Vaginal dilators - sources and information on use.

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Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
Ouch_Ouch_Ouch Member Posts: 508 Member
edited November 2014 in Anal Cancer #1

[I could have sworn that I already posted information about the Soul Source site, but I can't find it utilizing keyword searching. So, forgive any reduncy.]

The radiation oncologist's office gave me two 6" long dilators from Syracuse Medical Devices, a small (~7/8" diameter) and medium (~1-1/8" diameter). They are solid, heavy plastic, not hollow, rounded at the end, very smooth, and easy to wash. If you want to warm them prior to use by putting them into a glass of warm water, they will hold the warmth longer than hollow dilators:

* Syracuse brand dilators - sold individually or as a set of 4, 7, or 9 (as well as several other brands of dilator - see the right-hand column under "Pelvic Pain"): http://www.cmtmedical.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=124_125_130_133

* Another source for individual Syracuse dilators, 8 sizes: http://shop.parknicollet.com/Syracuse-Medical-Vaginal-Dilator/dp/B007EVED7E

* Soul Source Vaginal Dilators - they manufacture in the USA and sell colorful rigid plastic, and silicone dilators. They also make a line of dilators for persons who have undergone gender reassignment surgery. The site also has a great deal of high-quality information about the use of dilators for various vaginal conditions: http://www.soulsource.com/

* Article on "How to Use a Vaginal Dilator" by Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/resources/how-use-vaginal-dilator  A printable PDF version is linked to in the right-hand column and bottom of the page. There are links within the article for info on Kegel exercises and vaginal moisturizers that don't function. (I let them know via the feedback function.) Just type "Kegel" into search and a list of results will pop up to take you to alternative site links on those topics.

Comments

  • jcruz
    jcruz Member Posts: 379 Member
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    thanks

    What a useful summary of information.  I really appreciate the research that you do.

    Janet

  • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
    Ouch_Ouch_Ouch Member Posts: 508 Member
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    Keep on dilatin'..........

    My husband, the goofy wag, tells me that I'll have to work all the way up to size extra-extra-large Wink.

    Yikes! - it's painful just to look at this photo!!! http://www.cmtmedical.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=124_125_130_134&products_id=536

  • jcruz
    jcruz Member Posts: 379 Member
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    Keep on dilatin'..........

    My husband, the goofy wag, tells me that I'll have to work all the way up to size extra-extra-large Wink.

    Yikes! - it's painful just to look at this photo!!! http://www.cmtmedical.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=124_125_130_134&products_id=536

    Well, that gave me a good

    Well, that gave me a good chuckle.  I remember my rad. onc. asking me if I wanted to try a large after I'd been using the medium for a while.  My response was no way.  I'm not in a relationship and don't intend to be so all I wanted was to be able to have a not-too-bad pelvic exam.  That's easily done with a pediatric speculum.  I recently began experiencing regular tearing and bleeding and excruciating pain with the medium.  My GP and my gyno agree that the small will be fine if that's all I need.

  • jbug2
    jbug2 Member Posts: 73
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    thanks for posting

    Thanks for posting your research links on this subject, now is there an easy way to ease into the next larger size ...

  • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
    Ouch_Ouch_Ouch Member Posts: 508 Member
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    jcruz said:

    Well, that gave me a good

    Well, that gave me a good chuckle.  I remember my rad. onc. asking me if I wanted to try a large after I'd been using the medium for a while.  My response was no way.  I'm not in a relationship and don't intend to be so all I wanted was to be able to have a not-too-bad pelvic exam.  That's easily done with a pediatric speculum.  I recently began experiencing regular tearing and bleeding and excruciating pain with the medium.  My GP and my gyno agree that the small will be fine if that's all I need.

    Planning ahead.......

    jcruz - I so understand what you're saying about that awful, deep, sharp pain from using a too-large dilator against the fragile irradiated vaginal tissues while it seems not to matter, but it would be a shame to limit your future options. You never know when some one will pop into your life. I hope you and your medical team can find a way to normalize your situation. And mine. And everybody's.

