Vaginal Dilation 101
Pelvic Pain Disorder (Vaginismus) is a very real health issue that affects 5 to 17 percent of all women. Here's a few tips on how to deal with it.
“Vaginal Atrophy.” Could anything sound less sexy? It may not be a topic you care to discuss with friends or family, but it’s a serious health issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Many women experience vaginal shortening or constriction due to hysterectomy, scar tissue, aging and prolapse, resulting in pain and an inability to enjoy intercourse. (This includes anyone who has undergone MTF vaginoplasty.)
Thankfully, one of the best tools for combating vaginal atrophy is non-surgical and easy to use in the privacy of your own home. So what is this mysterious, and vaguely scary medical device? It’s called a vaginal dilator and if you are experiencing symptoms of vaginal atrophy you should be using one right now.
There’s nothing remotely high-tech or complicated about a vaginal dilator. By definition, it’s simply a firm, cylindrical object (a stent) designed to slowly stretch the walls of the vagina. So what’s the difference between a vaginal dilator and a dildo? Outside of the more clinical packaging on the vaginal dilator (and the price), there is none.
Vibrators also work well for taking the edge off dilation training and provide you with the benefit of added stimulation. Who says physical therapy shouldn’t be fun? Regardless of what type of products you use, you’ll need to choose a one in a suitable size for your needs. This can range from about the width of a ballpoint pin all the way up to a maximum diameter of about 1.25 inches.
Doctors recommend using a vaginal dilator once daily, for at least 10 minutes at a time, to gradually stretch the vaginal tissues and prevent further constriction. When it comes to vaginal health, the rule is use it or lose it! With consistent use, you should see an improvement in vaginal elasticity and tone.
How to use your Vaginal Dilator: Before you get started, you’ll need to use plenty of personal lubricant since your hormone levels may compromise your body’s ability to produce vaginal fluids. Lubricate your dilator and slowly insert the tip into your vagina. (Angle your dilator downwards, towards your tailbone.) Take it slow and if deeper penetration is too painful, STOP. There is no reason for the process to be agonizing.
Once you’ve inserted your dilator as far as you can handle, REST. Take a few deep breaths and relax for 10-15 minutes with it inserted. If this feels like a waste of time, partner your daily vaginal dilation with a quiet activity, like reading a magazine or book. You can also advance your progress by gently moving your dilator in an in-and-out motion, and side to side. Don’t try to push yourself to hard, or expect results within a particular time schedule since every woman is different.
Try to gradually work towards deeper insertions day by day. Regaining normal vaginal function takes time and commitment! In time, you’ll be able to graduate to a larger dilator or dildo and, eventually, even a penis (if that is your goal!)
Product Recommendations for Safe, Gradual Vaginal Dilation:
The Berman Center Vaginal Dilator Set – This graduated set of tapered dilators allows you to progressively dilate with 3 different sizes. The vibration option helps to take the clinical edge off dilator use by making the focus on pleasure as well as training.
The Tantus Silk Line – When comfort is paramount, the soft, yielding nature of the Silk’s medical-grade silicone makes your dilation exercises more comfortable. Offered in three sizes, the small 4″ version is ideal for beginner’s dilation.
Soft, flexible and extra-narrow in design, The Blush Wellness Set is one of the best Dilation products on the market. This comprehensive stretching program offers 4 perfectly smooth medical-grade silicone dilators for safe, gradual results.
While this Ohnut Set isn't designed for vaginal dilation, it's ideal for those with pelvic pain. These soft, interlocking rings are placed externally at the base of your partner's penis or on a toy to compress down and act as a cushion during sex - a simple and convenient way to adjust when penetration feels too deep!
"Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains..”
- C.S Lewis
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