Vaginal varicosities – or vaginal varicose veins – are not common, but they can cause severe pain or discomfort and affect how comfortable a woman feels in her body. We have experience successfully treating vaginal varicosities at Schulman Vein and Laser Center using injection treatments known as sclerotherapy. Though varicose veins of the vulva or vagina are rare, what causes varicose veins and the treatment of them is well-known, and a visit to our vein treatment center can clear up any worries.
What Causes Varicose Veins of the Vagina or Vulva?
Thankfully, most women never have to suffer the effects of vaginal varicosities, but the vast majority of women who do suffer have been pregnant. In fact, the women most at risk for vaginal varicose veins seem to be those who have been pregnant more than once.
- The increased hormones and blood flow of pregnancy can cause the veins to enlarge.
- Typically only the veins on one side of the vagina or vulva are affected.
- Delivering the baby frequently causes varicose or spider veins to disappear.
There is no way to know for sure if the vaginal varicose veins will fully disappear after pregnancy, but if any remain, we can use varicose vein removal and treatment methods to take care of them.
Before undergoing treatment for varicose veins of the vagina or vulva, we recommend women wait at least one to two months after delivery to see if the veins have improved or if they are no longer painful. If the veins still remain more than a month or two after delivery, we recommend sclerotherapy.
- In sclerotherapy, we inject the veins with a medication that causes them to constrict and send blood to other vessels.
- After constricting, the veins become significantly less noticeable and should clear up during recovery.
- Treatment of vaginal varicosities can be painful, but only during the injection process. Bruising and tenderness are common side effects.
While we have treated women very shortly after delivering their child, we only do so if there is severe discomfort and pain caused by the veins. Though the medications are approved by the FDA, and have been found to have no effect or interaction with other medications, we recommend that women “pump and dump” milk produced within 24-36 hours after treatment as an extra precaution.
Vaginal Varicosities and Vein Therapy
Fortunately most women never suffer from varicose veins of the vagina or vulva, but almost universally all those who do have been pregnant, and often more then once. These vaginal or vulvar varicose veins tend to be present on just one side of the vulva but can rarely occur on both. They often enlarge throughout a pregnancy as the uterus grows in size and weight, in addition to the increasing blood volume in the pregnant mother to be. Delivering the baby is the only situation whereby either varicose or spider veins go away on their own and in many cases they often will become remarkably better right after your delivery. There is no sure way to know if they will fully resolve and disappear but most often there is just a partial, yet still significant, improvement of vaginal veins after the delivery. Treating vaginal and vulvar veins can be painful but just for a short time during the injections. Afterwards there may be bruising and tenderness, both temporary, as this area is hard to compress with wraps like veins treated elsewhere. As for the timing of these veins we have a few suggestions:
- Wait at least a month or two after delivery to see if the veins have improved on their own or to see if you are free of pain
- If the veins are still present after a month or two post delivery they are probably not going to get any smaller on their own
- We have treated women very shortly after their delivery but only like to do so if there is severe pain and discomfort caused by the vaginal veins
- When treating breast feeding mothers we insist on being overly cautious. Milk present in your breasts during treatment is already ‘made’ and fine to use after treatment. We suggest for the next 24 or 36 hours after vaginal vein therapy, you ‘pump and dump’ any milk to be extra vigilant for your baby. We would always much prefer to be extra careful then to be cavalier.
Schedule Your Vein Screening
If you are experiencing vaginal varicosities, please contact one of our offices for more information on what you can do about them during pregnancy and to consult with us about potential treatments after delivering your baby.