Pregnancy itself is one of the major risk factors for varicose veins. A Hagerstown, Maryland woman was recently referred to me by her OBGYN after complaining of constant pubic pain when sitting or standing for long periods. She had delivered her third child several months earlier and found that the varicose veins had not resolved themselves.
During pregnancy, your body increases blood volume, which adds to pressure in the venous system. Additionally, a higher level of the hormones estrogen and progesterone contribute to varicose veins by causing the veins to be more dilated or open. As gravity exerts a downward pressure on the legs, the veins can swell and bulge, leading to symptoms of pain, heaviness and even blood clots.
But varicose veins during pregnancy aren't limited to your legs. They can also occur in your vulva. They can be small and barely noticeable, or they can be quite large and somewhat disfiguring. Your vulva can feel sore and swollen, making it uncomfortable to sit. A V-2 supporter is beneficial during pregnancy to help compress the swollen veins.
As part of the work up for labial varicose veins, we often will get a CT scan of the pelvis post partum to evaluate for venous insufficiency. When found, treatment is very effective with a variety of modalities.
Of course, most leg varicose veins arise from saphenous vein reflux in the inner thigh, which is best treated with the Venefit Procedure (formerly known as VNUS Closure). This office-based procedure is done under local anesthesia and allows immediate recovery. While we do not perform this procedure during pregnancy, you can be treated after the baby is born. Your optimal management of varicose veins while pregnant is good quality support hose and leg elevation as much as possible. Many varicose veins will regress post partum, though underlying venous reflux often manifests later.