INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to evaluate the dimensions of the vaginal canal in patients undergoing gynaecological brachytherapy and the effect of the use of vaginal dilators (VD) used in the follow-up of pelvic physiotherapy.
METHODS: A total of 88 patients were randomly allocated to the control group (CG) and intervention group (IG). Three evaluations were performed: pre-brachytherapy, post-brachytherapy and follow-up of 3 months. The CG received standard guidance from the health team while the IG was instructed to use VD for 3 months. The dimensions of the vaginal canal (main outcome) were defined by the length of the vagina (centimetres), width (number of full clockwise turns of the opening thread of a gynaecological speculum) and area (defined by the size of the VD). Quality of life and pelvic floor (PF) functionality were also evaluated.
RESULTS: There was no effect of the VD on vaginal length, width and area among the intention-to-treat (ITT) population. However, in the analysis stratified by adhesion, the CG had a significant decrease in the vaginal area. PF was predominantly hypoactive throughout the follow-up. Quality of life improved in both groups, but the reduction of constipation, vaginal dryness and stress urinary incontinence manifested only in the IG.
CONCLUSION: The use of VD did not alter the dimensions of the vaginal canal within the first 3 months after the end of radiotherapy treatment. However, there was a large sample loss during follow-up so studies with a larger sample number and longer follow-up time need to be conducted.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT03090217.