Vaginal Dilators After Radiation Therapy - Are They Necessary

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: January 26, 2012

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Question

My mother is a 70 year old widow who had endometrial cancer and had radiation. Now she is being told to use a dilator, but she is uncomfortable doing this. Is it really necessary?

Answer

Nicole Ross, RN, MSN, OCN - Radiation Oncology Nurse at Penn Medicine, responds:

It is recommended that all female patients who receive radiation to the pelvis use a vaginal dilator a few times per week for life. This is used to prevent vaginal stenosis (narrowing and stiffening) or adhesions (scar tissue that can close off the vagina) forming in the vagina. If she is not sexually active and does not use a dilator, it potentially could make GYN exams uncomfortable for her. I understand that she may feel uncomfortable and it is very personal. If she chooses not to, she should inform her radiation oncologist.

You can learn more about vaginal dilators after radiation on OncoLink.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Gynecologic Cancers transcript.


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