Vaginal Stretching: Using Dilators to Keep Your Vagina in Shape

Are you concerned that your vagina is too tight? Is sex painful or uncomfortable? Do you have trouble using tampons or with penetration during intercourse or during gynecological exams? 

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. A tight vaginal opening or canal is a common issue many women face, often alone. Although this condition can be embarrassing and less discussed, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The good news is that there are safe and effective treatments you can do at home to reliably stretch the vagina, increase comfort, eliminate pain and have a better overall quality of life.

Who Might Vaginal Stretching be a Good Fit For?

Vaginal stretching is a technique that can be safely carried out at home with the use of a vaginal dilator (more on that below). But who is it right for?

Vaginal Dilators Are Commonly Used to Address Issues Such As:

  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Altered physical tissues from surgery, childbirth or injury
  • Scarring or damaged tissues
  • Physical changes from radiation therapy
  • Psychological triggers associated with vaginal penetration 
  • To combat hormonal changes affecting the vagina 
  • Increasing the vaginal capacity or length after certain procedures such as a hysterectomy
  • Improve vaginal capacity after long durations without sex
  • Retrain the body to relax when faced with physical touch, pressure or stimulation
  • Muscle spasms 
  • And more…

Vaginal Dilators

Vaginal dilators, also sometimes referred to as vaginal trainers, are smooth, tube-shaped, tapered medical devices similar in appearance to the shape of a tampon or dildo. They are available in various lengths and thicknesses to suit any body type.

For those living with vaginal tightness and discomfort, vaginal dilators can aid in improving the shape, elasticity, integrity and pliability of the vaginal tissues and associated musculature. In doing so, it can greatly reduce or eliminate pain associated with intercourse, tampon insertion, gynecological exams and more.

These dilators may further help to strengthen the pelvic floor musculature, while lowering vaginal and vulvar sensitivity over time.

Vaginal Dilator Therapy 

A type of physical therapy, vaginal dilator therapy is an often-employed treatment that is considered both safe and effective to improve symptoms and physiology associated with narrowing and tightening of the vagina.

Similar to other muscles, those of the pelvic floor can become tight and painful. Triggers ranging from psychological to physical can exacerbate this condition, causing pain, discomfort and an inability to achieve penetration. 

Types of Vaginal Dilators 

Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials, vaginal dilators have come a long way over the years, going from rudimentary medical devices, to comfortable and pleasant to use at-home therapeutic tools any woman can use.

Magnetic Vaginal Dilators

These dilators are engineered from medical-grade polycarbonate plastic and available in a selection of graduated sizes. They come equipped with various magnets that assist in gently stretching the vagina. Magnets may also provide synergistic benefits such as increasing the flow of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood into the vaginal tissues to aid with rejuvenation and healing.

Plastic Dilators

Plastic dilators were a once-favored material for dilators. However, plastic can be uncomfortable for some women due to its rigidity and lack of flexibility.

Silicone Dilators 

Medical-grade silicone dilators are a commonly preferred dilator for women. They are among the most comfortable dilators, offering a firm, yet flexible form, with a smooth and gentle texture.

Benefits of Silicone Dilators Include:

  • A softer more natural feel that resembles body tissue
  • Sturdy, yet flexible, contouring to your vaginal canal and providing just the right amount of resistance 
  • Better temperature control, enabling the user to both warm or cool the dilator prior to use 
  • Durable and easy to maintain 

How a Vaginal Dilator is Used

The wonderful thing about dilators for vaginal stretching is that they can be used in the comfort, quiet and serenity of your own home. This added privacy provides an additional element of comfort that can make the experience easier.

A water based lubricant should be used with the dilators to maximize comfort. 

Lay in a comfortable position on your back with legs bent at the knees. Begin by gently inserting the dilator using the smallest size comfortable without experiencing too much discomfort or pain. Repeat this 1-2 times daily, keeping the dilator inserted for between 20-30 minutes each time. 

As you are able, aim for a deeper insertion and/or a thicker dilator size. Over time, you’ll notice that you can more easily penetrate and maintain penetration of a larger sized dilator for periods of time.

When Might Dilator Therapy for Vaginal Stretching be Advised?

Vaginal stretching can be an effective therapy for a wide range of conditions and symptoms experienced by women. Although no prescription is necessary, many gynecologists and doctors prescribe such therapy with the use of a vaginal dilator to great effect.

Below are a few of the most common conditions that dilator therapy may help improve…

  1. Dyspareunia: Pain of the vulva prior to, during or after sexual intercourse.
  2. Changes to the Vagina: Morphology (physical structure) of the Vagina or Vaginal Canal can change with age, childbirth, injury, and hormonal fluctuations (such as with menopause)
  3. Vaginismus: Marked by uncontrollable spasms of the vagina causing pain and discomfort. Spasms may be caused by emotional or physical triggers.
  1. Pelvic Radiation Therapy: This common cancer treatment can cause reduced elasticity and a narrowing of the vaginal canal. Other side effects of radiation may include a thinning of the vaginal walls and the inability to lubricate properly, resulting in pain.
  1. Menopause: Hormonal changes (estrogen and progesterone) during pre, peri, and menopause can cause a range of painful symptoms that affect the vagina. Over time these hormonal changes can also result in dryness, narrowing and vaginal atrophy.
  1. Vulvodynia: Although no singular cause has been identified, this condition is marked by pain including an aching, tearing, burning or stinging and inflammation of the vagina. Pain can be either chronic or brought on by certain triggers. 

Final Thoughts on Vaginal Stretching 

For those who struggle with the symptoms of an uncomfortably tight vagina, finding the right treatment option can be a life-changer. At-home treatment with the use of vaginal dilators offers a safe and reliable way to tackle symptoms head-on.

Although not the right fit for everyone or every case, for those who may benefit, this treatment is both a practical and affordable option to explore.

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By   Dr. Amanda Olson,DPT, PRPC