pregnant woman vulvar varicositiesWhat are Vulvar Varicosities?

Vulvar varicosity, sometimes referred to as vaginal varicose veins or varicose veins in the vulva are common in ten percent of pregnant women. Occasionally symptoms present in women who have never been pregnant. The lack of attention to this disorder is typically due to the limited number of vein specialists with experience in this area and a reluctance by women to discuss this extremely personal concern.

An increase in estrogen and progesterone and the weight of a new baby typically contribute to underlying venous insufficiency, and the symptoms of varicose veins in the legs and vaginal area. With every additional pregnancy, symptoms typically occur earlier and become more significant. 

Click to Read: (More about Varicose Veins during Pregnancy)

 

Vaginal Varicose Veins Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes symptoms are visual and would include dark, swollen veins and may resemble earthworms. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in the vaginal area
  • Feeling of "fullness" or pressure
  • Swelling and discomfort of the vulva
  • Rolling veins in the vagina
  • Significant vaginal itching

 

pregnant_belly vaginal varicose veins

Vulvar Varicosity Cause & Temporary Relief

The cause of vaginal varicose veins is typically an increase in the volume of blood circulating in the body during pregnancy, increased weight and pressure from the baby, and hormones released during pregnancy which weaken the vein walls. These causes in addition to underlying Chronic Venous Insufficiency (the cause of varicose veins in the legs) will almost always result in Vaginal Varicose Veins.

IMPORTANT - Vein Treatment of any kind cannot be performed until after giving birth, however the symptoms can be addressed.

 

The following items are found to be the most effective at temporary relief of symptoms:

  • Compression Support Garments -Similar to Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins. Ask your Vein Specialist for a recommendation as you'll want one specifically designed for vulvar varicosities. Some designs also provide support for lower abdomen and lower back. 
  • Change Positions -Avoid standing for long periods of time. Sit or lie down for a while to relieve pelvic pressure.
  • Elevate Hips -Elevating hips while lying down will promote circulation. A pillow or rolled towel under the hips would be helpful. 
  • Cool Compress - This will ease pain and reduce swelling of the area. Make sure to use a comfortable temperature.

 

Vaginal Varicose Vein Treatment

You most likely will not need treatment for vulvar varicose veins as improvement in the appearance of vaginal varicose veins is typically seen within 4-8 weeks post-partum. Sometimes symptoms will ease as well, but if this is not the case for you, veins can be treated based upon the underlying cause. It is important to evaluate for Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Pelvic Congestion Syndrome before attempting any treatment as these are often the major underlying cause of vulvar varicosities.

 

Next Steps

At Advanced Vein Institute of Arizona, we believe that every patient is unique, and every vein treatment needs to be specifically tailored for each patient. A full exam, Duplex Ultrasound, and if needed a Transvaginal Ultrasound will enable us to properly diagnose and recommend vulvar varicosities treatment, based on your specific needs.

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