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Dialators

Chris3
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2010

In the various postings, vaginal dialators have been mentioned by several different women. Here is my really stupid question: How did you know whether you needed a dialator? Did you set up an appointment with a gynecologist to check for tissue damage? I think someone may have mentioned painful intercourse, but I am not currently in a relationship, so I can't use that as an indicator...

Chris

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2818
Joined: Jan 2010

My radiation oncologist just gave me one on my last radiation treatment. He did not examine me, but told me how often to use it and why it was important to do so. Even if you are not in a relationship, you need to keep the vagina opened up, even if it's for nothing more than those yearly gyno exams. Vaginal atrophy is a very common side effect of pelvic radiation for anal cancer.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1250
Joined: May 2009

Hi Chris,

I was given a dialator by my radiologist, right after tx ended, and told to start using it in about 2 weeks. The instructions were to use it several times a week at 10 minutes a time. You don't want your vaginal canal to close up. I have not had any problems with that happening, and I must admit I haven't been using it as much as I should. When I do use it I am able to insert it rather far I must say. My last gyno exam was fine and the PA was able to examine the ovarys and there was no pain. Now if I had a boyfriend and regular sex, then that would be better, as that would keep the vaginal canal open. I know 1 poster said that her husband felt like he was with a virgin every time. I suppose that was nice for the husband. Just make sure you get a dialator and use it weekly, to make sure you stay open. It might be painful at first, but it will get better.

JDuke's picture
JDuke
Posts: 443
Joined: Nov 2009

Ask for the dialator if your Rad/Onc does not suggest it. Vaginal stenosis is a very common side effect of the radiation. I am still dealing with the issues almost two years later, intercourse is extremely painful. Better to use it even if you don't need it, than get in a relationship and find out that it has occured without your being aware of it.
Consider it preventative just like scans and exams.

Best regards,
Joanne

Chris3
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2010

The rad onc nurse gave me a flyer for a Womens Medical & Wellness Center associated with one of our local hospitals. I will give them a call and get a dialator.

Thanks everyone for your replies to my query.
Chris

pjjenkins's picture
pjjenkins
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2009

I still have a fused vagina and no way to have "normal" intercourse nor get PAP smears. It is as simple as that!

sissy310
Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

I was given one before my radiation treatment started and told to use it five minutes a day. The nurse said to try to use it as part of a routine, like flossing your teeth. I kept thinking okay, so now I have my routine - brush teeth, floss, wash face, take nightly pills, use dilator. Yikes. I have an additional issue in that when I had my hysterectomy and bladder repair over the last decade, they did the surgeries vaginally so there is a lot of scar tissue and damage already there. Hopefully the dilator will keep it from being more damaged but I guess there are no ways to predict that one.

Chris3
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2010

I asked for one before my treatments began and they said "Oh no, you would never be able to use it during treatment - it will be too painful." But, in reading some of the other postings, it sounds like after is too late - the damage is done.

Isn't it odd that there is no consistency on some of these matters? I hope you will be able to continue using it during your treatment. Keep us posted. If it works for you, I am going to call my rad onc and tell them that they should prescribe the device before, not after.

Best wishes to you.
Chris

pjjenkins's picture
pjjenkins
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2009

Chris,
I am sure that the fusing didn't start until a few weeks after the radiation. My radiation oncologist told my gyn that he couldn't examine me for a few weeks after the end of treatment because it would be too painful so about 6 weeks later he did and it wasn't too bad but about six months later the gyn had to do a D&C and told me there were adhesions then and two months after that, it was closed. I don't know why he didn't give me dilators then- I can only assume it is because I do live in a generally rural area and it was inexperience. If I were younger, I think I would have definitely sued.

Bottom line, if you can use it during treatment, okay but if not, I believe you have a bit of time but don't wait until it is a real problem.

Good luck... I am just catching up on posts so maybe you have written more - I hope your treatment is going okay.

Priscilla

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