What is a vaginal dilator? 

Pelvic pain
November 15, 2019
Emma McGeorge
Young_women_wondering_what_is_a_vaginal_dilator?

Vaginal dilators also referred to as vaginal trainers, are instruments that are inserted into the vagina that can be used to: 

  • expand the width and depth of the vagina
  • help the tissues remain elastic and flexible
  • treat and prevent scarring
  • train the body to respond positively to touch in and around the vagina
  • prepare the vagina for sex or other penetration
  • Relax or downtrain the pelvic floor muscles

Usually, a person starts with the biggest dilator they can comfortably fit and work their way up to larger sizes over time.

What types of things can vaginal dilators or trainers be used for?

Vaginal dilators or trainers can be used for a few different purposes. Here are some examples below.

Painful sex

People experiencing painful sex (dyspareunia) or vaginismus can use vaginal dilators to retrain the body to relax when presented with stimulus around the vulva and vaginal entrance (this is also known as desensitisation therapy). 

Dilators can help lessen pain and muscle spasms, and help people learn how to control, and relax, their pelvic floor muscles.

They can also help a person warm up to sex if they’re feeling apprehensive or need to prepare their tissues and muscles.

Menopause, cancer treatment and vaginal atrophy

Estrogen keeps your vaginal walls plump and flowing with blood. When a person has a decrease in estrogen (for example, during natural or cancer-induced menopause or if they’re taking anti-estrogen hormone therapy to treat breast cancer) the vagina can become dry, fragile and sensitive. Vaginal walls can become thinner and drier and lose elasticity and sometimes the vagina shrinks. The result is a condition known as vaginal atrophy. 

Vaginal atrophy can cause pain during sex (dyspareunia) as well as urinary discomfort and leaking.

Vaginal dilation therapy can help prevent and manage vaginal atrophy, prevent narrowing of the vagina, improve the flexibility of tissues and also help relax the muscles and reduce pain.
Radiation therapy

Vaginal dilators are commonly used for people with gynaecological cancer who have undergone radiation therapy at or near their vagina. 

Radiation therapy can lead to shrinking and scarring of the vagina, months or even years after treatment.

Using a dilator as part of ongoing post-radiation treatment can help prevent scarring and help the vagina retain its natural width and depth.
Vaginal reconstruction, vaginal construction or gender reassignment surgery

Some people may undergo surgery to build a new vagina using skin grafts. For example, people who have suffered a trauma or injury, people born with genital birth defects, people born without a vagina (vaginal agenesis) or people transitioning from male to female genitals. 

After surgery, the new vagina can start to shrink, close or develop scar tissue called granulation, over time.

Long term vaginal dilation therapy can help minimise scar tissue and prevent the new vagina from losing depth and width.

How to use a vaginal dilator

Before you start using a vaginal dilator at home you need to get advice and support from a trained medical professional.

Your doctor or specialist will be able to help you choose the right dilator or dilator set for you and give you advice on how to use it and how often.

Soul Source vaginal dilators has some general advice on how to use a vaginal dilator that is worth checking out, here

But again, we need to stress that it really isn’t a good idea to attempt vaginal dilation or training therapy without help, support and guidance from a medical professional.

Buying a vaginal dilator

If you’ve been recommended vaginal dilation or training therapy and you’re looking for a dilator that is not just effective and good quality but also beautifully and thoughtfully made, we have Soul Source dilators (which we love) available in our store.

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