Discomfort and Resistance out of Nowhere, Help

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    Hello there, I’m Leslie. I’m a 23 year old female from the U.S.
    I’ve been dealing with undiagnosed vaginismus my whole life. I’ve been too anxious to so much as put a tampon in ever. And as a teen I never masturbated either, as I had an unhealthy body image all my life.
    Well, I’ve been working up to dilating for years, but never thought I’d be able to. However, about a month ago (April 23, 2024) I was finally able to get the first dilator in my set inserted entirely! I couldn’t believe it! It didn’t hurt or anything, I almost couldn’t tell it was there at all.
    In the past month I’ve been working hard with my dilators, and have been able to get all the way up to the fifth dilator inserted (4.5 inches) with success and only mild discomfort. I was doing it everyday and I felt good about it.
    Obviously when moving up a size I’ve faced some burning sensations and discomfort, although these feelings usually subside with more practice and longer sessions.
    Only, I’ve began to face a problem in the last week or two. After my last period (about two weeks ago now, I’d say) inserting my dilators has caused more discomfort than usual. Even the smaller sizes that usually don’t bother me anymore have started burning again. And I can’t seem to get past the third dilator because of this. It feels different. I will say, when I was on my period I took a day or two off because of cramping, but would a simple day break cause this trouble?
    When inserting I feel a lot of pressure and even resistance (like it really doesn’t want to go in). I also feel a strange sensation that feels like my bladder or urethra is being irritated? Perhaps I’m inserting wrong? (Although I’ve been inserting the same way I always do). There’s a strange pinching-like feeling when I gently pull the dilator in and out during a session. Did I hurt myself?
    Maybe I’m just overthinking things. Or maybe I did something wrong, though I’m unsure.
    I always, always wash my dilators before and after use with antibacterial hand soap and I let them air dry. For reference, I use the SoulSource silicon dilators. And I use Sliquid lube on my dilators, and it hasn’t bothered me at all.
    I’ve looked at my vaginal opening and it looks the same, though maybe a little more irritated? One of my inner labia (right side) seems to cover my entrance and that makes it difficult for me to check, is this the culprit? I really don’t know what’s going on here. I don’t want to backtrack my progress, as this is very important to me.
    I will be talking to my doctor tomorrow, so I’ll see what she says, but any suggestions or answers I receive on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
    By the way, when inserting I angle the dilator up towards my belly, not down towards my spine, because I read many different suggestions online, but it never bugged me before!
    Will it always feel like this? I’m in need of some help!



    Hi Leslie,

    First of all I want to commend you on such great work so far. Getting started is often the hardest part!

    I don’t think you have done anything “wrong” or caused any “damage”.

    Sometimes a break, even a few days, can cause some back tracking. And that can cause a negative loop with your mind body connection, causing some more tension, anxiety, and then the penetration is more uncomfortable or painful.

    I usually recommend going down a few sizes, and restarting the program. Trying to really get your whole body and mind relaxed prior to dilating, and using a size that you have mastered for a while, and then working back up. It could take a few days or weeks to get back to the size you were comfortable using before.

    Now there is always a chance that you could have some kind of vaginal injection, like a yeast infection or BV that could be causing some irritation or discomfort, so if you are speaking with your gyn, or having an appt, I would rule that out.

    Vaginal infections sometimes just happen, especially with frequent penetration.

    If you can’t get back on track with just restarting the program, then I would recommned an eval with a pelvic floor PT, or a specialist in vaginismus, like our office at Maze.

    You also sound like a great candidate for the Botox procedure, if you continue to back track every time you take a break.

    Hope this helps, keep it up!!



    Hi Leslie,

    I agree with Melissa! You have done such an AMAZING job with the dilators, I’m so happy for you!

    I think small setbacks are normal (coming from someone else who used dilators [with the help of Maze, ~8 years ago]). Maybe taking a couple days off or being in a different part of your cycle can change the sensations/etc.. I definitely wouldn’t be worried but it’s great you’re seeing a doc just to rule out a UTI or BV or something like that. Moving down a size or two in dilators would be a good thing to do to ease your discomfort and worry.

    Keep us updated!

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