Vulvar Varicosities

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.



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.

About the writer

Katy jokingly calls herself an "Experienced" Bad Mom. That's because everything she's done wrong with her first child, she's done wrong with her second child as well! She embraces her imperfections and shares them on her blog, Experienced Bad Mom. Come laugh with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


Karen 2 months ago

I’m 23 wks into my 17th pregnancy (I’m 47) and just found out I have this! Really? You’d think I’d have gotten it well before now! Ugh! I told my OB this morning that he needed to check me ‘down there’ 😉 because for the last few wks it felt like I was going to start peeling my skin off ‘down there’ due to it itching SO BAD!!! I’ve tried everything topical and it gives maybe 5 mins of relief! I’m glad to know I don’t have a disease but dang, this isn’t going away anytime soon!! UGH!!! I guess misery loves company!

Meg 2 months ago

Omg I thought I was the only one!!! I’m 24 weeks pregnant with our second babe and haven’t been to the doctor yet. I’m a nurse and don’t know how I’m going to work full time to 36 weeks like I did with my first pregnancy. OR have a natural birth again… Anyone given birth naturally with this…? I have a very heavy 17 month old who loves her cuddles. I feel like I’m falling apart haha, my poor husband. Might need to invest in this ‘jock strap’ 😉

Megan 2 months ago

Thank goodness for your honesty. The sexiest thing my husband and I have done in a while is when I had him bust out a flashlight to see why I had these itchy spots that were driving me crazy on my labia. He swears I had them last pregnancy too. I’ll have to trust him since I can’t see my toes much less there. A little Google later and here we are. I’m 37 weeks so I don’t think I’ll get the strap, but I’ll try the ice and elevated hips.

Jessica 3 months ago

Going through this right now. This is my second pregnancy and I can barely make it through a shift at work (I’m a nurse on my feet all day) then home with a 3 year old in the evenings. I’m planning on mentioning it to my doctor at my next appointment as the pressure has progressively gotten worse. I may look into this jock strap.

Sara 5 months ago

Yep. I had so much pressure with my second pregnancy, and the doc never mentioned anything. This time, I have a varicose vein on my labia. My F-ING LABIA. Time to start shopping for my femmy jock strap, and letting EVERYONE I know that this is possibly a thing!

Adrienne 6 months ago

haha you have no idea how much I needed to read this! You’re right…people do NOT talk about this. I kept telling my husband I felt dialed to 5 and that if I pushed hard enough, this kid would pop out! That’s seriously how it feels! I’m only 23 weeks and this is our 4th baby. It doesn’t get better and just comes on sooner the more you have! I died laughing at this article because it is spot on! You’re awesome!

Runholy 7 months ago

I linked here on Run Holy .com. Thank you for writing on this>

Katrina 7 months ago

I have heard that planned C-sections are not uncommon with vulvar varicosities. Has anyone else heard this? How did you deliver? At this point I’m scared to poop let alone push out a baby for fear that they may burst!

Heather 7 months ago

I have this for about 3 weeks now. I’ll be 30 weeks this weekend! I was afraid of what my doctor was going to say when I told her I had these dark spots on my hooha. I was relieved that it wasn’t something too serious, but it is so uncomfortable and I agree embarrassing! my doctor said to try to lay down in a recliner and prop my butt up with a pillow after coming home from work. I just hope that it doesn’t cause problems during delivery and goes away for me! Thank you for your story.

Angela 8 months ago

It felt like a big cluster of hot grapes dangling down there. Three pregnancies and I couldn’t explain to anyone my private misery. They usually appeared just as the weeks of vomiting ended. I didn’t know about the support, I just sat on ice packs every few hours – hiding blue ice anywhere I might sit down at work. Thanks for sharing.

Meredith 1 year ago

I have this right now. It’s five thirty in the morning and I just had to hold myself to walk downstairs to let the dog out. The pain was so bad. Sitting isn’t so bad, but I needed to know what the hell was going on. So thank you, for telling your story. I’m of course overjoyed to say I have varicose veins in my vulva and that’s why I’m walking like a just took a punters kick to the crotch.

HT 1 year ago

I have a daughter and didn’t have it with her but now that I am 23 weeks pregnant with my twin boys I don’t have pain down there but noticed a small tiny bump and was like what! And I noticed it’s a vein and just researched and found your article, I just hope I don’t get in pain like you but having twins it might b starting!

Regula 1 year ago

I m at week 10 of my second pregnancy and the vv started to pop up more than a week ago already. In the exact same spot then during my first pregnancy only about 15 weeks earlier.

Marce 1 year ago

I’ve been searching for info on this since my last baby. Now with my third – the V.V. showed up even earlier – with a vengeance! I’ve been walking around at work with a ice pack between my legs because of the horrible itchiness. The doctor kept suggesting I had an STD – thanks for the vote of confidence there, doc.


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