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More Vaginal Dilation Questions More Vaginal Dilation Questions

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Unread 07-22-2003, 03:49 AM
More Vaginal Dilation Questions

Hi All,

I saw the post about this, and thought I would have a go with a couple of questions. I have a 5x4x2 cm vaginal tumor that I'm being treated for. Treatment is daily radiation, 25 times plus the usual few zap treatments of internal radiation. Also I have weekly chemo (cisplatin) At this time, I have just completed my 16th radiation this morning.

My situation is that here in Europe, well at least Holland, vaginal dilators are not available. I did ask my doctor and she said use a tampon or buy a vibrator. I tried the tampon method and it was too drying and uncomfortable. I'm trying the vibrator method, but it causes bleeding and some other unpleasantries. (pieces of tumor come out with the bleeding) I did try to have sex, but it's not working too well either... but right now, with my chemo and radiation side affects I'm not feeling at my sexiest and am not up to it, it's very difficult to get in the mood for love. Gosh I feel like Goldie Locks looking for the perfect bowl of porridge. haha

My questions, how large are the dilators you ladies are using? My vibrator is not that big but perhaps in the end it is. Any suggestions out there would be appreciated.
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Unread 07-22-2003, 07:49 AM
More Vaginal Dilation Questions

Hi, Maria. Last week, I finished 28 daily treatments of external radiation. Tomorrow, I start the first of 3 internal sessions (once a week for three weeks). My doctor has discussed with me the importance of dilating the vagina. He's also mentioned that sex is really good, too. Though, like yourself, the last thing I'm feeling these days is sexy. With everything that's going on "down there", the LAST thing I want to do is invite my husband for a spin! I mean there's just so much that one girl can take!! lol

Anyway, I'll be talking further with my doctor about the dilating when I see him and will see if they provide me with a dilator or tell me where I can get one. I did do a search on and there were a number of sites available that give you a good perspective of what's out there. They're available in different sizes and I do remember reading that there's a difference between a dilator and a vibrator (i.e., that a vibrator should not be used for dilating). I also did a search on the American Cancer Society website ( and they had some good information on dilating, too.

I'm really surprised that dilators are not available in Europe. My doctor explained that with both the external and internal radiation, the vagina can become very dry and tighten up to the point where it will close up completely. Considering how important PAP's and follow up observation are, we cannot let that happen.

Good luck with the rest of your treatments. When I find out more, I'll let you know.

God bless.
Unread 07-22-2003, 11:12 AM


Let me know how things go with the internal radiation, I'm very curious about that as well, as I will need to do that as well. I have been told that I will have to do about 3 of them, like you. I will check the web site about what the dilator looks like.

Do you feel that the radiation has helped you? I think my treatment has helped me and that the tumor size has gone down, it does not feel as large… I wonder what they do if the tumor does not disappear altogether... do you have any ideas?

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Unread 07-22-2003, 12:11 PM
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I did use a vibrator (minus the vibration). This was one of my docs suggestions (he had 2). I got 2 different ones--one larger and one smaller and worked my way up. They were totally smooth plastic and cylindrical in shape (no ribbing, bumps, life-like forms, etc). They worked well for me, but again, mine was to overcome surgical scarring, not radiation, and I don't know if your requirements would be different. The other suggestion my doc had (and he said that some of the radiation people do suggest this) is to use candles and put a condom over them. I almost fell off the table at this suggestion, but he said it works well because they are smooth, tapered, and you can get them in any size you need while you are trying to stretch.

As far as what they'll do if the tumor doesn't disappear, well it's hard to say. They might opt to watch it and see if it grows or stays the same. They might opt to surgically remove it. It's fairly common anymore to do chemo and/or radiation for various cancers to shrink the tumor to a manageable size and then remove it. It's safer as there is less chance that cells will spread or that part of the tumor will be left behind. It's a very good question for you doc.

Good luck to you! I hope you find something that works for you!

Unread 07-22-2003, 01:30 PM
They Come in Small, Medium and Large

My radiation oncologist, who gave me "Slim Jim" (my dilator) at the completion of my radiation had a supply in her office in all different sizes. You'll need to use something like KY-Silky as a lubricant.

I also read somewhere about using candles when traveling, etc. I would suspect that the last thing most of us would want is an airport screener holding up a dilator for all of the flying world to see, and speculating on what it is! While it certainly doesn't look like a weapon of mass destruction, who knows what might peak the interest of an overzealous screener at the airports these days!!

Unread 07-22-2003, 04:22 PM
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Okay girls,
Here is what I was told about the dilator.
First off, the internals are not bad at all. Had 5 which I think is a record here. No big deal, but was scared to death on the first one. They cranked up the heat on the last one, butt crack took a hit, but is was fine after a couple of weeks. Try explaining that to everyone.....
Anyway, back to the dilator, vibrater is not the same thing. Dilator has a different end on it to keep open the end of the vagina. More rounded at the end. Was also told to make sure I got it all of the way in, biggest mistake is not to get it all of the way up, even if it is uncomfortable. They are also made of a plastic that resist germs.
It's not bad, just can't figure out where the batteries go.............
Unread 07-22-2003, 09:23 PM
I don't know whether to laugh or cry

as I read these posts....but I am glad I did. I thought a vibrator and a dilator were the dr's office (rad.) had a whole closet full of them. I didn't take one but when I have a follow up will do so...didn't realize how important they are...when it is so hard to be up for sex lately...!
Unread 07-23-2003, 03:10 AM
y'all are so great

I was thinking about the candles thing... I did some looking on the net and found that the dilators to me, look similiar to candles... might try that. And yes, it definately would pass security checks so much easier! lol
Unread 07-23-2003, 07:47 AM
now I'm worried!

As if I am not already obsessing over every little pain, now I'm
worried because no doctor told me to use dilater. I had only external radiation (anyone else have only that?). On first gyn follow up visit, he said everything was fine and "stretchy" so there was no need.

These posts have me really worried, especially as I see people are still using them for months and even years! I thought the problem was during radiation, and once they said it was fine, that's it. Why do you have to use them continually for so long?
Is there anyone who HASN'T needed to use this?

Unread 07-23-2003, 08:00 AM
Hi Esther

It seems that things are similiar for you.... since we live in countries outside of the US, things are done very differently. I can't imagine anyone in the states being told to use a tampon as I was. I will say that I have heard that if you do not dilate, it will close up... which will make it very difficult to have normal checks. I would suggest you use something... don't know if you are having any problems. I know that my radiation has been external so far, but I expect to have 3 or 4 internal soon. I don't notice anything, as far as shrinkage....but then again, I have been trying to use it at least 1 or 2 times per week.... I think I read somewhere, in some post... use it or lose it, so I have.


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