Dilators vs. Pelvic Wand

6/5/24

There can be some confusion regarding when to use a pelvic wand vs. progressive dilators.  Let's dive into this a bit more!


Dilators are often sold in a set of varying sizes (thus the name progressive).  They are most often used to promote desensitization of the pelvic floor muslces.  This would be recommended to someone who is having pain or difficulty with vaginal penetration.  Often, one would start with the smallest size in the set.  Once they are able to insert that dilator without any pain or difficulty, they would progress to the next size.  It is important that when working with dilators, the pain level stays low.  The goal is to re-train the system that penetration does not equate to pain.  Being too aggressive, progressing too quickly or not listening to your body's cues can further fuel the problem.


Pelvic wands are often shaped like the letter "S" and are designed in a way that allows the user to reach the pelvis with greater ease.  The wand is used to address internal muscle tension (trigger points) that might be difficult to reach with a finger.  The goal is to identify a tender area and apply a pressure with the wand to that spot until it begins to release.  


These tools can be appropriate for women at all different points in time.  Some women who struggle to use a tampon early in life find the dilators helpful.  For some, these tools can be beneficial postpartum to address tight muscles.  Women who have experienced some form of prior trauma, may also find these helpful in their journey.


Physical therapy is essential in helping women determine which tool (if any) is appropriate.  Together, with your therapist, it is important to learn how to safely use these therapeutic devices so as not to cause harm.