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Handmade Dilators for Vaginal Well-Being

Dilators for Vaginal Well-Being - Sh! Women's Store

PLEASE NOTE: We really advise against self-diagnosis - please don't do it. We know how difficult it can be to reach out and how lonely, scary or plain embarrassing it can feel. But getting the right treatment for you is super important, so please reach out to your doctor/nurse for the correct diagnosis.

Read on for our advice on using dilators for vaginal well-being. 

What Are Vaginal Dilators?

Vaginal dilators are a set of size-graded 'trainers' which are designed to gently, and over time, stretch vaginal tissue to help those who experience pain with vaginal penetration.

They can also help with learning to relax and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

As the vaginal tissues become more flexible, and you become more relaxed with the sensation, used to the sensation, you can begin using wider dilators to become progressively more comfortable with larger sizes.

Sh! vaginal dilators are made from silicone, which is soft and pliable. This makes them more body-friendly compared to the plastic versions available on the NHS. Silicone is hypoallergenic and free from latex and phthalates. It’s the best, safest material for any health products that will go on or in your body. Silicone is waterproof and quickly warms up to body temperature.

Each Sh! dilator is handmade here in London and takes about 2 days to complete, from start to finish. Our dilators have tapered tips for easier insertion and a space for a vibrating bullet, which is included when you buy a dilator from Sh!

Vibration can be helpful during vaginal dilation for two reasons:

  1. Vibration can help relax tense nerve endings, making dilation easier.
  2. Vibration can be intensely pleasurable, which makes dilation easier and even enjoyable. (Read Dilation is Doable by the Vaginismus Network here).

The bullet is rechargeable with a USB cable (included) and offers 10 different patterns to explore. As the bullet is removable, you can use it for clitoral stimulation before dilation, for example.

Sh! dilators can be purchased as a set of 4 progressive sizes, or individually, depending upon your needs. The smaller dilator is about the size of a pinkie finger (13mm) and the largest is the size of 1.5 fingers (25mm)

Dilators for Vaginismus

One of the most common uses for dilators is for the treatment of Vaginismus. Vaginismus is the term used to describe recurrent or persistent involuntary tightening of muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted. As well as impeding penetrative sex, Vaginismus can painfully interfere with regular gynaecological examinations, the use of tampons and period cups, or even childbirth. 

Many health professionals and therapists recommend using Sh! dilators as part of the physical treatment of Vaginismus, but as it's a complex psychosomatic condition, there needs to be talking therapy along with dilating, in order for Vaginismus to be treated effectively.

We have created a dedicated website all about Vaginismus, which will tell you more and give links to therapists who work with Vaginismus issues.

Vaginal Dilators After Radiation

External or internal radiotherapy to the pelvis area can cause inflammation and scar tissue in the vagina. If this happens, the vagina becomes dry, sore and less stretchy, making gynaecological examinations and/or intercourse difficult or even impossible. 

Your care team may advise you to start using vaginal dilators after your treatment is finished. This helps prevent vaginal stenosis by breaking down scar tissue and stretching the walls of the vagina to keep it more open. This is important for medical exams and also your future sex life (if penetration is something you enjoy or think you will enjoy in the future).

Always follow the instructions about vaginal dilation given to you by your health care team.

Dilators for Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) is the thinning of the vaginal walls due to decreased oestrogen levels. Reasons for low oestrogen include perimenopause, menopause, hysterectomy, and gynaecological cancers.

Vaginal atrophy causes the vagina to become shorter, narrower and drier. This can cause chronic vaginal infections, urinary issues and painful penetration.

Sh! dilators can help with this.

Our dilators are recommended to help restore the depth, width, and elasticity of the vagina. This, in turn, makes penetration, tampon & period cup use, and medical exams more comfortable. For vaginal atrophy, the dilators are used to gently improve the mobility of the vaginal tissue while learning to relax the pelvic floor muscles.

Dilators for Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can affect any part of the skin, most often affecting the skin around the vulva and anus. LS causes white patches to appear on the skin and can be made worse or even triggered by friction or skin damage, known as a ‘Koebner response.’

