arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

Shopping Cart

Pelvic Health

Dilators for Endometriosis

Dilators for Endometriosis

by Dr. Barb DePree, MD

Vaginal dilators have been used to successfully treat vaginal pelvic conditions for over 75 years and with the recent advances in how these medical instruments are made, treatment is easier and more comfortable than ever.

People with endometriosis, for instance, find relief from various symptoms associated with the condition including pelvic tightness, pain, and discomfort during sex. To find out more about dilators for endometriosis and why they work, keep reading.  

What is Endometriosis?

When endometrial-like tissue begins to grow outside of the uterus, it can attach to, or wrap around, pelvic organs like the ovaries and fallopian tubes, as well as the bladder, bowel, urinary tract, and rectum. This abnormal growth of endometrial tissue is diagnosed as endometriosis and even though it can be painless for some, symptoms can be severe for others.

Common Symptoms of Endometriosis

Common symptoms experienced by many include: abdominal bloating, heavy periods, ovarian cysts, pelvic pain that becomes more intense before or after menstruation, and infertility. When endometrial-like tissue grows on the bladder, bowel, rectum, or urinary tract, patients can also experience pain while passing a stool or urinating, constipation, and diarrhea. 

What Are Vaginal Dilators? 

Originally made from glass in 1938, vaginal dilators are currently made from plastic or medical-grade silicone, with the latter proving ever more popular for its life-like feel inside the body.

Typically sold in sets of ascending diameter sizes, ranging from a small finger to an erect penis, these tube-shaped medical devices are inserted gently and used regularly to relax & stretch tight pelvic muscles, soften scar tissues, and relieve pelvic pain. 

In addition to treating endometriosis, vaginal dilators are prescribed by several healthcare professionals including OB/GYNs, nurses, pelvic floor physical therapists, psychologists, and sex therapists to treat several pelvic conditions like vaginismus, dyspareunia, vaginal atrophy.   

Dilators for Endometriosis: Why They Work

Although dilators are now widely available for purchase online, understanding how to use them correctly is the first step toward ensuring that they work. If you are not comfortable speaking with your general practitioner about dilator therapy, make an appointment with a pelvic health physical therapist or OB/GYN to receive some initial guidance on how to use dilators.

Once you know how to use vaginal dilators correctly, you can continue your therapy at home and gradually begin to experience the following benefits.

Reduced Pelvic Pain

First and foremost, dilators help to relax tight pelvic muscles and soften the scar tissue linked to endometriosis. This, in turn, reduces the pelvic pain that women with endometriosis often endure and also lessens the more intense pain that occurs before and after menstruation. 

No Pain During Sex

Over-the-counter medications do little to alleviate the pain some patients experience during sex. Additionally, the hormone-balancing medication that is often prescribed to endometriosis sufferers can result in vaginal dryness (atrophy), which only further contributes to painful sex (dyspareunia). 

The regular use of vaginal dilators and personal lubricant, however, has been proven to significantly alleviate vaginal dryness by increasing blood flow to the vaginal muscles and improving natural lubrication, both of which reduce painful sex and lead to a more enjoyable sexual experience.   

No More Anxiety or Fear of Painful Penetration

Psychologically speaking, vaginal dilator therapy is designed to gradually release the anxiety surrounding vaginal penetration that can be caused by long-term pelvic pain or discomfort during sex.

Once painful sex is experienced, penetration thereafter can initiate a psychological panic that triggers the vaginal muscles to spasm and protect themselves. This unintentional tightening of the vaginal muscles merely results in more pain during sex and ultimately creates a vicious circle of anxiety and panic at the thought of penetration. 

Starting dilator therapy with the smallest dilator, however, helps to steadily alleviate the panic and muscle spasms over time. As patients progress to the next size dilator the muscle memory attached to the fear of penetration eventually recedes until inserting a dilator similar to the size of an erect penis causes no panic, fear, spasming, or pain. 

Reduced Endo Belly or Bloating 

Endo belly, or abdominal bloating, can be made worse with overactive pelvic floor muscles, an accumulation of endometrial tissue on the pelvic organs, or constipation if the bowels are affected. For many, an Endo belly can be extremely uncomfortable by the end of each day, and surgery is often performed to remove endometrial tissue. 

Surgery may not always be necessary, however, and with the practice of regular dilation therapy, many women find substantial relief from Endo belly by relieving tight pelvic muscles and softening the build-up of scar tissue on the pelvic organs.  

For Best Results with Vaginal Dilators

According to pelvic health experts and the results of several studies, the two main factors that contribute to the success of dilator therapy for endometriosis patients are:

  • When the patient receives initial guidance from a healthcare professional to explain pelvic anatomy and detailed instructions on how to use dilators correctly
  • The patient is committed to performing dilator therapy for at least 10-15 minutes, 3 times per week, or more if prescribed by their healthcare professional. 


Reducing the physical pain of endometriosis is only one way in which vaginal dilators help. They also reduce discomfort during sex, as well as the psychological fear or anxiety that can build in anticipation of sexual penetration for endometriosis patients. In addition, dilators help people with endometriosis to live life more comfortably and regain confidence in their bodies.  

If you are suffering from endometriosis, your healthcare practitioner may prescribe vaginal dilator therapy to help reduce your symptoms. If not, and you believe dilators could help your condition based on advice from a friend or some research you’ve read, it is important to start with proper guidance from a medical professional before you begin using dilators.


Endometriosis Foundation of America – What Is Endometriosis -

Healthline - Vaginal Dilators 101: Everything You Want to Know -

National Library of Medicine - Low Dose, High-Frequency Movement Based Dilator Therapy for Dyspareunia: Retrospective Analysis of 26 Cases -

Science Direct – Vaginal Dilator -