Ask a nurse

Do you have a question about cancer? Our Digital Nurse Ellen or one of our specialist nurses will aim to respond within 2 working days.

vaginal dilators

Shelley2012
Posted by

HiI

I had my last brachytherapy for vaginal cancer on 4th January, I had issues with burns, still very sensitive down there, I'm using number 3 dilator which goes in ok, no pain when I turn it, all feels very smooth, I've tried number 4 but can only get it in about and inch and a bit, I dont want to force this, I'm.still tender around the vaginal entrance, plus my urethra is very close to the vaginal entrance, my real question is, how many days per week should I be using them? I'm using them every morning, I starred using them on the 24th January.

Would having sex help, we did try just after I started using number 3, but it was uncomfortable because it's so tender around the vaginal and again issues with the urethra being so close to vaginal entrance, been using number 3 for about 2.5 weeks now, feel a bit traumatised after the discomfort from.last attempt at sex.

Thank you

Shelley

Donna - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Shelley2012,

Thanks for your post. Thanks also for sharing your experience on here. I appreciate that’s not always easy to do.

It sounds like you’re still having a bit of a difficult time and whilst I’d like to reassure you that is normal at this point, it’d also be worthwhile getting your specialist team or G.P. to do an internal examination, just to rule out any infection. Sometimes this can occur & delay the healing process a little.

Once your doctor has checked how you’re doing, they can tell you whether it’s ok to try having sex again. Before attempting this, you may wish to read our information on sex life and pelvic radiotherapy. It has some suggestions for lubricants and moisturisers which you could ask your doctor to prescribe, to make things more comfortable for you and your partner.

It can take a while to move on from one size of dilator to the next. However, you should find things start to improve from here on. Internally you should gradually begin to feel a little less sensitive and this will hopefully make having sex easier. Having said this, I appreciate you found this traumatic before and think it’s the right thing to do not to force using the number 4 dilator.

Here are some up to date guidelines regarding use of dilators and the quote below is taken from these guidelines:

“We suggest that a reasonable duration and frequency of dilation may range from three minutes twice a week, up to ten minutes and twice daily.”.

Please remember though, that these are just guidelines and your specialist team are always there if you feel things are a little different for you.

 I hope this information is helpful. Please don’t hesitate to get back in touch if you need any further support.

Best wishes,

Donna

Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse Specialist