Lichen sclerosus commonly affects post-menopausal women, and symptoms may come and go. It’s not contagious, so you can’t “catch” it or spread it.

Over time, labia lips, vaginal opening and vagina may shrink, with the white patches becoming cracked, sore and itchy. Skin becomes thin and fragile, and intercourse is typically painful.

As a preventative measure, dilators can help keep the vagina at its usual capacity. Sh! silicone dilators are more flexible than standard plastic dilators; they are more body-friendly and cause less pain during use. For women with LS, Sh! dilators stretch out the tissue and relax tense muscles.

Dilators for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) refers to any abnormality of the pelvic floor but is often taken to mean weakness of the pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor is the “hammock” that holds the bladder, uterus and rectum in place. If this “hammock” isn't holding as it should, you may experience a range of symptoms including sexual dysfunction and pain.

Pregnancy and childbirth are common causes of PFD. Pelvic floor muscles and tissues can become strained during pregnancy and during long, difficult births.

PFD can have many causes, and it’s estimated that a third of all women will experience this condition. The appropriate treatment depends on the cause and the particular symptoms experienced. For example, some women experience a lack of muscle control in the vagina, whereas, for others, tightness is the problem. Women with pelvic floor dysfunction may also have other symptoms like pain during sex.

Self-care methods may include stretching, relaxation or strengthening exercises (always follow the advice given by your health care provider). Some physios will use biofeedback to monitor the pelvic floor muscles as you try to relax or clench them.

Regular pelvic floor exercises will help protect against pesky leaks and add a zing to your love life too. Sh! dilators can be used as resistance to doing your pelvic floor squeezes but love balls are more fun as you can wear them while doing your chores.

Dilators are commonly recommended to help heal pelvic pain conditions such as vaginal stenosis, pudendal neuralgia, or vaginal agenesis (also known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome).

How to use Sh! dilators for vaginal well-being

The advice we’ll share here is general, and not be taken over the advice of your specialist doctor or nurse. It’s essential to follow tailored advice given to you by your care team.

Generally, you may be advised to use your dilator for 15-30 minutes at a time. This is plenty.

A customer recently shared that she regularly uses her Sh! dilator for up to 8 hours per day. This is not how dilators are intended to be used. This is precisely why you need to seek advice before purchasing a dilator, and should never diagnose and treat your condition without expert advice. Luckily, as our dilators are body-safe and very flexible, no damage was done to her vagina.

Always start with the smallest size dilator you are comfortable with. The aim is to not only help your body heal but also help your brain relax and become comfortable and confident with penetration. You may only be able to insert the tip and that is perfectly fine. As your body learns how to relax, you’ll be able to insert a little bit more. Don’t force the issue, let dilation take the time it takes.

If you feel comfortable with it, we often recommend using your dilator as a pleasure tool. If your body is experiencing pleasure, dilation becomes easier. You can also team your dilator with a clitoral toy, or use it while reading or listening to erotica.

Once you can easily and comfortably use the smallest size you are comfortable with, it’s time to move up to the next size. Take it slow and don’t force it. There is no set time to “complete” dilation – it’s an ongoing process and you may experience setbacks. Be kind to yourself – if you’re going through a stressful patch in your life, you may want to leave dilation until you feel better equipped to take on a new challenge.

The good news is that dilation is doable, and pain-free sex is possible.

Best lube for dilating

Dilators should always be used with lubrication for smooth insertion and comfortable use. We particularly recommend using Sh! Pure Plus if you’re experiencing dryness and/or pain. Sh! Pure Plus is water-based and paraben-free. It creates a thick layer of “padding” in-between the dilator and the vaginal membranes, making dilation more comfortable. However, any water-based lube you like is suitable for use with the Sh! dilators.

Take a look at the Sh! silicone vaginal dilator set here.

Please note that we do not recommend self-diagnosis. If you believe that one or more of these conditions apply to you, please make an appointment with your healthcare provider for the correct diagnosis and treatment.

If you have any questions or would like any advice about the Sh! vibrating dilators, please email us at

1 comment

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