Vaginal dilator

What is a vaginal dilator?

A vaginal dilator is a plastic or silicone form. It comes in many sizes. It is often about 4 inches long and varies in width.

Why do I need to use it?

When the vagina is healthy, it is stretchy and lubricated so objects can be inserted. A dilator can be used to keep the vagina open.

The vagina can narrow because of:

  • Age
  • Low estrogen
  • Diseases, such as lichen planus
  • Therapies, such as pelvic radiation

You must keep the vagina open to:

  • Have intercourse
  • Have vaginal exams
  • Insert medicine

It can be hard or impossible to insert anything if the vagina starts to narrow. If this happens or is expected, a dilator can be used to help keep the vagina open.

Dilators can also be used to relax the pelvic floor muscles. It is often used in women who have vulvar or vaginal pain where the pelvic floor muscles have tightened. This is sometimes called vaginismus, pelvic floor spasm, or levator ani spasm.

A specially trained physical therapist may help suggest exercises and stretches that use the vaginal dilator.

How do I use it?

  1. Wash it in hot water using a mild soap. Rinse it well before use.
  2. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and apart. Relax your legs.
  3. Place a small amount of the prescribed medicine or approved lubricant, such as vegetable oil, on the rounded end of the dilator.
  4. Put the rounded end into your vagina with firm, gentle pressure. 
    • Be sure to press the dilator to the point of mild discomfort but not pain.
  5. Leave the dilator in place using gentle pressure for about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the dilator. Wash it with hot, soapy water, rinse well, and let air dry.

Some women will be taught to do pelvic floor exercises with the dilator in place.

When and how often do I need to use it?

Use it at least 1 to 3 times each week. At times, you may notice a small amount of spotting or blood. This can be normal.

Call your provider's office if:

  • Your bleeding is heavy
  • You are concerned about any vaginal discharge or odor

Other ways of dilating your vagina:

Other tools that can dilate the vagina are a:

  • Vibrator
  • Finger

Where can I get a vaginal dilator?

Your provider’s office may give you a set of dilators. You may want to buy your own set. There are many places to order them. Ask your provider if you need help.

Vaginal dilator suppliers

Your provider’s office may give you a set of dilators. You may want to buy your own set.

There are many places to order these. They are common health care tools. 

Some options are:

Soul Source Therapeutic Devices

Ask the IRL VVD Clinic staff for a paper order form

Products:

  • Single silicone vaginal dilators in 8 sizes
  • 5 vaginal dilator sets
  • Rigid plastic vaginal dilators in 6 sizes
Ergoerotics - Where Comfort Meets Pleasure

Products:

  • Silicone dilator set (5 sizes)
  • Glass dilator set (3 sizes)
  • Vibrating dilator set (4 sizes)
  • Massaging dilator set (3 sizes, in sets of 2)
Vaginismus - Helping Women Overcome Sexual Pain

Products:

  • Vaginal dilator set
Intimate Rose

Products:

  • Single silicone vaginal dilators in 8 sizes
  • 4 vaginal dilator sets
Pure Romance

Products:

  • Sex health
  • Vaginal dilator set
Last reviewed: 
July 2020

Interested in using our health content?