What Are Dilators and How Do They Work?
What Are Dilators?
Vaginal dilators, sometimes referred to as vaginal trainers or pelvic floor trainers, are a common tool used in pelvic floor therapy to restore healthy pelvic floor function and decrease pain and tension.
Dilators have a tube or cylinder-shaped shaft with a rounded or cone-shaped end and are typically made of silicone or hard plastic. They usually come in sets of varying sizes and widths to assist in lengthening the vaginal soft tissue over time.
How Do Dilators Work?
Dilators work to improve tolerance to touch, stretch, and penetration by relaxing muscles and calming the nervous system. As a dilator assists in increasing tissue flexibility, a larger dilator may be used until the desired outcome is achieved.
It is best to start dilator therapy with the smallest dilator in your kit and then progress in size as able, based on comfort.
Why Use Dilators?
Vaginal dilators can be used as part of a pelvic therapy program for individuals that suffer from painful penetration or vaginal discomfort. Common diagnoses that identify a person may benefit from dilator training include: Vaginismus, Vulvodynia, painful or restricted scar tissue, Vaginal Atrophy, Vaginal Stenosis, Dyspareunia, Post Radiation or Cancer Treatment, and general pelvic floor tension.
Read Pelvic Pain and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Conditions to learn more.
VWELL Dilator 5-Piece Set
IntiMD offers a dilator trainer set from their VWELL collection made from extra soft, body safe, medical grade silicone. These dilators also have a tapered body for easy handling and comfort for dilator therapy and personal use.
The VWELL Dilator Set (Also available on Amazon) comes with five progressing dilator sizes, which are used to gradually expand and/or desensitize the tissue. This encourages increased tolerance for gynecological exams, use of tampons, and sexual activity, including vaginal penetration. The dilators can also alleviate scar tissue tension and sensitivity that can be a result of pelvic trauma as well as vaginal birth.
The VWELL Dilator SET offers the longest dilators on the market and also includes a Patent-Pending Hands-Free Suction Base Design for improved flexibility and diversity of use. This set is also available on Amazon!
How to Use Dilators?
Before beginning a new vaginal dilator training or therapy program always consult a pelvic medical professional. A medical professional such as a Pelvic Physical Therapist can create an individualized training program to enhance treatment outcomes.
A general vaginal dilator training program consists of using your dilators 3 to 5 times per week for 10-20 minutes and should always include breath work. Breathing is directly related to our pelvic floor movement and is important to be aware of as you use your dilators. Staying calm and focusing on your breath will improve the outcome and use of the dilators. Learn more with How to Use Dilators.
Throughout a vaginal training session you should be relaxed and have very minimal to zero pain and discomfort. Using dilators may become painful if they are inserted too far or if an incorrect size is used. If this happens, stop and breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes then continue.
Always start with the smallest dilator first and consult your pelvic physical therapist or pelvic medical professional for further instruction. The use of a dilator should be completely pain free and comfortable before progressing to a larger size. Continue to How to Use Dilators for step by step instructions.
For more information on vaginal dilators, how to use dilators, pelvic pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, and how to alleviate pain and improve your pelvic health, continue to browse the dilators section of the IntiMD website.
Post written by Dr. Cassandra Sharp PT, DPT
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