What Is a Rectal Dilator?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Rectal dilators can be used to treat issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
Rectal dilators can be used to treat issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids.

A rectal dilator is a manual medical tool designed to help train the anus to relax to a greater degree. People use the instrument to treat issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids, as well as to reduce pain during anal intercourse. Although a person can purchase a set of dilators discretely online, obtaining and using a set with medical supervision is ideal. The devices have been in use at least since the turn of the 20th century, with early doctors making benefits claims well beyond what the dilators actually do. Modern doctors and manufacturers are more careful with their advertising and have proven the effectiveness of dilators for anal stretching through scientific research.

A rectal dilator may be used to reduce pain during intercourse.
A rectal dilator may be used to reduce pain during intercourse.

In terms of physical construction, rectal dilators are made of washable, semi-flexible or solid materials such as plastic. One end of the tool is rounded, while the other curves outward and is flattened into a cuff for easy gripping and control. A good dilator always contains a small hole at each end, which allows air to escape from the rectal canal and eliminates pressure buildup. The tool length is proportional to its circumference, with wider dilators being longer. The sensitivity and delicate structure of the rectum requires that the instrument be smooth to prevent tearing or other injury.

A rectal dilator is a medical tool designed to help train the anus to relax.
A rectal dilator is a medical tool designed to help train the anus to relax.

To use a rectal dilator, a person applies a personal, water-based lubricant to the tool and inserts it slowly into the anus. Doing this while on one's side or while facing downward is recommended because it reduces the amount of pressure felt and makes reaching down a little easier. After use, the individual removes the dilator and washes it. At first, a person might need to use the dilator once every day, but over time, this can be reduced to once or twice weekly.

A rectal dilator may be used to treat hemorrhoids.
A rectal dilator may be used to treat hemorrhoids.

The degree to which a person needs to relax the anus varies. Additionally, it can be painful to use an instrument that is overly large at the first point in treatment. Subsequently, manufacturers produce rectal dilators in sets, with each set having three to six tools. The user starts with the smallest size, moving through the larger instruments as he becomes comfortable.

An individual uses a rectal dilator for two major reasons. The first is that he has a medical condition or psychological hindrance that causes the anus to remain too tight when the person tries to have a bowel movement. This can lead to abdominal discomfort, pain while defecating and hemorrhoids from straining. The second reason is that a person wishes to train the anus to relax during anal intercourse.

Regardless of which reason a person needs a rectal dilator, cultural influences can cause people to feel somewhat embarrassed about using one — depending on their background, a person may regard inserting anything into the anus as taboo or "dirty." Physicians view a rectal dilator as a medical instrument and see the pain relief available, however, even if it is used to aid sex acts. Individuals who need one these tools thus should not be afraid to seek physician assistance in obtaining a set. In fact, using the dilators under medical supervision is ideal, as the physician can monitor the patient's relaxation progress and underlying conditions.

Rectal Dilators for Constipation

Medically speaking, rectal dilators help individuals produce bowel movements safely and effectively. Many times these individuals suffer from a condition called severe or chronic constipation. Constipation occurs when a bowel movement is either too hard or too large to pass smoothly. People are generally considered constipated if they have consistently small and hard stools, fewer than four stools a week, regular difficulty when passing their stools, or the feeling as though everything did not come out whenever they use the restroom. Causes of constipation include but are not limited to:

  • dehydration
  • certain medications
  • diets lacking in fiber
  • stress
  • resisting the urge to produce a bowel movement
  • pregnancy
  • cancer; especially of the colon
  • some diseases; such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis

Removing fecal matter with a rectal dilator may be necessary for these situations to avoid illness or injury. Not passing or forcefully passing a bowel movement can cause pain, bloating, bleeding, and intestinal fissures or tears. In extreme circumstances, it can even lead to sepsis or internal bleeding. If a person has to use a rectal dilator for every bowel movement, it may be prudent to seek advice from a medical professional. A doctor can help determine if rectal dilation is the best treatment for each specific situation and possibly determine and treat any underlying causes.

Rectal Dilator Hemorrhoids Treatment

Hemorrhoids are another medical condition that can make it difficult, stressful, or painful for individuals to use the restroom. Some common causes include:

  • friction from anal intercourse
  • straining during bowel movements
  • chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • regularly lifting heavy objects
  • pregnancy
  • obesity

Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins located in the lower intestine or rectum. They can be found internally or externally around the gastrointestinal exit known as the anus. Internal hemorrhoids may cause some discomfort but are usually not painful and simply tend to bleed a lot, while external ones can be painful and itchy in addition to bleeding profusely. Both types can make it difficult or impossible for stools to pass through and out of the body on their own. In these instances, rectal dilators can help people safely and more comfortably pass a bowel movement. A rectal dilator can help assist the anus to relax and open fully to allow stools to pass through and by the hemorrhoids more comfortably and cause less bleeding.

Rectal Dilation Procedure

The rectal dilation procedure is a relatively simple one but requires a few important steps to be done correctly and effectively. First of all, not all anal dilators work the same for everyone. People must choose the right size and material for their specific needs and comfort. Many find using a dilator series best, as they gradually stretch the rectum over time instead of all at once. Secondly, it is very important to have patience and relax as best as possible during the process to achieve optimal results. Inserting the device slowly and a little at a time to avoid injury or pain is also advisable. Thirdly, lubrication along with proper positioning can greatly assist in making the process more pleasant. Many dilators come with specific instructions that should be followed exactly to produce the best possible experience as well. Finally, any questions or concerns should be discussed with a doctor before proceeding further.

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Discussion Comments

galenreynold

This article on rectal dilators has been very useful. Hopefully it will be the start of a pain free life.

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    • Rectal dilators can be used to treat issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Rectal dilators can be used to treat issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
    • A rectal dilator may be used to reduce pain during intercourse.
      By: and.one
      A rectal dilator may be used to reduce pain during intercourse.
    • A rectal dilator is a medical tool designed to help train the anus to relax.
      By: kocakayaali
      A rectal dilator is a medical tool designed to help train the anus to relax.
    • A rectal dilator may be used to treat hemorrhoids.
      By: Andrea Danti
      A rectal dilator may be used to treat hemorrhoids.