Varicose veins are fairly simple to recognize once they begin to develop. These veins typically present as twisted or bulging bumps across the legs or knees that tend to lean towards shades of red, purple, or blue. While some individuals suffering from varicose veins seek cosmetic treatment based purely on aesthetic preferences, others seek help from a professional clinic due to the fact that varicose veins can be accompanied by a lineup of painful symptoms. More severe cases of varicose veins are endured alongside pain, swelling, cramping, or even heat in the affected area that has the potential to disrupt normal movement or everyday activities over the long-term.
While it’s common for varicose veins to develop on the legs, this isn’t the exclusive region of the body susceptible to their occurrence. In fact, varicose veins are also seen showing up along the torso, face, and genitalia.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
There are a few reasons pointed to for the development of varicose veins. Many physicians point to underlying venous insufficiencies as a primary reason for their development. Veins are charged with moving blood throughout the body, back and forth between extremities and the heart. In the event that one of the valves within the veins that work to keep blood flowing the right direction stops working, blood quickly pools in the legs and puts pressure on veins. With time, veins begin to swell causing varicose veins to develop.
Alternatively, some physicians point to factors that are out of an individual’s control such as family history or the natural aging process as the primary reason behind the development of varicose veins. Those women that suffer from the development of vulvar varicose veins, in particular, are often dealing with a condition brought on by a combination of hormonal fluctuation during pregnancy as well as blood flow and weight changes during gestation.
Understanding Vulvar Varicose Veins
Vulvar varicose veins are those that appear near and around the female genitalia. During pregnancy, blood more readily circulates throughout the body, specifically around the pelvic area, to accommodate the growing baby. When blood flows in a more concentrated direction towards the pelvic region, it tends to move more slowly through the lower body including the vulvar region as well as the legs. As blood pools in these areas, pressure on the vein walls can cause them to swell, leading to the development of uncomfortable vulvar varicose veins. Weight fluctuations and hormonal imbalances that occur throughout pregnancy can add to the overall pressure on the vulvar region, creating discomfort for women who suffer from this specific condition.
Fortunately, for many women who develop vulvar varicose veins during pregnancy, the condition isn’t always a long-lasting one. Many women see these veins reduce or disappear entirely within six weeks of giving birth.
How to Reduce Symptoms
During pregnancy, there are a number of techniques for reducing any pain or discomfort that might be associated with vulvar varicose veins. Many physicians recommend women in this condition consider wearing a support garment during pregnancy that takes some pressure off the vulvar region. It’s been shown that sitting or standing for extended periods of time can aggravate symptoms associated with vulvar varicose veins. Regularly adjusting your position between sitting, standing, and walking throughout the day is a good way to moderate discomfort. Elevating the legs is a simple way to promote healthy blood flow throughout the lower extremities and has been shown to improve symptoms while more severe cases may require ice packs to be regularly applied to the affected area.
For those women who do not see vulvar varicose veins disappear after giving birth, cosmetic physicians can offer plenty of options for reducing or eliminating them over time. Sclerotherapy is a popular choice amongst patients as it’s considered a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that has shown to have successful results and a short recovery period. During a sclerotherapy varicose veins treatment, a local anesthetic is applied to maintain maximum comfort during the procedure. A combination of anesthetic and sclerosant is then injected directly into the problematic vein, irritating it to the point of closure and collapse. The collapsed vein is eventually reabsorbed naturally into the body, leaving smooth skin in its wake and encouraging blood to flow freely through healthy and efficient nearby veins.
Contact Dr. Wright and His Team Today
Whether you’re suffering from vulvar varicose veins or those that have developed elsewhere across the body, contacting Dr. Wright and his team at the St. Louis Laser Vein Center is a great first step towards making a significant change. We take a comprehensive approach to patient care and believe in customized treatment plans that fit patient preferences. Contact us today to learn more about our many options for treating varicose veins as well as our vast lineup of cosmetic services to help you reach your aesthetic and health goals.
Vulvar Varicose Veins FAQs
Question: Why do Varicose Veins get worse during pregnancy?
During the first trimester of pregnancy, hormones are released that cause relaxation of veins. This promotes blood to go in the wrong direction (reflux) which may cause varicose veins. The fact that most varicose veins appear during the first trimester suggests that it has more to do with hormones than with weight gained.