For some women, sexual intercourse is often accompanied with vaginal tightness, pain, or discomfort, making it an unenjoyable experience. Some women may find the thought of seeking help for such problems embarrassing or awkward, while others may be unaware of the help available to them.
Thankfully, these health issues can be improved with the help of vaginal dilators.
What is a dilator?
A vaginal dilator is a medical device designed to help expand the size and strength of the vagina and pelvic floor muscles, through therapeutic practice. Most dilators come in a set, consisting of three or five dilators, all of which range in size. This enables you to start at a smaller size, that is comfortable for you, gradually building up to the larger sizes at a gradual pace that is right for you.
Before starting to use dilators, it is useful to understand fully how best to use them. Please note that these are guidelines for general information about the use of dilators. Please contact your GP or Health Specialist to discuss your condition and understand the product that is best suited for you.
Why use a dilator?
There are many reasons why your doctor or gynaecologist may recommend using a vaginal dilator. Some of the more common reasons for this are:
- Vulvodynia – pain around the opening of the vagina
- Vaginismus – a tightening of the vaginal muscles
- Pain in or around the bladder
- Dyspareunia – experiencing pain during sexual intercourse
- Post-vaginal surgery
- Any change in vaginal shape following childbirth or menopause
- A feeling of heat or burning around the vagina
- Pain in or around the bladder
How to use a vaginal dilator
If your doctor or gynaecologist has recommended for you to use a vaginal dilator follow the steps below to make it as easy and comfortable as possible.
In order to start reaping the benefits of a vaginal dilator it is best to incorporate it into your daily routine, so much so that it becomes a natural habit. Try finding a time where you have some uninterrupted time to yourself to ensure that you are as stress-free as possible.
Prepare your dilator
Before using your dilator, ensure that it is fully cleaned. You can clean the dilator using warm water and soap but always be sure to read the care instructions for your specific dilator, as different materials require different care. After washing, be careful to dry the dilator prior to using it.
Take time to breathe
Find a private space and get comfortable, lying down on your back. Before inserting your dilator, it is best to take a few moments to fully relax.
Deep breathing techniques are a really good way of relaxing your mind and body. There are several different types of deep breathing exercises that you can do with various apps to guide you through the techniques. Once relaxed, your body should be ready to start using the dilator.
Lying down in a semi-reclined position is the one that most people are recommended. This is because it is an easy position to be in to reach the vaginal opening. If your muscles require further relaxation, try lifting one knee up towards your shoulder as this should allow the dilator to be inserted with ease.
You could also try lying on your side. Do this whilst lifting both knees towards your chest, gently inserting the dilator into the vagina from behind. To relax your hip and leg muscles, place a pillow between your knees.
When you are ready to insert the dilator, add some lubricant all around it to ease insertion. You can also apply some lubricant to your vaginal opening. If in doubt over how much lube to use, remember the golden rule – the wetter the better!
We recommend Yes Organics water-based lubricant which is gynaecologist recommended and pH balanced for the vagina. Water-based lubricants tend to be kinder on your skin and are also compatible with any material.
Insert the dilator
You are now ready to insert the dilator. Lying on your back in a semi-reclining position, bend your legs up in a way you would for a pelvic examination, and place the dilator at the vaginal opening. Continue to use your deep breathing exercises as you gently push the dilator into your vagina.
Once slightly inserted, continue to slowly push the dilator into your vagina at an angle towards your lower back. As you continue to gradually insert it, do so in a rotating circular motion to encourage it to move deeper into your body.
If you feel any discomfort or pressure, stop, and allow yourself to relax using your deep breathing. When you feel ready to, continue move the dilator into your vagina, going as deep as you can happily tolerate, or as your doctor has advised.
After each session, gently remove the dilator and allow yourself to rest following the exercise. Wash the dilator as previously recommended and return it to its storage location.
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