I have been writing a series on pelvic and vaginal varicose veins this week. I posted an article on vulvar varicose veins but did not really get into the topic of vaginal varicose veins very much an so will do so now. Again, the problem of vaginal varicose veins is a delicate one and one that most women do not readily bring up to their medical providers. It is simply too embarrassing. I understand that and so sit back and read this post knowing that no one is looking over your shoulder.
Vaginal varicose veins are actually fairly common. They tend to arise due to prior or current pregnancy and are the result of veins in the vulva and vagina becoming distended and stretched. They can swell, be painful, and result in painful or embarrassing intercourse as well. They are truly life altering when present and can be dealt with.
First lets discuss the reasons that they show up. Pregnancy is number one and with any amount of luck will they will disappear after delivery. This is not always the case however and if not than seeing a varicose vein treatment specialist is the next step. The other common reason for vaginal varicose veins is something called pelvic venous congestion. This is where the veins higher up in the pelvis don’t work very well anymore and cause the stretching and swelling of the vaginal veins. This can happen at any time during the course of life and again seeing a vein specialist or at least a Gynecologist is a good first move.
Treatment for this problem has come a long way. If you are diagnosed with the pelvic venous congestion problem and this is the source of the varicose veins in the vagina then a catheter procedure done under imaging guidance can make a huge improvement. On the other hand if the offending vaginal veins are isolated to that area and not caused by the deep pelvic veins than a treatment such as sclerotherapy may be enough to eliminate them. Both of these are done as an outpatient and don’t require any type of general anesthesia. Recovering is nearly painless and the results can be fantastic. Ultimately these treatments are a small price to pay for the elimination of the vaginal swelling and pain and to be able to enjoy intercourse without the pain and embarrassment.
My advice: Don’t be shy. We as providers have seen this before and won’t be surprised or embarrassed to help you solve this problem and move on with your life.
I have written much more on vaginal varicose veins as well as leg varicose veins and spider veins in my book “The Vein Game“. Check it out!