In the United States, an estimated 80,720 new cases of gynecologic cancer will be diagnosed in 2009 and an estimated 28,120 deaths nationwide will be attributed to gynecologic cancer. These cancers affect the female reproductive system and include the cervix, endometrium, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus and vagina.
In an effort to increase public awareness about gynecologic cancer, Cool Water Cones join other organizations nationwide to promote Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month in September.
Gynecologic cancer facts
* On average, every 6.4 minutes a woman in this country will be diagnosed with a cancer of the reproductive organs.
* All women over age 18 should have a yearly Pap test (also known as a Pap Smear) and pelvic exam to establish a pattern of gynecologic health.
UPMC developed a website of resource information for learning more about gynecologic cancer:
Cool Water Cones are composed of a blend of hydrocolloids with GRAS food direct consumption status, not uncomfortable metal or ridged plastic like most vaginal dilators. There are NO chemicals used in the structure or manufacturing of Cool Water Cones. All ingredients in Cool Water Cones are FDA approved and made with 100% all-natural ingredients.
The cone manufacturing process involves enough heat to make the product bacteria free when placed in its vacuum sealed packaging. This assures a more sanitary product than reusable, washable dilators. Cool Water Cones are semi-disposable (2-week shelf life after initial use) and don’t contain hollow cores which can harbor bacteria and microorganisms.
Cool Water Cones are self-lubricating. No additional lubrication is recommended. Activate lubrication with tap water. The cone becomes extremely slippery while remaining chemical free. Patients comfort will be increased due to the cool gel like structure of the dilator. Many dilators must be washed with soap which can cause adverse reactions to delicate skin and may even damage a patient’s healing tissue. Cool Water Cones are flexible and naturally contour to fit a woman’s healing body. Each woman has a unique internal shape and radiotherapy, surgery, scar tissue and time can exacerbate the narrowing and shape change of the vaginal canal.
Cool Water Cones are over 90% water. As a result the cone will experience normal evaporation if left unsealed.
Dilators are very helpful with certain parts of vaginismus treatment.
When used properly, vaginal dilators are very helpful with certain parts of vaginismus treatment. Vaginal Dilators can be very effective tools in helping to eliminate the PC muscle reflex, the underlying cause of vaginismus tightness, burning, and penetration difficulties. Dilators help enable women to have precise control over the size, speed, and angle of insertions and provide a substitute means to trigger the PC reflex in a sex-like context. Together with appropriate exercises, as women consciously and consistently squeeze and relax the PC muscles with dilator insertions, they learn how to override the involuntary muscle contractions that had previously caused tightness or closed the entrance to the vagina to sex. The process helps create new ‘muscle memories’. Through the proper use of dilators, women can more easily develop control over involuntary tightness and simultaneously desensitize their vaginal muscles, body and mind to the sensation of having something in their vagina. This is all done as transition preparation for inserting the “real thing” (i.e. the man’s penis) without pain or tightness. Together with appropriate exercises, they help women retrain their bodies to respond correctly to penetration and to transition to fully pain-free intercourse.
Note that there is more to treating vaginismus then simply inserting dilators. Contrary to popular believe, the focus of dilator use in treating vaginismus is not to ’stretch’ the vaginal tissues or vaginal opening, but rather to assist women to gain control of their pelvic floor. Women with penetration difficulties related to their vaginismus often mistakenly assume that dilators are used to stretch their vaginal opening so that it will be larger, when, in fact, their penetration problems relate to problems with involuntary tightness of the pelvic floor.
excerpted from: http://www.vaginismus.com
Which size dilator should I use?
The small dilator is intended to begin penetration. It offers soothing relief to burning, wounded or otherwise traumatized tissue. This small cone also allows you to become comfortable with the concept of inserting a foreign object into your own vaginal cavity. Once you are comfortably tolerating the small cone, it then becomes time to move up to the medium size cone.
Our medium cone has more length to the dilator and the change to the width, although still gradual, is significantly larger. The Medium cone after being comfortably tolerated during penetration will be the cone intended for patients to use while performing routine maneuver exercises. It is important to eventually begin applying gentle pressure on the sides of the vaginal walls with the cone. This exercise will continue stretching the vaginal walls for more comfort during future vaginal examinations.
Rotation along with gentle in and out motions are especially helpful if you are trying to prepare yourself to return to being sexually active. We recommend the large cone for that stage of recovery.
It is best to work with your doctor to make the decision as to when each stage, size or exercise is appropriate during your recovery.
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.
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