Discovering a varicose vein on your body is never a joyous experience. For most people, varicose veins appear more often in the legs. However, if you are pregnant, you may be experiencing vaginal varicose veins, or "vulvar varicosities." The biggest culprit for this problem is the weight gain that women experience during pregnancy which causes fluid retention.
Another reason is that when the baby is in utero, he/she can put pressure on the lower abdomen and compress the veins in the vagina. In most cases, if you are experiencing vaginal varicose veins during your pregnancy, you will experience varicose veins in your legs as well.
The bad news is that over a period of time, the varicose veins in the legs get worse. These problematic veins become more pronounced and swell. After a while, they become engorged with blood and cause a lot of pain and itching. Once these veins become distinctive and swollen, they won't dissipate on their own without medical treatment.
The good news is that vaginal varicose veins are not permanent. Most women with vaginal varicose veins find that they get better after delivery — typically within six weeks. So if you are noticing some varicose veins down below, here's everything you should know.
Common vaginal varicose vein symptoms
- Vaginal swelling or discomfort
- The feeling of pressure or fullness in the vaginal area
- Rope-like veins
Path to diagnosis
A physical examination from a doctor is really all it takes to diagnose varicose veins anywhere on the body. However, when the legs are involved with varicose veins, the use of a Doppler Ultrasound may be used to determine the presence of blood clots.
Vaginal varicose vein treatment
There is no treatment required for vaginal varicose veins. Once the baby is delivered, the varicose veins in the vaginal area disappear. In some cases, there may be a rope-like vein but this too will disappear with time.
In order to alleviate any discomfort the veins are causing during pregnancy and post-delivery before they disappear, you can apply a cold compress to the area. You can also sit down and take frequent breaks from standing to get off your feet. Finally, you can elevate your hips when laying down in order to promote blood flow and improve circulation.
Another option is wearing a support garment specifically designed to support the lower abs, the lower back, or the vaginal area. According to the Mayo Clinic, going for a swim can even ease any discomfort by lifting the baby and improving blood flow from the pelvis.
Reviewed on February 8, 2017