After radiation therapy and some types of chemotherapy, the vagina can become narrow. This is called vaginal stenosis. A vaginal dilator will help you to keep your vagina open (prevent vaginal walls from shrinking) and keep the walls more elastic and stretchable.
It is important to keep your vagina open to reduce discomfort during routine exams and exams to check for cancer recurrence, as well as during sex with your partner. Even if you are not currently having sex or do not want to have sex, vaginal dilators are very important to help maintain vaginal size so that you may have less discomfort with pelvic exams and for intercourse in the future.
Water based vaginal lubricants like KY Jelly® and vaginal moisturizers like Replens® may be needed for vaginal dryness. You can buy vaginal lubricants and moisturizers off the shelf at most pharmacies (no need for a prescription).
Various treatments for endometrial cancer can cause vaginal stenosis, including pelvic and vaginal radiation.
What you can do
Frequent sex is a good way to reduce vaginal narrowing and keep the tissue lining the vagina elastic (stretchable). If you have a supportive partner, try to have sex often to help keep your vagina open (prevent vaginal walls from closing). You can use vaginal lubricant during sex for your comfort.
You can also start to use a vaginal dilator a few days after your radiation therapy 3 times a week, for 6 months in total.
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