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Vaginal Dilation?? Vaginal Dilation??

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Unread 07-19-2003, 10:22 PM
Vaginal Dilation??

Does EVERYONE who has radiation have to do vaginal dilation? Does it really have to be done for the rest of your life? Why do you have to be dilated?

Also, how do you know when a life chat re cancer is taking place?
Thanks, all.
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Unread 07-20-2003, 06:22 AM
Vaginal Dilation??

About the dilation, yes you will need to exersize the vagina on a regular basis. Either have sex often, 3 or more time a week, or use the dilator. This is true expically after radiation. Due to scar tissue.

About the chat it will usually be posted on the board about a week before the actual chat.
Unread 07-20-2003, 06:29 AM
Vaginal Dilation??

Hi there.

I also had concerns after reading about dilators etc. on this site. I don't know how usual my experience is, but I had 5 weeks of external radiation, and didn't need to use any such thing. The doc said this was because I didn't have internal radiation, also because "at my age" it was less likely to be a problem. (I never felt young till this cancer thing, the doctors are forever telling me how I am "too young" to have gotten this!) I am 40.
Also, the radiation staff told me that it was important to have sex for the same reason, but we didn't and nothing dire happened!

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Unread 07-20-2003, 07:33 PM
Vaginal Dilation??


It can be a little distressing to hear about the dilators. Most women are told that after radiation they need to use the dilator or have sex (or some combination) at least 3 times per week. Radiation treatments do cause scarring of the vaginal wall, and the scar tissue will continue to thicken and get tighter and tighter over time unless it is stretched on a continuous basis. Some women experience this tightening immediately; others may not experience it until a couple of months after treatments are completed. It is essential that the vagina be maintained in an open position because when you have a female cancer, PAP's and visual exams are so important to determining if a cancer is recurring. And once the vagina begins to close, it can be very difficult to stretch it back open and may require extensive surgery One lady had horrible scarring from her radiation that left her with an inch long vagina. She had a vaginectomy and reconstructive surgery. Her case may be extreme, but it can happen, so don't take your doctor's advice lightly.

While I did not have radiation, I had a partial vaginectomy due to abnormal cells. I needed to use the dilator to help stretch the surgical scar, and still need to make sure I am keeping active at least once a week or I begin to notice that I start tightening up again.

's Polly! As far as Chat, well, we don't have a pre-determined time yet, but we do try to post about a week ahead of time to give everyone notice. Hope to see you at the next one!
Unread 07-20-2003, 08:36 PM
Vaginal Dilation??

I am facing 6 weeks of external radiation, then 4 or so times with internal radiation. Sex 3Xweek sounds fun but, maybe I'm sharing too much info here, my husband is a quadraplegic and we don't have sex by penetratiion. There are other ways, though. So I guess I'm going to have to dilate.
What I hate is after I'm finished with this cancer stuff, I really want to be FINISHED. I don't want to have to go on taking meds and doing special stuff because of it.
Darn. Looks like I'll never really get away from it.
Unread 07-20-2003, 09:24 PM
Vaginal Dilation??


Different women work it out different ways. One woman who had young children said they were frequently too tired for intercourse, so she would just put the dilator in when she went to bed and then would get to do her reading for 15 minutes. Some women don't have a partner. The important thing is just to find whatever is going to work for you and put it in your schedule so you don't forget it.

As far as being FINISHED with cancer, well, I'm not sure we're ever totally finished with it. I've certainly made several life changes as a result of mine, and I consider them good changes, but I always somehow come back to the reminder of my brush with cancer. It doesn't rule my every thought anymore, but it is frequently hanging around in the background. It is getting better with time, though.

Unread 07-21-2003, 06:09 AM
A Small Price To Pay

After four years, I can honestly say using a vaginal dilator (or "slim jim" as I so affectionately refer to mine) is no big deal. I'm lucky in that from the outset, my radiation oncologist only required me to use it twice a week for ten minutes.

How much time do we spend talking on the phone, exercising, shaving our legs, flossing our teeth and putting on makeup, etc? I look it as just a small thing that has to be done to ensure my future good health. If this and my eleven inch abdominal scar are the only reminders I have that I had cancer, I am truly blessed!!

Keep smiling--

Unread 07-21-2003, 09:16 AM
Vaginal Dilation??

MoeKay is right... dialators are no big deal. I finished radiation treatment back in May and using it has become a habit.
As the lady said , a small price to pay.
I like the name idea... think I'll call mine Wee Willie!

Best Wishes Maggie.

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