Tips on Starting Dilating

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    In a recent post, Dr. Pacik and Melissa at Maze Women’s Sexual Health shared tips on starting off with using vaginal dilators.

    Specifically, Dr. Pacik wrote:
    “If you are able to tolerate some penetration, start off using dilators and use them consistently as described in the book. A DVD on correct dilation can be purchased from Shellie.”

    Furthermore, Melissa at Maze Women’s Sexual Health, wrote:
    “I think starting with a dilation program is a great idea, and you can find several types of dilators on line. Here are a few types:
    Glass dilators: Dr. Pacik mentioned above, also find the dvd.
    Pure Romance: This is the set of dilators used for the botox surgery
    Syracuse Medical: These dilators are a hard plastic, you cannot sleep with these, only do daily exercises, but are a good and inexpensive option.
    Soul Source: they have a wide variety, and you can purchase individually, similar to pure romance, but are expensive.

    What further tips do you have here ladies for those just beginning using dilators or considering using them for the first time?


    With dilation, it is important to be consistent. Daily dilation is key. Set aside some time each night to do dilation and keep trying. If you get stuck on a dilator, don’t give up. Go down a size, and try again.


    This is a great post Cathleen. I dilated following my Botox procedure and, while I didn’t always feel like doing it, I kept a dilation log and this helped me so much to stay on track. I also could go back and look at this to see how far I had come from the very beginning and, again, it made me that much more encouraged and motivated on the tougher dilating days. In the past, Catherine also discussed the post-procedure logs, writing:

    “I could not agree more. Prior to having the Botox treatment with Dr. Pacik, I was trying to dilate on my own at home. For a variety of reasons, I found every reason to avoid / postpone / procrastinate with the dilating (eg: not in the mood, too tired, does not seem effective, not sure if I’m doing it “right,” can’t get very far with these, “stuck” in the same spot, progress stunted or even reversed, feel like a “crazy woman” doing this, would rather be relaxing with my husband/can’t let him see me like this, embarrassed, etc). As you can tell by my laundry list of excuses, there was lots of uncertainty, awkwardness, and negative self-talk involved with dilation. Thankfully, Dr. Pacik’s 1-2-3 punch reversed all of this. Now that I’m under a doctor’s care -with VERY SPECIFIC directions of how, when, and how much to dilate – the excuses have seemed to melt away. Plus, my body is cooperating AND my husband is completely “in” on the expectations and the process. Not only has he seen me with a dilator in me, but he even knows how to insert one in me. But, as you mention, Heather, perhaps the most significant aspect of Dr. Pacik’s “prescription”: the daily reports! Because I know that I need to TELL my doctor IF/HOW I’ve actually “done my homework” — I’m more likely to get the job done.”

    If you ever feel stuck with the dilators, please consider contacting Maze and working with them in whatever way is possible. Just like Dr. Pacik, they understand so well about what all of us have either gone through or are going through with vaginismus and they want to work with you to overcome.

    Helen Leff, LCSW

    Dilating does take discipline and that can be difficult to muster on a daily basis. It is helpful to find ways to relax and prepare oneself for dilation. Taking a bath and allowing yourself time to unwind can be helpful. If you get stuck, we at Maze understand. Let us know how you are doing.


    Heather, I love the idea of keeping a dilation log! You can track the progress you have made. I am definitely going to encourage my patients to do that.


    Excellent Cathleen. It helped me so much personally as I could look back on where I once was and track my progress over time and it definitely keeps you accountable. :):):)


    As someone who’s husband came home with a package that turned out to be full of different sized pink plastic dilaters instead of chicken as I’d hoped, I was at first quite nervous. I was given the task that while my husband was at work I was to each day do a set of exercises that would supposedly get me to have my muscles relax enough to greater sizes to eventually get us to actual sex. Now these pink plastic swords as I saw them seemed to me to be funnily coloured torture devices, but loving my husband very much and frustrated with my vagina for not being able to do something it had spent my whole teenagehood telling me it wanted to do with every flash of abbs I saw, I decided that I would try this “dilating”.

