Vaginal Dilators & Vaginal Dilator Therapy


This article discusses vaginal dilators, their function, and what vaginal dilator therapy is. Vaginal dilator therapy is a vital aspect of vagina health for women and something no one should be ashamed of. This process helps to keep the tissues of the vagina pliable and keep the walls of the vagina open and safe from painful narrowing, thusly helping the tissues to heal. Learn about dilator sets, how to practice therapy, and why this is such an important topic for women of all ages to empower themselves with.

A vaginal dilator is a tube-like device that is used to stretch and reopen the vagina. These can be prescribed or suggested for a varying array of reasons. Those reasons could be anything from menopause to surgery, surgery for cancer, or even vaginal atrophy. They are made from a multitude of materials from plastics to skin-like silicone and come in a rainbow of sizes.

Dilator sets become important when there is noticeable tightening or shrinking of the vagina. Many women first notice these troubles after menopause, or after surgical recovery from certain types of cancers with pain during intercourse, or attempted foreplay. These kits are made to help slowly re-stretch your most sensitive tissues to help your body function and help you to regain your sexuality and intimate life.

For years dilator sets were large, hard and made of bulky plastic. While these types of dilators do need to be firm, the outer material they are made from should not be something that is causing you pain, discomfort, or skin tears- which is what many reports from these hard-plastic dilators sets have shown. Now there are improved sets with options, real-feel outer covering that is made of a medical grade silicone safe for you and your delicate skin.

What type of dilator kit should I look for? Where can I get them?

Dilator kits have been obtained in many ways through the years. Some gynecologists and oncologists have these sets in their office and give them to those who need them. These sets are the “old fashioned” hard plastic kind with not a lot of leeway on use. A few pharmacies across the United States carry the same offered in office. In more recent years, many other adult-focused intimacy education stores and centers have begun to carry updated, easier and more functional dilator sets.

When looking for a dilator set, consider comfort, grip, and flexibility. Avoid materials that can cause damage to the skin or to fragile tissues after surgery. Think of you grip; this is something you will need to hold in place or figure out how to comfortably lay down and practice. Certain sets have wonderfully handy finger holes at the top which allows an easy way to keep hold of everything while doing your therapy. While dilator sets do need to be firm, they do not need to be rock-hard. New brands of dilator sets offer a little bend with each size of dilator. This allows for different positions while doing therapy and giving you some choice in how you carry your therapy out each day.

Two of the top dilator sets on the market are from our Reclaiming Intimacy line. The Reclaiming Intimacy’s Revitalize is a set of two vibrating vaginal dilators, one smaller and one larger for graduated progression. The Reclaiming Intimacy’s Rejuvenate set of three premium silicone vaginal probes are designed for ease of use, reduced pain with insertion after prolonged use, and they help to rejuvenate sore and tired vaginal muscles. With both of these beneficial sets, the vibrator can be removed if desired. For many, vibration can help to relax tense and tight muscles, allowing more blood flow and faster healing. For others, the vibration may be too much in a very sensitive or healing area. These sets also offer a very handy finger loop control tip which allows for complete control of insertion and maneuvering during therapeutic times.

What is vaginal dilator therapy and how do I get started?

You will notice in your kit that the dilators range from a smallest to largest in size. Some sets have three dilators, some four, and some ten. There are also specially sized dilators that are available to buy from special urologists and gynecologists across the country. When beginning your therapy, find the smallest size for insertion. The point of this therapy is to begin with the smallest, and slowly advance through the sizes as you feel your vagina begin to more easily accept and stretch to the size of the dilator. This ensures that your narrowing vagina can continue to heal and function, while remaining open and pliable. Doing this therapy also helps with the discomfort of pelvic exams and of course eases pain during intercourse which helps to empower you in a multitude of ways.

How to get Started

Many women find getting started with therapy alone and in their private time works the best. It can be overwhelming to begin this therapy, especially if you have not taken the time to become personally aware of your genitalia or sexuality. In no way is this a ‘dirty’ or sexually focused therapy. In no way and at no time should you ever feel bad about needing to use a dilator set to help with your own health.

To begin, find a quiet place where you are comfortable and relaxed. Personal bedrooms and bathrooms are usually top picks. Take some deep calming breaths before you begin and try to relax your pelvic floor muscles.

First, lie down on your back with your knees slightly bent and open to be lined up with your shoulders. Keep your feet flat on the floor.