  • ppaseka
    ppaseka Member Posts: 70
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    Dialators

    We purchased my wife a set if dilators from Dr. Laura Berman ' s website. There were four different sizes. 

  • jcruz
    jcruz Member Posts: 379 Member
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    Planning ahead.......

    jcruz - I so understand what you're saying about that awful, deep, sharp pain from using a too-large dilator against the fragile irradiated vaginal tissues while it seems not to matter, but it would be a shame to limit your future options. You never know when some one will pop into your life. I hope you and your medical team can find a way to normalize your situation. And mine. And everybody's.

    planning ahead

    Thank you for your thoughts.  Here's the thing about me.  I got a divorce 25 years ago, dated a little in my 30s and 40s and really have no interest in trying out that part of life again.  If some man fell into my lap then maybe this would be an issue for me.

    I had been fine with using a medium size dilator for over 1 1/2 years with no big problem but this summer something was torn and retorn every time I used it.  I felt like I was raping myself with it every time I tried.  I saw a gynecologist this week and she said she could see an irritated place.  I have only been using the small one for 3 months and still that place is bad.  Even the use of the speculum for the exam caused a small amount of bleeding.

    Not sure nomalization is possible.  Still thinking about how much effort and suffering I want to put into this.  The gyno said as long as I didn't anticipate wanting it have sexual intercourse then there was no need for me to make myself use the medium.

     

  • qv62
    qv62 Member Posts: 434 Member
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    Ouch

    I am having trouble getting past the medium so I was just given a lidocane cream to try, I'll let you all know how that goes once I am brave enogh to try.

  • eihtak
    eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member
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    qv62 said:

    Ouch

    I am having trouble getting past the medium so I was just given a lidocane cream to try, I'll let you all know how that goes once I am brave enogh to try.

    dilators.....

    Hi, this is the site I ordered mine from, and I believe it was recommended from Martha, (I apologize if wrong on that)........

    https://www.vaginismus.com/products/dilator_set

    They were about 45.00 and came in 4 sizes. While I did not start using until about 1 yr post treatment the smallest size was pretty comfortable and it was not long before using the 2nd, then 3rd. I never pursued going further and still use the 3rd size approximately every other day as sort of maintainance. I do use lots of water based lube (often Targets store brand) and find it most comfortable to use while in the shower.

    This company has other information available that may be of use for some, as although our situation is different than some we share many similarities in that area.

    katheryn

  • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
    Ouch_Ouch_Ouch Member Posts: 508 Member
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    Journal article.

    I just read this journal review article. Although research on the use of vaginal dilators is lacking, they recommend using them post-radiation. (They say that there's no evidence that using them during radiation is helpful. With all the radiation pain I had, I don't think I would have been able to use them DURING treatment.) There's a plain English version of the abstract if you scroll down.

    "Vaginal dilator therapy for women receiving pelvic radiotherapy" by Tracie Miles and Nick Johnson, 2014 - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007291.pub3/abstract

  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member
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    Journal article.

    I just read this journal review article. Although research on the use of vaginal dilators is lacking, they recommend using them post-radiation. (They say that there's no evidence that using them during radiation is helpful. With all the radiation pain I had, I don't think I would have been able to use them DURING treatment.) There's a plain English version of the abstract if you scroll down.

    "Vaginal dilator therapy for women receiving pelvic radiotherapy" by Tracie Miles and Nick Johnson, 2014 - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007291.pub3/abstract

    Ouch

    In the past I know I have communicated with several women AC survivors who received their treatment at MD Anderson, at which time prior to each radiation zap, a dilator was inserted, remaining in while treatment was delivered.  As for how effective this is in preventing stenosis, I'm not sure.  I was burned so badly, both inside and out, so I doubt I could have tolerated it.  Thanks for posting this info.