• How do you use a vaginal dilator?

    Asked by katita on Thursday, November 1, 2012

    How do you use a vaginal dilator?

    I just got the COOL WATER CONES vaginal dilators, but I do not know what I am supposed to do.... My doctor recommended me to start using a dilator since I got my ovaries removed, no estrogen is produced and I am at risk of vaginal stenosis.

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • Beaner54's Avatar

      This has also been suggested to me but I have not pursued it.
      How old are you Katita? I suggest you call your doctor for instructions on usage.

      over 8 years ago
    • Ivy's Avatar

      I am not familiar with the brand that you have, but I can explain how to use them. My doctor said to use it 3 times per week until the first quarterly post-treatment checkup, or perhaps forever, depending on results from the checkup. There should be instructions in the package as well as a water-based, non-fragranced lubricant to be used with it. I have been following the instructions, and it's not painful--just somewhat inconvenient. My doctor explained that if you get stenosis, it would be impossible for you to ever have a complete internal exam or to have vaginal sex, so I wouldn't ignore if if I were you. The nurse at my doctor's office spent about 20 minutes with me providing full details and allowing for questions. The suggestion to ask for more help from your doctor's office is a good one. If they don't come through well enough, send me an email and I'll go into more detail for you.

      over 8 years ago
    • nancibee's Avatar

      Too bad. I just through away my instructions, they were but pretty basic. Use 3-5 times per week for. Water-based lubricant on dilator and opening. Insert. My instructions said while lying down or with one leg raised while standing. Keep in place 10-15 minutes. I Googled and they said do pelvic floor exercises but my instructions from nurse did not. Kaiser provides free dialators to patients. Nurse also told me if I wanted to, I could go to sex shop and get a vibrator or a prettier toy. Also warming jelly that is not sticky like the surgical stuff. In this day and age, I am glad my medical team does not ignore sexuality as well as the need to be able to make things easier for exams. The nurse also told me that less than 1% of patients who have had vaginal brachytherapy get stenosis but it is a good idea to use the dilators anyway.

      over 8 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      You are very lucky that the doctors care enough about you. I had to fight to get one and a nurse took pity on me and gave me one but her idea of the size of a man's erect XXX was, shall we say, small and distant from reality.

      Do not mistake a dilator for a sex toy. They are entirely different things and for different purposes. Your nurse is silly. The medical dilator is a hard, firm plastic or silicon shape meant to spread and hold tissues & muscles apart and keep them from contracting and to keep you from losing the intended use of your vaginal canal. A sex toy is not so firm and meant to imitate soft tissue and give a little thrill. How thrilling is it to be concerned about closing up your downstairs shop forever in this lifetime?

      Your nurse is also incorrect about her percentages. For whatever reason, this is something the medicos do not wish to discuss .. maybe years later when the gynecologists use the term "vaginal atrophy" as though it were something natural and common.

      There is a different item entirely which is used to keep the muscles active. A brand name is "fem-tone" and they are like weights to keep the muscles able to contract and to hold.

      Don't be embarrassed. Use the dilator and keep joy in your life.

      over 8 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Odd. Why is the word p e n i s censored? These are the problems we face and part of the reason the medical community ios so shy about proper instructions.

      over 8 years ago
    • Devon's Avatar

      I had a radical trachelectomy (pretty much half a hysterectomy) and my doctor also gave me one. It is very basic to use, no frills or thrills about it. It's more just annoying. I had to hold mine in because it would get pushed out.

      over 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm (Best Answer!)

      Hello, I'm an oncology nurse that specializes in gyne cancers so let me try and answer the question. First of all let me say that Cool Water Cones are the best in vaginal dilators. When you wet them they will auto lubricate so do not use a lubrication with this as it could hurt the surface. You will insert like a tampon and it is recommended to do this in the shower. Try to tolerate it for as long as you can but no more than 3 minutes. Some surgeries and especially radiation can cause the vaginal vault to decrease in depth and size. Using a dilator will help to increase the vault area to make intercourse less painful as well as pelvic exams. Wash it off with soap and water and once dry, place it in the fridge to cool it. This will help with the vaginal burning and dryness associated with post radiation. If you are not sexually active it is recommended for 2 years post radiotherapy. Less if you are active. All the instructions are on Cool Water Cones website. I hope I have answered your question, Carm.

      over 8 years ago
    • katita's Avatar

      @Beaner54: I am 29 years old.
      @Ivy: thank you for your response, I will contact my doctor's office and if I am not clear I will email you.
      @carm: thank you so much for your detailed response. Let me tell you a little bit more about my situation. I did NOT have radiation, just chemo, but the last time my doctor did a pelvic exam on me, he strongly recommended to use a dilator. And since you are a nurse, my questions for you are: Do I need to push the walls of the vagina with the dilator or just keep it in place for 3 minutes? and also I thought it was recommended 10 to 15 minutes.

      over 8 years ago
    • Cheryl2's Avatar

      Carm, thanks for the info. I am thinking I need this. Asked my surgeon about what to expect from intercourse, but she didn't recommend dilator. Guess I will ask at my followup in Dec.

      over 8 years ago
    • mjs24's Avatar

      I was not informed of the vaginal dilator. I am going to call my doctors office today to make an inquiry. This is good information! Thank you.

      over 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Wow, I had not realized anyone had additional questions so here we go:
      Katita- they are only recommended for a few minutes and although you can go longer if you have not been radiated, you do not want to risk additional injury. Also because they are cool, when inserted they will decrease blood flow to the area until they adjust to the body temperature and then there is the issue of keeping in too long that you create a pocket of warmth and oxygen that could allow a bacteria to grow so it is best to follow the instructions and just increase the frequency and not the length of time.
      Cheryl12: Some docs recommend and some do not but the website will give the info regarding their benefit. I cannot speak for any other brand but women seem to prefer the Cool Water Cone brand. Vaginal dialators are usually recommended by radiology oncologists but if you have a savvy oncologist, especially a gyne onc, they will know the benefit of a dilator as well. Best of luck to all and I hope you have a wonderful new year ahead, Carm.

      about 8 years ago

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