    Since being married my husband being the research fanatic he is straight away during our honeymoon had diagnosed and read up on my problem. While I cried in the bathroom about being broken my babe calmly explained through the door that plenty of women have it and that it is fully treatable. So a finger I did use, I hated it! Felt like like hell was pushing its way inside me, so imagine my reluctance when the pink swords arrived, the smallest one a tad bigger than my finger.

    I’m a week in, it’s not easy, it’s not fun, but I think I’ve made a breakthrough both physically and mentally. I’m up to the second size and I’ve become quietly optimistic, a little vibration and it feels almost soothing. Who knew that when I stopped making lightsaber noises with them and actually put in the effort I would start to see a bit of hope.

    So if anyone is thinking about trying dilating or already starting it, it can definitely work. I like to think as I pick up my pink sword that I’m going into battle, to conquer the cavernous realm that is my vagina and that with each small victory I am in more control of my body as a whole, now that’s gratifying.


    Thank you for sharing. I love your analogy off “the pink swords” which you are using to take control and overcome vaginismus.
    Feeling that sense of control will help you so much with dilating and overcoming vaginismus.
    Dilation can and does work. It does take both time and consistency but it is well worth it to most of our patients.
    Keep up the good work and continue to feel empowered!!!!


    I think keeping a dilation diary is a great idea – I did something similar, writing down how much I’d dilated and how well it worked, but I also combined it with a more normal kind of journaling – I wrote down how I was feeling emotionally about my progress that day, how I was feeling about my partner and his involvement, and what I was looking forward to in our sexual future together. I think this is helpful as it helps you reflect on your progress over time and forces you to analyze how your emotions are a part of your journey. Conquering vaginismus often means undoing years of psychological baggage that comes with the physical problems, and being open to the variety of emotions you’ll feel is key to recovery!


    Hi Natasha. I absolutely love your post and really, really like the analogy of the pink swords. I think it’s awesome that you have been able to begin dilating and make progress with them. And by sharing your hope, it is so inspiring and gives others on this same journey hope as well. Sending you my support today and keep up the great work!!!


    I loved Natasha’s inspirational and thoughtful post! I also felt immense relief and optimism when I was able to dilate by myself (Maze Women’s Health helped me get to that point) 🙂

    As for tips on starting dilating, I’d say to be consistent and don’t get discouraged if you’re not moving as quickly through the dilators as you’d like!

    When I got pain from dilating it was usually because I wasn’t quite ready for that size (or of course if I wasn’t using enough lubricant). I went at a slow and steady pace with the dilators and it worked for me. Watching TV while dilating also helped me relax a bit and not solely concentrate on the dilating/pain.

    Remember that whatever pain you’re feeling is temporary and it’s the muscles getting used to something they’re not used to (I’m not in the medical field but that’s what I think)!

    Also, I’ve tried a couple different lubricants and I like coconut oil the best 🙂 LASTLY, use of a vibrator also helped me with some discomfort!

    Good luck all and again, I love Natasha’s post & progress!



    I bought this dilatorsÅMÅZÕÑ&qid=1521642770&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=vaginal+dilator&dpPl=1&dpID=41ZbWQvH%2B4L&ref=plSrch

    And I haven’t been able to insert even the smallest one, do you think that might be for the time of dilators I am using and I should get the ones you recommended?



    Sometimes it’s difficult to use dilators for the first time by yourself; if you’ve never inserted anything, it may be worth it to go to a doctor or women’s health specialist that can show you how to insert the dilators.

    For me, I was unable to use dilators on my own so I worked with a specialist (at Maze Women’s Health clinic) who inserted the smallest dilator for me the first couple of times, and then had me do it by myself. It took some time for me to be able to do it by myself at home – the first time at home, I think I tried for 30-40 minutes before actually being able to insert the smallest one. After learning how to do it and gaining the confidence that I could do it myself, the rest of treatment was much easier.

    That being said, I was a difficult case and had never been able to put in tampons before seeking treatment. If you’re able to insert tampons but not the smallest dilator and/or you think it may be the texture, quality or size of the dilators, then maybe buying a different brand would help. But I know firsthand that getting in the smallest dilator without some outside help can be very very very difficult!

