There are several things that might cause your body to experience a drop in estrogen levels, including perimenopause and menopause, surgery, pelvic radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Estrogen keeps your vaginal walls plump and flowing with blood. A decrease in estrogen can cause your vagina to become dry, fragile and sensitive. Vaginal walls can become thinner and drier and lose elasticity. Sometimes your muscles may even shrink. The result is a condition known as vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy can cause pain during sex (dyspareunia) as well as urinary discomfort and leaking.
While vaginal atrophy is pretty common, it doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. Vaginal dilators are incredibly effective tools that can be used to proactively treat atrophy, help relax the muscles and reduce pain.
Vaginal dilators can be used to gently stretch the vagina walls, preventing narrowing and improving flexibility of the tissues. Because they come in a range of sizes you can work up from a smaller size to a larger size over time. This gentle stretching can be incredibly helpful for women with lower estrogen levels as a proactive, preventative treatment for atrophy.
Vaginal dilators can also be used to retrain the body and vagina to relax when presented with stimulus around the vulva (known as desensitisation therapy). If you have dyspareunia or vaginismus, dilators can help lessen pain and muscle spasms, and help you learn how to control, and relax, your pelvic floor muscles. They can also help you warm up to sex if you’re feeling apprehensive or need to prepare your tissues and muscles!