Vulvar Varicosities

135 Comments

Pregnant woman with backache

I was in my second trimester when I could bear the discomfort no longer. “I’m feeling a lot of pressure,” I told my midwife at my appointment. “You know,” I said dramatically, “Down There.”

“Down there?” my midwife repeated. “You mean your perineum?”

I nodded. “It feels like down there might fall out! There’s so much pressure and everything’s swollen. That whole area could easily relocate to my knees.”

“It sounds like you have vulvar varicosities,” she replied matter-of-factly.

Huh.

Wait.

Did she say vulvar? The latent 13-year-old girl inside of me screamed, “Eww!”

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Lucky me. I had varicose veins in my vulva. My midwife explained the varicosities were caused by extra blood flow Down There as well as the pressure my growing uterus was putting on the area. Having varicose veins in my vulva was much like having hemorrhoids. It was the same thing, just one block over.

Unfortunately, there was no cure for vulvar varicosities. For temporary relief, my midwife suggested a vulvar supporter, thick elastic bands which I would wear over my panties to lift and support my perineum. I ordered one from a medical store online. (There was no way I was buying that thing in person.) It looked like a modified jock strap with a touch of lace to indicate which side to wear to the front. I stepped into it, trying in vain (ha ha) to see the supporter below my expanding baby bump.

Across the room my husband mumbled, “Sexy.”

I shot him a look that translated to “If you ever want to have sex again, you will shut up NOW.”

Wearing the supporter brought me physical relief, but I was an emotional mess over my predicament. I didn’t like having varicose veins in my vulva. What was I supposed to say when anyone asked how my pregnancy was going? “My vulvar varicosities are really uncomfortable today, but thank goodness for my vulvar supporter. What’s new with you?”

It turns out my midwife had suffered from vulvar varicosities during her pregnancy. She could relate to my discomfort and embarrassment. She assured me I was not alone and that other pregnant women were suffering, too.

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What other women? Besides me and my midwife, I knew no one with this problem. Pregnant women could discuss nausea and cravings as if they were badges of honor, yet no one talked about vulvar varicosities. Did Angelina Jolie suffer from vulvar varicosities? Beyoncé? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I lumbered around in silence with thick elastic bands between my legs for the rest of my pregnancy.

After my daughter was born, the pressure subsided. My veins returned to their pre-pregnancy state by my 6-week postpartum checkup. The supporter soon became a distant memory.

Except sometimes I might ask a pregnant woman how she’s doing. The reply is usually “Fine” or “Ugh, morning sickness.”  I wonder, though, if maybe, just maybe she’s suffering from vulvar varicosities. I want to offer her support—or at least tell her where to buy a supporter.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Mom Off Meth says

    THAT I haven’t heard of. So thanks for sharing. In case it ever comes up in conversation, I can say “oh, I know what that is!”

    The things our bodies do to reproduce.

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  2. 3

    Alexandra says

    Oh I am sorry to laugh but I LOVED this.

    The ugly truth.

    I won’t tell you where my PG variscosities ended up.

    But I can tell you, they were living breathing with a heartbeat of their own.

    YUK.

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    • 4

      Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom says

      Really, there’s nothing one can do EXCEPT laugh at vulvar varicosities! “living breathing with a heartbeat of their own”–classic!

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  3. 5

    Jennifer says

    I suffered, too!

    I had repressed it until I read this…I never did find a support thing that helped. My daughter is 8 months old (today!) and I seriously had put it out of my head entirely. Now, I’m questioning this whole, “we should have another baby in a few years when the first two are in school,” thing my husband and I have going.

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  4. 8

    Emily says

    I tried talking with my (inexperienced male) OB about this during my first pregnancy. Since I was sort of embarrassed, I only mentioned that it felt like there was a lot of pressure, and he just told me it was normal. What I wanted to say was “It feels like I must have testicles.” I suffered from the worst hemorrhoids that anyone ever had, and after doing my own research, I diagnosed myself with the same embarrassing condition as you. :) I never did find a supporter, but I’m about 8 weeks from delivering my next child, and seem to be a little better this time around. I can totally relate to this post. Thank you for your honesty. And maybe, just maybe, vulvar varicosities will become a badge of honor. hahaha

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    • 9

      Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom says

      Glad it was better this time around. And glad we would have something to talk about–our badges of honor–the next time we were at a dinner party together!

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      • 12

        Jenni says

        I developed vulvar varices (or a “BlueGina” or “Pant Snakes” as my husband so kindly calls them) with my first pregnancy, but they didn’t start until around 5 months. The pain was bad but I only dealt with it for 4 months. This second pregnancy that I currently enduring, the dreaded things came at 10 weeks! I asked my midwife and she said that they will be 10 times worse with the second and third pregnancies. The pain is excruciating! I was able to score some lidocaine jelly from a doctor I work with that helps a little bit. I am definitely going to look into the supporter since I have 7 more months of this. Thanks for the post. I’m glad I’m not the only one out there with this!

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  5. 13

    jessa says

    This is really a condition!? I had hemmoroids and varicose veins but apparently I also had vulvar varicosities. Relief 2 years later. I had always thought it was because I didn’t do enough kegals. Nice to know it’s not because I was lazy but that my children decided to be pain in the asses before birth.

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    • 18

      Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom says

      What’s ironic is that I have now told the whole world, but I don’t think my mother reads blogs, so she’s still in the dark. :)

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  6. 19

    Ashley L says

    Huh! Never heard of that! I don’t know if my situation was the vein thing or if it was just being pregnant with a 10lb. 8.6oz. baby the 1st time and a 10lb. 3oz. baby the 2nd time! Either way, I always checking to see if my insides were still located at least within the confinements of my underwear… *ahem* I mean granny panties. Great post!

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