    Are you using any lubricants with the dilator?


    Hi Yami,
    How are you doing with the dilators you bought? – I have the experience that there can be lots of difference in which dilator sets you are using. It depends for one – how quickly they increase in size and how small the smallest is. And secondly from what type of material they are made.
    The first time I tried dilating I bough the smallest vibrator I could find – which was mad out of a type of soft silicon and not very stable – there was no way I could enter this one – it was a) too big; b) it wasn’t stable enough and c) it had this rough surface which caused way to much friction.
    The main thing I would say from my experience – don’t know how it is for other people – just joined this forum – that you have a set which starts with a very small size and increases slowly. The material should be made out of a hard material either glas or hard plastic, which provides you with a good smooth surface. This smooth surface and the rigidity of the material will make it much easier to enter. Sounds strange at first but it is true.
    Additionally you should use a really good lubrication. I am using “Deumavan”cream after a recommendation of one of my doctor: Its not a lubricant and I am not completely sure if its good to use longterm, check with your doctor. However it helped me at the beginning because it keeps the dilators lubricated for quite a long time and makes it easier to enter them. Compared to all the other lubricators I had tried before. My therapist ones recommended to use a layer of water based lubricant and than a layer of oil-based lubricant to make it slide better and keep moisture longer, I tried and I am not sure its much better – but it might work for some people? But it never was as good as this “Deumavan” cream for me. Any experience here, which lubrication works best?
    I got some dilators hand-made in Germany prescribed there, which were enormously expensive I think I paid like 180 euros for each single size (got three in the end), they were made out of plastic which is used for dental stuff and they are incredible comftable and quite good to enter:
    but I think they are too expensive if not covered by a health insurance!!! Which wasn’t the case for me – and slowed my treatment enormously because I just simply couldn’t afford to buy them at the time. I wasn’t aware (as I was never told or diagnosed with Vaginismus back than (like 10 years ago), they just told me that I had some kind of scar tissue at the entrance of my vagina, which would cause my problem and that either dilation or an operation would cure it) – that in the international world they are called dilators and are much cheaper to have. Now ten years later I tried again a treatment by living now in the UK my doctor actually diagnosed me after 2 years with vaginismus and after one year of waiting time I got to a nurse appointment in the woman hospital, which prescribed me quite a cheap set of dilators made off hard plastic. They are way more painful to enter than the other ones – but if you get over it it makes a big difference and it really works and it gets slightly better each time! They prescribe the Amielle Comfort here:
    and they recommend not using the biggest one its to big and not necessary. I hope that helps a bit. And I hope yours are working fine! – but I assume you could compare the smallest sizes to see if your set starts with the right size?
    I wish there would be more comfortable ones out there, which are affordable – but I am on the last one now – so I am not sure if I would like to spend more money in finding something better. Any experience out there which ones are best? How are the crystal delights they look quite good. However I am not sure how the shape makes the feel? Is this small tip with the quick increase easier to enter?
    It might be interesting to know that in Germany they recommended to leave the dilators in for 30 mins each day, which is possible with the ones they prescribe. Here in the UK they recommend to use them only for five minutes, I don’t think you could use the ones they prescribe for much longer and – it gives you much more lifetime back. How is it in the US, what do you guys recommend? How long do you use them every day?
    I am very puzzled why there are not better treatments in place at it seems to be quit “simple” to be treated it is crazy that people like myself suffer from this condition for so long. And that diagnosing it alone took maybe 14 years – I remember the first time I went to get a gynocologist being 17 to get the pill prescribed being with my first boyfriend. And I told her that I couldn’t enter a tampon if that would be normal. And she just replied don’t worry there are lots of people who don’t use them. And later I went there with my boyfriend being totally unexperienced, but we told her that having sex was very difficult and she just told us to relax and use more lubrication… So to everyone experiencing this – please don’t stop trying to find the right support. But I suppose when you end up here in the forum you already figured out what your condition is… I wish for the future that the condition vaginismus will be better known and quicker explained to people. I am glad to see that people made this forum here – very happy to see!!!
    I sent you lots of strength I hope you get through the treatment much faster than I do!

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