How to Use A Vaginal Dilator?

Vaginal dilators are easy to use to gently correct issues with the vaginal opening. This guide seeks to give an overview into how to use a vaginal dilator. We will also examine some techniques to improve relaxation.

A graduated set of silicone vaginal dilators.

Starting Out

How to use a vaginal dilator in the beginning can be a stressful prospect. If you are feeling uncertain, don’t worry. The process is simple, and should never cause you much discomfort. Dilators come in graduated packs. When you start out, begin with the small size. Over time, you can work your way up through the sizes when comfort permits you to do so.

It’s also important to set aside time to ensure you can use your dilator in comfort and privacy. If you are more relaxed, you will find use much easier.

How To Use A Vaginal Dilator – Tips

You may find using a dilator is more comfortable after a hot bath, which makes skin more pliable. The easiest way to insert a dilator into the vagina is to lie down in a relaxed position with knees bent. A pillow positioned under your turned out thighs will allow your leg muscles to relax, and make insertion easier.

You may also find it helpful to warm the dilator before use. If you wrap it in a flannel for a few minutes (but avoid making it too hot) it will be easier and more comfortable to insert.

Much like tampons, some women prefer to insert them whilst standing with one leg on a chair. It is best to use  lubricant such as KY Jelly on the rounded end of the dilator.

Step by Step

There are many extremely helpful techniques to make the dilation process comfortable and stress free. Here are a few which should help you use your dilator set in a stress free fashion.

Relaxation is Key

How to use a vaginal dilator whilst staying relaxed is an important consideration. If the thought of the process is stressful, you may find it helpful to engage a technique called diaphragmatic breathing.  Take deep and relaxed breaths so that your tummy rises when you breathe in, and falls as you breathe out.

It’s important to be completely relaxed before beginning to insert your dilator. Engaging in a process of mentally checking your body for tension and consciously relaxing will be beneficial. Be aware of tension around areas such as buttocks, legs, throat, shoulders, and face. If you detect tension, mentally encourage those muscles to loosen and relax whilst engaging in deep breathing. Visualise the vaginal area in a state of softness and let it soften with every expelled breath.

How to Insert the Dilator

  • Using relaxed breathing, rest the narrower end of the dilator against your vaginal opening.
  • Gently insert the dilator, and then move it to a tolerable depth within the vagina. This process shouldn’t cause you excessive discomfort. If you feel some discomfort or begin to tense up, pause for a few moments whilst continuing to use relaxed breathing. Consciously relaxing the pelvic floor will help too.
  • When discomfort eases, continue to apply gentle pressure to the dilator.  Never force the dilator beyond your personal comfort. This should be a gentle process.
  • Once finished, gently remove the dilator and wash it before storage.

How Long Should a Dilator Session Be?

Aim for around 5-10 minutes each time for an effective session. When learning how to use a vaginal dilator perhaps shorten the time to help you get used to the process. Take small steps and build up the time frame if need be.
Things To Avoid During Vaginal Dilation

When learning how to use a vaginal dilator, there are a few things to remember: –

  • This should not be an excessively uncomfortable process. If you feel high levels of discomfort, you should alter technique, or look at ways to be relaxed during vaginal dilator use.
  • Make sure that you always clean your dilator with soapy water. It’s important never to use someone else’s dilator.
  • If you have a pelvic infection, or are recovering from pelvic surgery you shouldn’t use a vaginal dilator until recovered.
  • Slight spotting or vaginal loss is normal after dilator use. However, if you suffer heavy loss or pain, you should go to your doctors and get checked out.

How long does it take for a dilator to work?

Once you have mastered how to use a vaginal dilator, you should see results in a reasonable time span. Treatment with a dilator does not provide an overnight solution. It will take at least 3 months until any significant vaginal expansion is apparent. You may also need to use a dilator regularly to maintain its effect, even if you are sexually active on a regular basis.

Further Reading

Best practise guide on how to use a vaginal dilator after pelvic radiotherapy.