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 that during pregnancy, women tend to gain weight and retain a lot of fluid. Another reason is that when the baby is in utero, he/she can put pressure on the lower abdomen and pinch veins in the vagina. In most cases, if you are experiencing vaginal varicose veins during your pregnancy, you will be experiencing 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 will become engorged with blood and can cause a lot of pain and itching. And you should know that once these veins become distinctive and swollen, they won't dissipate on their own without some type of treatment. But the good news is that vaginal varicose veins are probably not forever. 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.
- 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 Doppler ultrasound may be used to determine the presence of blood clots.
There is no treatment required for vaginal varicose veins. Once the baby is delivered, the varicose veins in the vaginal area will 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, take frequent breaks from standing to sit down and get off your feet, and 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.