Capitol Vein Blog

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vulvar Varicose Veins Resulting from Pregnancy


One of our Ashburn, Virginia patients came in with a common variation on typical varicose vein symptoms: aching varicose veins that occur high in the groin, extending into the vulva.  These varicose veins typically become prominent during pregnancy, though the veins shrink significantly once the patient delivers. However, vulvar and labial varicosities often worsen with each pregnancy, and some women develop chronic pain even after all pregnancies have been completed. Vulvar and labial veins are often associated with varicose veins in the legs, and these too can worsen with age and/or future pregnancies.

In normal veins, small one-way valves propel the blood up the leg and towards the abdomen ensuring normal flow. However, when these fragile valves cease to function well, backflow occurs - whether in the pelvic region or in the leg.

Evaluation of vulvar varicose veins starts with a detailed color duplex ultrasound study, which examines the veins of the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Sometimes, additional studies such as CT or MRI help determine the extent of the abnormal veins, as well as their underlying cause.

Treatment of vulvar varicose veins depends on the source of the backflow.  Many patients are treated effectively with foam sclerotherapy injections. This form of treatment induces the veins to shrink and eventually become absorbed. The treatment typically reduces or eliminates pain very quickly. When deeper vein issues are discovered via CT or MRI, other procedures to seal off offending veins may be more helpful. (Note:  the Venefit procedure is highly effective in eliminating saphenous vein reflux, the leading cause of symptomatic varicose veins.)

Labial varicose veins often occur in conjunction with varicose veins in the legs. Patients experiencing symptoms in either region should seek duplex ultrasound evaluation by a trained phlebologist. Both Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. McNeill have extensive experience assisting patients with varicose veins in the arms, legs, and vulva.  Consultations are available in our Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia offices.

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