Vaginal stenosis is defined as a narrowing and shortening of the vagina. Vaginal stenosis can cause the vagina to become less flexible, drier and more fragile, which can result in dyspareunia (painful sex) and discomfort during pelvic exams. Vaginal stenosis can be the result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy side effects in the pelvis or surgery around the pelvic area. It can also be made worse by chemotherapy.
There are a few ways you can soothe the vaginal area and reduce the side effects associated with vaginal stenosis.
Vaginal dilation therapy is a fantastic option for preventing and treating vaginal stenosis. Vaginal dilation therapy aims to gently stretch the vaginal walls over an extended period of time, usually weeks or even months.
Vaginal dilation therapy involves the use of specialised dilators, which are tube-shaped devices designed to penetrate and slowly widen the vagina. Starting with a small, tampon-sized dilator and moving up to larger sizes, the idea is to steadily become more comfortable with penetration and help keep the vagina open. Vaginal dilators can also be used with a natural lubricant to make the penetration process even smoother.
We love Soul Source’s silicone dilators, which can be purchased individually or as part of a set with several different sizes. Silicone is a soft material that resembles the feeling of human skin, which can increase comfort while performing vaginal dilation therapy. And the Soul Source dilators were created in conjunction with a gynaecologist and sex therapist so they are beautifully shaped and have an easy to use handle to make dilation therapy as comfortable and natural as possible.
Vaginal stenosis often results in increased dryness in the vagina, so using a dedicated vaginal moisturiser could help to increase hydration. Make sure to use a natural, pH-balanced moisturiser, as your vagina is a very sensitive area that deserves the best. We’re big fans of this vaginal moisturiser from Yes Lubricants – it’s made with organic food-grade ingredients and is dispensed through a handy applicator.
Estrogen is really (like super) important for tissue health and is one of the best treatments for dryness and vaginal stenosis. You’ll need to talk to your doctor about whether estrogen is appropriate for you.
If you’ve experienced any pain during attempted penetration, using a heat pack can reduce discomfort. Our TendHer reusable feminine cooling pad is a fantastic gel pack that can be used hot or cold and tucked in your underwear for direct contact.