it. You can set a timer to make it easier to meet the time goal. 

Benefits of dilator therapy


While benefits vary from women to women, dilator therapy has been proven to provide the following outcomes when used appropriately:


  • Allowing for painless vaginal penetration by training pelvic floor muscle relaxation
  • Helping women overcome the fear of sexual penetration
  • Improved sexual comfort during intercourse by healing scarring from radiation therapy or from the narrowing or shortening of the vagina
  • Easing muscle tension and spasms associated with vaginismus
  • Allowing for the insertion of tampons
  • Improving comfort during gynecological examinations
  • Reducing pain associated with Vulvodynia
  • Helping breast cancer patients who have uterine scarring from pelvic radiation
  • Overcoming fear of intimacy for those with lichen sclerosus


Are there any side effects?


Using a vaginal dilator is safe to use. Doctors don’t recommend using them during radiation therapy, after surgery or during sexual activity. You’ll need to wait until your completely healed before undergoing dilator therapy.

Some possible side effects might be light spotting or bleeding after a dilator session. If the bleeding continues for longer than a day or is excessive call your doctor. But overall dilators are considered extremely safe to use. 


Where can I order dilators?


When choosing a vaginal dilator, choose one made from high-quality materials, from a company you trust. VuVa™ Vaginal Dilators come in graduated sizes and storage cases. You have the choice between traditional dilators made of medical-grade plastic or ones with Neodymium

magnets. 


Magnetic vs. Non-magnetic dilators


Regular or more traditional dilators have been used to help heal pelvic pain for decades. While most dilators are made from plastic, magnetic dilators only offered through VuVatech, use Neodymium magnets to help alleviate pelvic floor pain. Neodymium is a member of the Rare Earth magnet family and considered one of the most powerful magnets in the world.

In a double-blind clinical trial, overseen by Dr. Michael Swor, 80% of the participants using magnetic vaginal dilators, reported a reduction in painful penetration. Also, anxiety levels decreased significantly, and subjects expressed feeling much more confident about their sexual health after using the magnetic dilators. 


So while regular dilators are still beneficial for most women, magnetic dilators promote a more confident woman with less pain associated with vaginal penetration on the whole.

Additional considerations for using dilators successfully

When it comes to using a dilator successfully, there are some other key considerations to think about before and during dilator therapy, including:

  • Involvement of partner with dilator therapy to help them understand conditions
  • Reduction of vaginal lubrication due to menopause and/or removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy) may cause you to need more lubrication to dilate
  • Menopause causing thinning of vaginal tissues causing you to need estrogen therapy
  • Therapy or counseling for possible associated emotional issues 
  • Medications and surgery only when all other treatment options have been exhausted

 

Sexual health is an essential quality-of-life concern; improving that health is a top priority for many women. Vaginal dilators are an effective nonprescription method to promote vaginal health. With daily practice and a positive mindset, vaginal dilation therapy can result in the elimination of painful penetration caused by vaginal stenosis, vaginismus, and other medical conditions. Before using a dilator, ask your medical practitioner for advice.