Vaginal Vericose Veins

Updated on December 21, 2008
A.M. asks from Saint Albans, WV
13 answers

hello... i am 27 wks now and have discovored that i have developed vag vericose veins does any one haveany advice on how to get rid of these or what mite happn during labor and delvery im a lttle scared.

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answers from Louisville on

Here is some info that I found right off the top of the list.
Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged superficial veins usually seen in the thigh and leg. In the majority of cases, these large superficial veins are of a cosmetic nuisance. These veins connect with the deep veins of the leg and play a minor role in the transfer of blood to the heart. The veins become more prominent in the 3-4 decade of life and are more common in females. Varicose veins are more common in pregnant females. The varicose veins become more prominent during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

How common are varicose veins?

The majority of affected individuals are females and at least 50-60% of females suffer to some degree from varicose veins. Varicose veins commonly occur on the legs and thighs but may also occur in the vulva or vagina. Hemorrhoids and varicoceles are other examples of varicose veins.

Why are varicose veins common in pregnancy?

The cause of varicose veins is unknown but is definitely linked to increase pressure in the veins. There are valves in the veins which prevent the back flow of blood back into the legs. When these valves become damaged/defective, the blood flows backwards and causes swelling and engorgement of the veins.

In addition, during Pregnancy, there is a gain of weight and volume. Further the female sex hormones are thought to weaken the walls of the veins and make them lax- thus causing them to engorge with blood.

Where are varicose veins most common during pregnancy?

Varicose veins are generally more prominent in the legs but during late pregnancy, they may develop near the vulva or vagina. The major reason is that the female retains a lot of weight and fluid during pregnancy. In addition, the baby in utero may also compress some parts of the pelvis (lower abdomen) and lead to an engorgement of the veins in the vulva/vagina. If a female has varicose veins of the vulva during pregnancy, she will always have varicosities of the legs at the same time.

What generally happens to varicose veins during pregnancy?

Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, the varicose veins on the legs worsen with time. The varicose veins start to become more prominent and swell. With time, the veins are engorged with blood and can cause localized pain and itching. Once the leg veins become prominent, it is very unlikely that they will spontaneously resolve without any treatment. However, varicose veins on the vulva/vagina do get better once the baby has been delivered. The majority of women who do develop varicosity of the leg veins will retain these varicosities after pregnancy.

Who can get varicose veins during pregnancy?

Conditions that can cause destruction of the veins are pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing and trauma. Varicose veins are more common in females and this has been linked to the sex hormone, estrogen. In pregnancy, varicose veins have been linked to excess weight gain and fluids. Multiple pregnancies are also associated with varicose veins. In fact, with multiple pregnancies, the varicosities always worsen in size, shape and also symptoms.

What are symptoms of varicose veins?

Aside from being unattractive and very prominent, varicose veins of the legs cause swelling of the legs. As varicose veins progress, some females will develop discoloration at the ankles and prominent "rope like" veins along the thigh and lower leg.

How can varicose veins be diagnosed?

Varicose veins can usually be diagnosed by a simple physical examination. There is no other examination indicated. However, when the legs are involved with varicose veins, the use of Doppler ultrasound may be used to determine the presence of blood clots. This painless test assesses the valve function in the groin and can also determine how much blood is flowing back into the legs. The test can also determine the presence of blood clots in the veins.

What is treatment of varicose veins of the vulva?

There is no treatment required for vulvar/vaginal varicosities. Once the baby is delivered, the varicosities will subside. In rare instances, there may be a rope-like vein but this will soon disappear with time. For those with varicosities of the legs, the treatment is always delayed until the pregnancy is over.

Are varicose veins serious?

In the majority of cases, varicose veins are of a cosmetic nuisance. When the legs are involved, the following can develop:

constant itching
pigmentation around the ankles
ulcers at the ankles
mild swelling of the feet
occasional blood clots in the veins
infection of the vein
Do varicose veins develop clots?

Yes, but unlike the deep veins of the leg, the clots formed in the varicose veins rarely move to the lungs. The blood clots in varicose veins remain in one place and are often the cause of tenderness and itchiness. There is no need to take blood thinning medications when clots are found in the varicose veins.

Can one prevent varicose veins during pregnancy?

