Home Forums Vaginismus Support Group Vaginismus Dilating How do I know when to size up? Reply To: How do I know when to size up?


Hi M12345,

Great question!

The dilation process is different for everyone, but for most women starting dilation, or starting a new dilator size will always cause some type of discomfort if it is stretching the vaginal opening and pushing on a tight muscle.

So it makes a lot of sense, that the first small dilator, caused some pain, but as the body got used to the dilator being in there, the pain dissipated. What typically happens, is as your vaginal opening stretches, and you get used to dilation, that initial pain you experienced with first penetration starts to ease. Sometimes it will go away completely, and with the smaller sizes, you might find that after a week or two, the dilator is no longer painful. For sure at that point you are ready to move to the next size.

However, in my experience here at Maze, especially with the larger sized dilators, your discomfort level with initial penetration might not drop down to a zero until you have stretched the opening a little bigger. For example, if you are using dilator #3, and it still hurts a little to insert, it might not be completely pain free until you start using dilator #4.

So….I tell patients, use each dilator for a minimum of one week. At the end of one week, if you feel that the dilator first passes with a pain level of about a 3/10 or less, I think you are ready to move on. If the dilator is still really painful, like 8/10, I would give yourself more time with that size. Try to use the dilator to stretch the opening side to side as well.

Most women can move through the small sizes on a weekly bases. When they hit the larger sizes, they often need a little more time.

If you feel like you get stuck on a size…that could be a great time to evaluate if seeing a physical therapist could be helpful. They can help target tight muscles in the vagina with myofacial release and massage work which can make dilation easier.

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions.