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HealthSheets™

Dilator Instructions for Home Use

A vaginal dilator is used to help relax and stretch the pelvic floor muscles and vaginal tissues. This will help decrease pain with insertions of tampons, make physician exams more comfortable, and decrease pain with intercourse.

The dilator should not be used if:

Ø  You are pregnant

Ø  You have a vaginal/urinary infection

Position

Ø  Recline in a tub of warm water with both knees bent and legs supported

Ø  Recline on the bed with knees bent, head and upper body supported on pillows, and a pillow under your knees so you can relax your legs.

Method

Ø  Place a sufficient amount of water-soluble lubricant on the tip and sides of the dilator

Ø  Separate the labia with one hand and insert the dilator with the other

Ø  Keep the pelvic floor muscle relaxed and slowly insert the dilator

Ø  Pause if there is significant pain or resistance; allow the muscle time to relax

Ø  Continue to insert the dilator until approximately ¾ of its length is inside the vagina. The dilator will not fit completely into the vagina

Ø  The dilator may slide; once you have it inserted, place a rolled towel between the end of the dilator and the pillow under your legs- this will help hold the dilator in place so you do not have to hold it with your hands, and you can relax fully

Ø  If you are unable to insert the dilator to this depth, hold it at the depth you are able to tolerate with slight to moderate pain; relax and breathe deeply

Ø  Keep the pelvic floor muscle relaxed

Ø  It may also be helpful to perform some partial strength pelvic floor muscle contractions to assist in relaxation of the muscles

Ø  Allow the dilator to stay in place for up to________ minutes; remove early if the pain is severe. Repeat _______ times per week

Advancing

Ø  When you are able to insert the dilator fully for 10-15 minutes, you should advance to the next larger size and repeat the process

Ø  It may help to start with the size you are comfortable with, and insert it for 5 minutes, to allow your muscles to relax. After 5 minutes, attempt to insert the next larger size, and follow the method above

Ø  The time needed to advance is individual; sometimes, advancements can be made in 1-week intervals and sometimes it takes 2 or 3 weeks, maybe longer

Ø  Your health care practitioner will assist in deciding when the size should be advanced

Ø  Movement can also be introduced; hold onto the end of the dilator and move it slowly and gently in and out.

Points to Remember

Ø  You are in control of the dilator; go at your own pace when you are ready

Ø  Use adequate lubrication

Ø  Experiment with different leg and trunk positions as well as angles of insertion to find the best combination

Ø  Slow movement is usually best

Cleaning the Dilator

Ø  Wash under running water, using mild soap before and after each use

Ø  Do not use boiling water

Ø  Dry with a paper towel; store in a clean plastic bag

Please contact your therapist if you have questions or concerns

Therapist__________________________________________________

Contact number____________________________________________