Unfortunately there is no cure for varicose veins but one can undertake preventive measures. The preventive measures may prevent the varicose veins or delay the worsening of existing varicose veins. The following may help to prevent varicose veins:

If one starts early in pregnancy, varicose veins can be prevented. The major preventive measure is to exercise and walk.
Elevation of the legs at all times is also recommended.
During pregnancy, one should always lie on the left side with the legs elevated on a pillow. This prevents the fetus from pressing on the leg veins and decreases the chance of developing varicosities.
One should avoid standing for prolonged periods.
Don't cross your legs when sitting down.
Wear elastic support stockings.
Walk or exercise daily as this stimulates the muscles which can push the blood away from the leg.
Control your weight -varicose veins are more common in obese individuals.
When lying down, keep the legs elevated.
Avoid tight clothing that can compress the waist or groin.
Eat a low-salt diet (salt does have the ability to retain water).
What problems can occur if varicose veins are left untreated?

Most people with varicose veins do not develop complications. It is impossible to predict who will develop complications. The size of the varicose vein is not related to complications but the duration of the varicose vein is. Complications that may occur include:

Superficial thrombophlebitis - in this condition, the varicose vein is inflamed and tender. A clot is usually present in the vein.
Bleeding - even with minor trauma, the varicose vein may be associated with bleeding. Because the vein is under high pressure, the bleeding can be quite profuse.
Venous Eczema - the skin round the vein may become dry and very itchy.
Venous Pigmentation - this is brown staining of the skin around the ankle. It is due to the leakage of small amount of blood from the veins into the skin.
Venous Ulceration - ulcers at the ankle.
Can varicose veins return after treatment?

Yes, unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. Only complete stripping of the large superficial veins in the leg can completely remove the vein. In addition, the branches must also be removed otherwise recurrence will occur. When the large vein has been removed, only small spider veins can occur. To prevent recurrence of varicose veins, the best therapy is exercise and wearing compressible hose stocking.

Can varicose veins be treated with sclerotherapy?

No, sclerotherapy is only of use for spider veins. The varicose veins are too large and sclerotherapy would be ineffective.


There are various types of surgery procedures to treat varicose veins in the leg. These include:

Surgical Ligation and Stripping: this is only done when the varicose veins are very large and unsightly; it does require anesthesia and 5-7 days to recover. It does have a few more complications than the other newer procedures.
Ligation and stabs: In this procedure, the superficial vein is tied off in the groin under anesthesia and only the very large prominent varicosities in the leg and thigh are removed. Small 1 cm stabs are made on the skin under local anesthesia and the superficial veins are removed. Most patients can return to work in 2-3 days. The most common side effect is bruising.
Ultrasound Guided laser therapy: This is the latest procedure which involves burning the large vein in the thigh with a laser guided probe under ultrasound guidance. It only requires local anesthesia and is done as an outpatient. It only involves one small incision near the knee.

The best surgical procedure can only determined by your surgeon and his experience. Before one embarks on vein surgery, read about it and you will know what to expect.

Is Varicose Vein Surgery covered by insurance?

Depends, if one has symptoms of leg swelling, pain, ulcers or clots, then all medical insurance and even Medicare covers the cost of surgery. However, if the surgery is done purely for cosmetic reasons, then the cost of the procedure is not covered. The average cost of varicose vein surgery per leg ranges from $300 - $600 depending on the type of procedure.



answers from Charlotte on

Talk to your OB-this is nothing you should be getting lay advice on.



answers from Nashville on

I had these with 2 of my 3 pregnancies, and they did go away. (I just had my third baby 2 weeks ago). My dr. said they can burst during pregnancy, but mine never did. He said they aren't dangerous, just painful if they burst. He told me that staying off my feet was the only way to help them. Of course, with two other toddlers, this wasn't easy. But I was on bedrest for 8 weeks of my pregnancy, and they did go away during that time, and came back once back on my feet. My dr. also said to use support hose and/or a thick maxi pad to counteract the pressure, and that helped as well. Good luck! They totally freaked me out too!



answers from Raleigh on

I would definitely ask your OB. I know that vericose veins are one of the things that they look for related to your blood pressure. It doesn't always mean there is something wrong, but they definitely need to know.



