Hey ladies, Emily here. Today we’re talking about vaginal dilators…what they are, who might need them, why we use them, etc.

If you aren’t familiar with vaginal dilators, this is what they look like. We usually recommend the brand Intimate Rose which are the ones pictured (woman, PT owned company).

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As you can see, there are several sizing options when it comes to dilators, so if Amy or I think that this would be a useful tool for you, we will talk about which size we recommend.

Some reasons we may prescribe dilators are: pain with penetration, unable to tolerate different widths/depths of insertions, preparation/warm-up before having penetrative sex, training your nervous system and vagina to be comfortable with penetration, etc. There is another device called a pelvic wand that we usually prescribe to specifically target pelvic floor muscle tension since it’s curved and can reach in all of the nooks and crannies (more on this in the next Wellness Wednesday email).

With any device, the key is to go slow. If you’re someone who is already experiencing pain with penetration, the last thing we want to do is set off the fire alarm in your brain when using a dilator and flare your nervous system. I usually tell patients to start with a size smaller than what they think they can tolerate. On day 1, maybe you just touch the dilator to the outside of your vaginal opening or labia. Maybe day 2, you can insert the tip and taking deep diaphragmatic breaths. Maybe day 3, you can insert further while maintaining those deep calming breaths. Once you can tolerate that size completely inserted, experiencing no pain, can move the dilator in different motions, and feel comfortable–time to move to the next size. Your time frame might be completely different than the one I just outlined…dilators are not a “quick fix”, and usually take a several month long commitment of using them regularly (like 3-4x a week).

Here is a video one of our past PTs made about how to use dilators! If you have any questions after reading this email and watching the video, be sure to reach out to us.

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