| Tara Langdale

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Dilators for Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy, a condition often associated with menopause and aging in women, can lead to discomfort, pain during intercourse, and a decrease in quality of life. However, innovative solutions like vaginal dilators offer hope and relief. This post dives deep into what dilators are, how to choose the best one for your needs, and a look at the top brands, backed by expert opinions and study findings.

Understanding Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis, occurs due to a decrease in estrogen levels, leading to dryness, inflammation, and thinning of the vaginal walls. Symptoms often include itching, burning, and pain during sexual intercourse. It's a condition that's not only physically uncomfortable but can also affect emotional well-being and intimacy.

Experiencing Discomfort with Vaginal Atrophy? Here's What to Look For

The symptoms associated with Vaginal Atrophy, also known as GSM, are often uncomfortable and can vary significantly from person to person. Here's what you need to keep an eye on:

  • Pain or burning sensations during urination
  • Itchiness in the genital or vulvar area
  • Dryness in the vulvar and vaginal regions
  • Increased cases of urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Painful intercourse
  • Light bleeding after sexual activity
  • Unusual tightening of the vagina
  • Frequent urination or the urgent need to urinate
  • Diminished natural lubrication during intercourse

Don't brush off these signs; it's crucial to acknowledge and address any discomfort associated with vaginal atrophy.

What Are Vaginal Dilators?

Vaginal dilators are medical devices designed to stretch the vaginal muscles, alleviate discomfort, and facilitate easier and less painful sexual intercourse. They come in various sizes and materials, offering a non-invasive way to treat and manage symptoms of vaginal atrophy.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dilators

When selecting a vaginal dilator, consider:

  1. Size: Starting with a size that feels comfortable is crucial, with the option to progress to larger sizes as needed. Here is a size chart for reference.
  2. Material: Plastic dilators allow for magnets to be inside that create blood flow and help with natural lubrication. Plastic dilators are easy to clean. Make sure they are made in the USA with FDA approved material for your safety.
  3. Comfort: Look for dilators with a smooth surface to ensure the most comfortable experience.

Top Dilator Brands Reviewed

Several brands stand out in the market for their quality and effectiveness:

  1. VuVa™ Magnetic Vaginal Dilators: This brand's unique magnetic technology was shown in a double-blind placebo study to significantly reduce pain and discomfort for 80% of participants. Users experienced a 30% decrease in pain levels during a standardized tampon test, indicating a substantial improvement in pain associated with sexual intercourse.
  2. Other Brands: While this post focuses on VuVa™ due to its evidence-based success, there are numerous other options available. It's important to research and find the one that best meets your individual needs.

Using Dilators: A Step-by-Step Guide

Directions Before Using your VuVa™ Vaginal Dilators

  1. Wash dilators with a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Let the dilators air dry. Vanicream Bar soap is a good option to clean dilators with.

 To Get Started

  1. In a private and comfortable place, lay on your back and put both knees up with your feet on the bed (no wider than your hips) or lay on your side and pull your legs up with a pillow between your knees.
  2. Lubricate the smallest VuVa™ Vaginal Dilator and vagina canal opening generously with a lubricant your choice. IMPORTANT: Do not use petroleum jelly (e.g., Vaseline). Slippery Stuff is water based and does not cause irritation. Keep all the dilators within reach.
  3. Finding the right size VuVa™ Vaginal Dilator can be tricky. If you find that you can only tolerate the tip going inside when using the smallest dilator, that’s ok and is not uncommon. However, if that is the case, it may be best that you start with the exercises (See the instructions below). Please do not force the dilator inside.
  4. Using gentle pressure, insert the smaller round end of the smallest dilator into your vagina. Make sure that the dilator shaft is inserted as deeply as is comfortable for you. Do not insert entire dilator -- leave the larger, round, flat end outside of vaginal opening.
  5. If there’s no discomfort (you can put the little one inside, squeeze and let go around it on the inside like you’re holding back gas and pee and take it out without any pain or irritation – not even a little bit), you need to use the next size bigger.
  6. You’re looking for minimal pain when you put the dilator in the vagina (pain level not more than a 1-2/10, with 0/10 being no pain and 10/10 the worst pain ever) —the type that you might just describe as “annoying” or “uncomfortable.” Moderate pain (pain levels 4-6/10) is too much, and severe pain (pain levels 7-10) should be avoided.
  7. Once you’ve found the proper size, please use your dilator 5-20 minutes twice/day. When you can actively insert and remove the dilator as well as contract and relax around it with no discomfort, move up to the next size.

IMPORTANT - WOMEN: Do not walk around with dilator inserted. Do not use dilators during sexual intercourse. Do not sleep with dilator inserted.

  1. Wash the vaginal dilators after use with mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Let them air dry. (2)

Use a VuVa™ Vaginal Dilator comparable to your partners size 20 minutes before intercourse to relax tight muscles and bring blood flow to the area. You have now created a relaxed environment for penetration. 

How much will I need to use my dilator when I reach my desired size?

Everyone is different. You need to be having intercourse or dilating to keep the muscles from atrophying as you get older. If you are having intercourse without pain more frequently, you might not need to dilate as much, or at all. Your body will let you know if you need to continue, and how much you need. Some have more severe atrophy than others, so let your body guide you. If you have Vaginismus/Vulvodynia nerve pain or tightness, you might have to use it every time before intercourse, but some others may not need to use it at all once the pain subsides. Everyone has different nerve pain pathways and triggers that cause good and bad days. Let your body tell you how much you need to dilate for your maintenance program. 

Tips for Long-Term Success

Beyond dilator therapy, consider:

  • Pelvic Floor Therapy: Regular visits with a pelvic floor therapist can help with atrophic vaginitis.
  • Additional Treatments: Discuss other treatments like estrogen therapy with your healthcare provider.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keep in touch with your healthcare provider to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

Expert Opinions

The Mayo Clinic highlights the importance of vaginal dilators in treating atrophy, stating, "If painful sex is a concern, vaginal dilators may relieve vaginal discomfort by stretching the vagina." They recommend dilators as an effective nonhormonal treatment option, possibly in addition to estrogen therapy for severe symptoms. (1)


Vaginal atrophy doesn't have to define your sexual health or diminish your quality of life. With the right dilator, a consistent routine, and support from healthcare professionals, you can reclaim comfort and confidence. The VuVa™ Magnetic Vaginal Dilators study offers promising evidence that with the right approach, pain and discomfort can be significantly reduced, leading to a more positive outlook on sexual health.

Whether you're exploring dilator therapy for the first time or looking to switch brands, remember that you're taking a powerful step towards better vaginal health.


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-atrophy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352294
  2. https://www.vuvatech.com/pages/vaginal-dilator-how-to-use

Other Dilator Helpful Links:

VuVa Dilators on Netflix!

Well what a surprise!!! A few years back we received an email from the props department on the Sex Education show on Netflix. They asked if we could send them a vaginal dilator set for their show. We couldn't say yes fast enough! 

Checkout Sex Education on Netflix: Season 2 Episode 8