answers from Owensboro on

My first piece of advice is to talk to your doctor. I started getting these as well with my last 3 children (I have 5.) It started for me at about 25 weeks and I would swell and swell and swell. By the time I had my last baby, the nurses were saying they had never seen vaginal vericose veins so huge! Thanks, ladies! Honesty, although super gross looking during the last month, especially, it didn't prevent me from doing anything. I did try to rest a bit more lying down with my feet up on a couple of pillows so they were higher than my heart (I think my doctor told me to do so, but I can't remember now.) I also always slept on my left side with a pillow between my legs to ease some of the pressure. I don't think there is anything you can do to get rid of these and for me, at least, they did get worse with each child. The three kids I had these with were all V-BACs and I had no trouble during labor and delivery because of the swelling. By the time I went to my 6 week post partum doctor visit, the swelling had greatly reduced, but it did take a few months to get back to normal - and I did each time, much to my husband's relief! Good luck - I think this is just one of those pregnancy things!



answers from Greensboro on

Hi A.,

I'm not a doctor but from what I know vericose veins anywhere are not dangerous. Vaginal vericose veins usually only appear in someone that already has some in their legs and they subside after the baby is delivered.

I wouldn't worry at all unless the doctor tells you otherwise.

God bless and Merry Christmas!




answers from Huntington on

I've had them since my 3rd baby, and have birthed 7, without any problems during labor. I am also a midwife who has helped lots of other women through this situation too. The pain they cause during preg is the worst of it, they disappear in between preganncies. Drinking an ounce of Noni juice daily helps, as does wearing support pantyhose, and Vit E (d-alpha, not dl-alpha) and horse chestnut suppliments also help. Witch Hazel compresses can temporarily ease the discomfort too, but it doesn't last long.
I have them worse on my right side, so I birthed on my left side so as not to put undue pressure on the varicosities. A nice slow second stage with only breathing through contractions, no gut-busting pushes, also goes a long way to preventing them from rupturing, which is the only complication that could possibly happen because of them. Hope this helps you. merry Christmas!



answers from Hickory on

I've never heard of this, but I'm sure you're not the first person ever to get it. Take a deep breath and call your doctor's office and ask to talk to a nurse. Get advice from real medical professionals as well as asking here and elsewhere to other women you know. And remember that anything you read on the internet may or may not be true. My point is, don't get scared by what could be wrong information. Get good quality, right information from real healthcare providers like your doctor. And don't worry. In this age of modern medicine, most anything can be dealt with. God bless you.



answers from Fayetteville on

Hi A.,

Been there, done that, you are not alone. Until I had these, I did not believe this was possible. It's being caused by the baby's position, if the baby moves, they will disappear (I'll pray for you!). By labor and delivery, they should be gone because the baby will be in position to deliver, not pressing on your veins. Warm baths can help, it eases blood flow. I would definitely mention this to your doctor, so he can look at them and determine how severe your case is. Any case to you is severe, but only your OB/GYN has anything to compare it to and make that decision. I only had them on one side, but you can have them on both. When I "found" them, I freaked out. I knew they looked bad when I asked my husband what he thought and he took me to the doctor - immediately! Evidently, it is pretty common, but no one ever mentions them. I guess they're embarrassed. A warm compress might help, too if you don't have time to take a bath. I thought it was a good excuse to get some "me" time and after my husband saw them, was more than happy to watch my other child while I took a nice, warm bath. Good luck. L.



answers from Knoxville on

Oh my! I never had these but had a good friend who did with her second pregnancy. It was awful for her... I will see if I can send you her email - she is the only peron I have ever personally known to have them - she might be able to give some advice, or even if it's only bad news for the foreseeable future, she can let you know what to expect...

God bless you!



answers from Charlotte on

I had them with both my kids, they are a little painful during pregnancy,but did not notice anything during delivery, that had to do with that. I will say you will probably always get them with each pregnancy, and they will probably get worse with each one, just try not to stand up for long periods of time. But they shouldn't bother delivery. I still have them even though I haven't been pregnant in 7 years. They seem to stir up during my cycle. Good luck!!




answers from Memphis on

I know what you are going through, I had these with my 2nd child. I had a doctors appointment and I was embarrassed to even tell my docotor but it bothered me so I asked. He told me is was from the way the baby was laying and was putting pressure down there and not to worry but it may get worse before I delivered. Well they did. I dont want to scare you by saying that but the further along I got in my pregnancy the bigger they got and the more pressure it put on me down there. But after I delvered about a week later everything was normal. I hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!!




answers from Knoxville on

Hi A.!
I got these also when I was pregnant. They are a little bit unsightly (but thank goodness they're not out there for everyone to see!!) but for me, there was no problem during and labor delivery from these. Don't worry! Ask your ob to be sure, but I think you'll be fine. They go down after you give birth.

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