When should I start using a vaginal dilator?

Surgery Patients: If you have experienced pelvic surgery, your physician may instruct you to wait until your incision is healed before use. Continue to use Cones exactly as prescribed. Your doctor will help determine length and frequency of use.

Radiotherapy Patients: Most women prefer to start using the Cone toward the end of their treatment cycle for cool and soothing relief. If you are not sexually active after radiotherapy, then you should use the Cone twice a week for approximately two-years after treatment is completed. Following this routine will help restore and maintain the size and shape of your vagina. It should also allow for more comfortable future vaginal examinations and treatments. Your doctor will advise when your Cone is no longer needed.

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Cancer Radiotherapy Side Effects

Radiotherapy to the pelvic area usually causes several side effects. These can be diarrhea, irritable bladder (or radiation cystitis), feeling sick, bleeding from the vagina after internal radiotherapy, and soreness and redness of your vulva or back passage.

Commonly, radiation therapy makes your vagina become less stretchy and narrower. To try to prevent or minimize this, it is important to start using vaginal dilators after your treatment. Dilators are cone-shaped objects that come in different sizes. You put the dilator into your vagina gently for 5 to 10 minutes about 3 times a week. This will stretch the vagina and help to stop it from narrowing. Dilators were historically made of plastic or metal and required lubrication and thorough cleaning with soap and water. Many patients found them prohibitively painful and often discontinued critical post-cancer treatment prematurely due to the extreme discomfort. With the arrival of the “Cool Water Cones,” hundreds of women are now able to continue treatment without the pain! Please let us know your experiences with traditional dilators versus Cool Water Cones – we would love to hear the feedback.

see http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/ for full text

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