Vulvectomy - vaginal stretching


In October I had vulvectomy in October with my lymph nodes removed and were clear and lucky the cancer has been removed with no further treatment required.

i have made a good recovery and saw my consultant this week and now can pretty much do everything but the opening to my vagina is now very small and I did bleed when the consultant did his examination

he Mentioned that I need estrongen pessaries and vaginal stretchers - please can you help me with where I get these from, I have looked online and there are many options that I found quite overwhelming to be honest - this was quite a shock to me as I was unaware that this would be an issue until now 

any help or advice that you can offer would be great...

on a completely different note I turned 50 last year and have not yet had a mammogram - most of my friends had their first one before 50 - I don’t want to sound dramatic but I am worried now I have had cancer that I am prone to it.  How do I go about getting one or should I stop worrying about it .

Thanks in advance for your help

  • Hi Lauraloulou

    Thanks for contacting Macmillan Cancer Support and welcome to the online community.

    Glad to hear you are recovering well following your surgery in October.

    We would suggest discussing your individual situation regarding pessaries further with your Clinical Nurse Specialist or Consultant. They are best to advise on what is safe to use.

    Dilators are cone shaped plastic objects that you put into your vagina to help stretch it.

    You normally would use vaginal dilators from 2 to 8 weeks after treatment to help prevent narrowing of the vagina. The dilators come in sets of different sizes. 

    You usually start with the smallest size and go up to whatever size is comfortable for you.

    For the first 6 months 

    Use dilators with a water-soluble lubricating gel at least twice a week and up to twice a day, for 3 to 10 minutes each time.

    Between 6 and 12 months

    Use dilators once a week.

    After 12 months

    Use your dilators occasionally as long as you are not having any difficulty.

    Breast screening was on hold initially during the pandemic, but the screening programme is now back up and running. However, with delays. If you are worried or have noticed any changes, please don’t hesitate to contact your GP.

    It’s only natural to feel worried and anxious following a cancer diagnosis. You may find this information helpful.

    We have a supportive Vulva support group that you may find helpful. Support from others going through similar experiences can make such a difference.

    The Eve appeal also have an online community.

    As well as the online support at Macmillan, Maggie’s also offer some emotional advice and online courses that can help anyone affected with cancer.

    Best wishes


    Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist