Most varicose veins—swollen, twisted, discolored veins—appear in the leg and ankle areas. However, labial varicose veins can appear during pregnancy in the vagina or vulva area.
Understanding Varicose Veins
Veins are the conduits within the body that transport blood back and forth from the extremities to the heart. Legs in the veins have to work extra hard against the forces of gravity to do their job. Varicose veins can appear if the valves in the veins become damaged or weak, which will then cause the blood to flow backward and pool in the veins. It is this pooling that causes the enlarged, often twisted veins.
Varicose Veins and Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the amount of blood in the body increases, and as such, creates an additional burden on the veins. Additionally, pregnancy causes progesterone levels to rise, which can cause the walls of the veins to relax. Many women also experience a weight gain that can add pressure to the veins. All of these factors can compound to cause the appearance of varicose veins.
While most varicose veins appear in the legs, they can appear in the vulva or labia during pregnancy. Symptoms of varicose veins—whether in the legs or the labia/vulva region—can include swelling, itching, burning, and an unsightly appearance.
Reducing and Treating Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
There are several things you can do to prevent or reduce varicose veins, including:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Elevate your legs when possible
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t cross your legs/ankles
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time
If you experience varicose veins in the vulva or labia areas during pregnancy, traditional treatments are not recommended. In most cases, the veins will disappear after delivery when the pressure is relieved. Should the veins not disappear, you should discuss the condition with your physician.
At St. Louis Laser Vein Center, we are experienced in all vein issues and conditions. We can help you, no matter if these vein conditions appear during pregnancy or at other times. We will help you find the best procedures and treatments to help you eliminate varicose veins. Just give us a call to set up a consultation.