By Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., FACOG

 

They are one of those things that most pregnant women will experience but few will want to talk about! We all know that varicose veins in the legs are a thing, but did you know that you can also get varicose veins down there? Yup, genital varicosities are real but if you do experience them all hope is not lost. So let’s break it down, what are they, why do they occur and what can you do to treat them?

 

What are genital varicosities and why do they happen?

Genital varicosities are pretty much what they sound like, varicose veins in the genital area. They occur most commonly on the vulva and they sometimes occur inside of the vagina. The vulva is the external genitalia including the labia (lips). Varicose veins occur on the genitalia for the same reason they occur in the legs and other places during pregnancy, pressure from the growing uterus on the larger blood vessels in the pelvis causes smaller blood vessels to become enlarged and engorged.

 

What are the symptoms of genital varicosities?

The main symptom of genital varicosities are enlarged frequently discolored lumps and bumps in the genital region. Sometimes the lumps and bumps are painless but often they are associated with itching, burning, pain and/or pressure. The symptoms tend to be worse with standing or lifting and they also get progressively worse as the pregnancy progresses and the uterus gets larger.

 

What can you do to treat genital varicosities?

The most effective treatment for genital varicosities is to just wait it out! Probably not what you wanted to hear but the varicosities are caused by pressure from the growing uterus; once the baby delivers, your uterus will go back to normal size and the pressure on the pelvic blood vessels will go away. But, what can you do while you are waiting?

  • Consider a support belt like a belly belt or a belly band. These belts lift the uterus relieving pelvic pressure. Not only will they reduce the size and symptoms of the varicose veins, they will also relieve other pressure symptoms like pelvic pain and lower back pain.
  • Consider antiinflammatories like preparation-H. Yup, you heard me right. Hemorrhoids are just varicose rectal/anal veins and preparation-H works on any swollen vein.
  • Ice your junk. That’s what I said, put ice in your underwear. Mom put ice on your bumps and bruises for a reason, it does a great job reducing inflammation. Preparation-H and ice will shrink and numb your genital varicose veins.

 

So, there you have it! Varicose veins can happen anywhere below the belt and that includes your genital region. Fear not though, genital varicosities usually get better after delivery and there are things that you can do to feel better before your bundle of joy makes her or his appearance. Happy gestating!!!

Are you or someone you know expecting a little bundle of joy? Be sure to check-out Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pregnancy (But Were Too Afraid or Embarrassed To Ask), available RIGHT HERE!

 

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