What is a vaginal dilator?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Vaginal dilators consist of a set of plastic round-tipped cylinders that range in size from small (with a diameter of about 3/4 inch) to large (the diameter of a fully-erect penis). A woman starts by resting on her back and inserting the smallest dilator into her vagina, leaving it in place for a minute or so, removing it, and then reinserting it. Dilators should be well lubricated. Ideally, dilator exercises are done in a comfortable place with relaxing music for 5-10 minutes nightly. Over time, she repeats the exercises with successively larger dilators. Trained physical therapists can explain the technique, but a woman can do the treatment at home at her own pace. The process effectively enables women to stretch and relax their vaginal muscles.
Vaginal dilators are tapered devices used to slowly stretch the vaginal walls of the vagina so penetration is more comfortable. Dilator sets typically come in a wide variety of sizes so that a woman can start at a size that is most comfortable for her. Often, women experience pain during penetration during and after cancer treatment. A vaginal dilator can help a woman progress back to comfortable and satisfying vaginal penetration.
Sexy Ever After: Intimacy Post-Cancer

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