Next, if you need it, place pillows under your legs, or next to where your knees fall if you open your legs into a butterfly position, bringing your heels up to meet each other in the middle.

Then, feel for the opening of your vagina with your hand and use a mirror if you need to. If you need lubrication, do not hesitate to use some. Depending on your set, you will be able to use a water-based lubrication like Reclaiming Intimacy’s Flourish or Lustrous lubrication with no frills, scents, or extra fillers. Some might even qualify for Reclaiming Intimacy’s Satin silicone lubrication, which is thick and silky, and perfect for those with extra sensitive skin during this type of friction creating activity. That said, some dilators will not work with silicone lubrication due to the materials they are made of. If you are unsure, simply ask! Our Reclaiming Intimacy Through HOPE team of experts is here to help. Put your finger through the finger loop hole to keep control of the probe.

Finally, begin doing Kegel exercises to help calm the area, muscles, tissues and your mind. Kegel exercises involve the muscles you use when you urinate and start and stop the flow. This is a private exercise many women do daily without anyone else ever knowing it is happening! Kegels are done to help strengthen the vagina, vagina walls, and helps with the ability to hold urine and have stronger orgasms and sexual response.

Inserting the Dilator

Keep breathing. Inserting the dilator is a reasonably simply process. You have relaxed yourself, applied your lubrication, and have your legs parted. Start with the smallest size dilator. Apply lubricant to yourself and to the dilator.

Step 1- Line up the tip of the dilator with the opening of your vagina. Using gentle pressure, slowly insert the dilator in to your vagina towards the direction of your spine, straight or slightly angled downwards; kind of like a tampon insertion. Continue to insert the dilator until you meet resistance, slight pain, or pressure. This means you have found where your dilator needs to rest for the designated amount of time for each therapy session. Your doctor will cover how often and how long your sessions should be. If you insert the smallest size and do not run in to any pain, pressure or resistance, attempt to move up to the next size and see how it feels. Not all women need to begin with the smallest size, but it is always a good idea to begin there regardless.

Step 2- Now that you have inserted the dilator into your vagina, begin doing your Kegel exercises once more. This will help move the dilator in to the perfect place, just where you need it inside of your body. Do not worry if the dilator does not seem to be going in as far as it should be. In time and with practice, things will open up and allow a deeper therapy and penetration. Repeat this step as many times as needed and apply lubrication as you need.

Step 3- Next, begin to push the dilator in and out of your vagina, which helps to stretch the length of the vaginal canal. Gently rotate the dilator in wide circles to stretch the width of your vagina, repeating at the back, middle, and opening. Sometimes women use multiple sized dilators during each of their therapies for different areas of their vagina. For example, using a smaller dilator deeply inside doing rotating circles, and a wider, thicker dilator on the outside opening. This is a personal choice and there is no real wrong answer, as long as you are doing some form of this therapy!

Step 4- When you have repeated the steps and taken all the time for your therapy, you can now remove the dilator and get cleaned up. This includes urinating. This helps clean the urethra from any bacteria that might have entered during your therapy- which is a normal, common thing that happens to many women.

Cleaning your dilator with special cleaner or using hot, soapy water and drying It completely with a paper towel is a must. Never use a dilator that has not been cleaned.

After therapy, you might notice a slight bit of vaginal bleeding or spotting. This is normal. You may want to wear a pantyliner if this happens to you. If there is more blood than a pantyliner can handle, you should contact your doctor without hesitation.

How often should I practice my therapy?

Your doctor will normally give you a routine to follow depending on the issues you are working to correct. In most cases, you should be practicing your vaginal dilator therapy three to four times per week, but not multiple days in a row. Because this therapy can cause slight discomfort, doing it repeatedly could cause pain and even more discomfort. When you are not doing your therapy, continue doing your Kegel exercises, as this helps too!

If you forget to do a day of your therapy, do not worry, just pick right back up where you left off. This is a slow progress therapy and will take a few months to see noticeable results. Do not get discouraged and remind yourself that it is all for your own personal vaginal health. Consider making a plan or scheduling a few minutes of Kegel practice each day and spend as much time as you can getting to know your dilator set.

If you are struggling with vaginal pain for any reason, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. If you have a dilator set already, you can begin these regimens before meeting with your doctor as long as there is no significant pain or bleeding present. If you have questions about vaginal dilator sets, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctors, specialists or our Reclaiming Intimacy Through HOPE specialists for tips on how to keep your vagina healthy and functioning.

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