1 in 10 women will develop vulvar varicosities during their pregnancy. While it may seem difficult to understand, it is very manageable with at-home care. If you believe you have vulvar varicosities, it is often diagnosed with a physical exam. In addition, your doctor may request further non-invasive testing to verify if the location of the varicose veins is solely on your vulva or if it is on other parts of your pelvis as well. Most women will have relief once they give birth. However, it can take up to six weeks or more for your varicose veins to return to normal.
What are vulvar varicosities?
During pregnancy, the increase in blood flow and the inability to properly circulate blood to the pelvic region can cause the varicose veins to swell on your vulva. About 20 percent of pregnant women will develop vulvar varicosities. Vulvar varicosities can occur with symptoms or without symptoms. After giving birth, these swollen veins usually subside within six weeks. Vulvar varicosities is not harmful to your baby and do not cause pregnancy or delivery risks.
What do vulvar varicosities look like?
Vulvar varicosities may be noticeable, while other times, you may not see it but only experience the symptoms associated with it. Vulvar varicosities look like twisted or bulging veins that may appear purple or blue in your vulva. They can swell as well. Some women don’t solely experience varicosities in their vulvas; they can be seen on their inner thighs, butt, or calves.
What are the symptoms of vulvar varicosities?
It is important to note that you can have vulvar varicosities with or without symptoms. However, symptoms may include:
- Veins that appear twisted and swollen.
- Pain in your vulva
- Veins are purple or blue
- Pain or discomfort in your upper thighs
- Pain in your lower back
- Painful intercourse
- Pain or discomfort when standing too long
- Vulvar pressure
- Itchy skin
- Pain or discomfort while walking
How common are vulvar varicosities in pregnancy?
While only about 4 percent of the average women population develop vulvar varicosities, about 20 percent of pregnant women will develop this.
How do I get rid of vulvar varicose veins during pregnancy?
Belly Band Support wraps
Belly Boost Pregnancy Support Wrap and the 2-in-1 Hip Bandit™ Maternity Belly Band offers the right amount of compression with the right amount of support. These garments provides lift from the strains on the groin. Both help to promote blood circulation throughout the body.
The V sling Pelvic Support band is not only a favorite by many pregnant mommas, it also was created with your pelvic region in mind. As the belly grows during pregnancy, there is added pressure on the pelvic region. The sling is adjustable to grow with your pregnant belly. It also helps with more than just vulvar varicosities but with all pelvic discomfort or issues.
Belly Bandit compression tights are medical grade. They are made with the perfect compression to improve blood circulation throughout your body. They may also help prevent varicose veins, not just on your vulva but on your thighs and calves as well. They have built-in belly support as well.
Walking is very beneficial because it promotes blood circulation. However, listen to your body as too much exercise can cause your vulvar varicosities to become painful.
Changing your position
The position you sleep in plays a huge part in your blood circulation. Sleeping with your hips elevated or lying on your left side is important. This may significantly relieve pressure off of your pelvic region. Also, avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Cold compresses to your vulva
Vulvar varicosities happen due to low blood flow to your vulva. A cold compress will help aid the blood vessels to shrink and reduce swelling. Also, applying ice for a few minutes helps reduce discomfort as well.
Promoting circulation via leg elevation
When relaxing or sleeping, it is essential to elevate your legs to promote circulation. An easy way to do this is to place something under your hips to prop them up, such as pillows. The goal is to have your hips and legs higher than your heart. Be mindful of how high you elevate your hips, as it can be uncomfortable with your growing belly, especially in your third trimester. Elevating your legs for even a few minutes each day will make a difference in your symptoms and discomfort.
Consider doing pelvic floor exercises. They help your pelvis become stronger for delivery, but they also help the blood circulation to your pelvic region. Some good pelvic exercises include certain yoga poses, kegels, and squats.
Drink at least 8 cups of water per day. Hydration promotes and improves blood flow throughout your body.
Stay away from sodium
Too much salt can cause you to store fluid in your body which can lead to dehydration.
How long does it take for vulvar varicosities to go away after pregnancy?
Vulvar varicosities usually subside shortly after giving birth. However, it can take up to 6 weeks for total relief. In rare cases, they don’t go away on their own. If that happens, doctors can remove them with outpatient surgery. Vulvar varicosities can happen in your future pregnancies if you develop them during one pregnancy.
When should I be concerned about vulvar varicosities?
It is always important to be transparent with your doctor during pregnancy about any issues or concerns you may have. Vulvar varicosities symptoms are manageable with at-home treatment, and belly support compression wraps.
You should seek professional help when:
- Vulva becomes extremely painful
- Veins become red or swollen
- Develop a blood clot
- Hard to the touch
1 in 10 women will develop vulvar varicosities at any point during their pregnancy. Taking care of your body during pregnancy is essential, and sometimes that means speaking up when something doesn’t feel right. Talk to your doctor if you are having symptoms, and together, you can find the best treatment option for you. It is common for it to go away after birth within the first six weeks. Enjoy every moment of your pregnancy and always remember that you are not alone if you experience vulvar varicosities.