Are Vulvar Varicose Veins Dangerous?

December 3, 2020
December 3, 2020 Dr Zil

Having a child can often be one of the most rewarding and challenging journeys a woman can undergo. Along with the emotional, intellectual and social hurdles, the physical ones are often the most immediate. Whether it’s morning sickness, pain and cramping or the myriad of other physical changes that come with pregnancy, it is one of the most physically tumultuous and arduous things a person can go through. One particular physical change that often affects women during and after pregnancy is vulvar varicosities or vulva varicose veins.

What are vulvar varicose veins?

Varicose veins are caused when our vein valves are no longer functioning properly. When the vein valves become weak or faulty, they no longer propel blood back to the heart and instead, blood collects in your vein. It’s currently the most prevalent venous condition in the country, affecting almost one-third of the population.

Largely impacting the legs and feet, varicose veins can form in other parts of the body as well.

Women who are pregnant or have recently had a child can often develop varicose veins in the vulvar. In fact, around a quarter of pregnant women develop vulvar varicosities.

Vulva varicose veins can often cause discomfort and an unpleasant visual appearance, remaining for up to six or eight weeks after birth, sometimes longer.

Are vulva varicose veins dangerous?

Any unusual changes in your body can be concerning, especially during pregnancy. The good news is that while there’s a small chance of bleeding during childbirth, there’s virtually no risk of any complication or damage due to these varicosities.

Like most varicose veins that form during pregnancy, they often go away by themselves 6-8 weeks after giving birth and generally aren’t a long-term concern.

Learn more: Managing vulva varicose veins.

How do I treat vulva varicose veins?

The physical appearance of vulvar varicosities can make it hard to feel like yourself, and with all the upheaval and changes with a baby in your life, it’s the last thing you want to worry about. Thankfully treating and managing them isn’t too difficult at all!

Managing the symptoms

  • Sleep on your left side, using a pregnancy pillow.
  • Keep well hydrated throughout the day.
  • Avoid wearing high heels.
  • Avoid staying in one position for too long. Stand up and go for a short walk or shift your weight to keep blood flowing.

Diagram of a normal functioning vein with healthy vein valves, a varicose vein with damaged vein valves and then an image of how the varicose vein looks when compressed by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.

Reduce the risk of occurrence

  • Maintain regular exercise during pregnancy (daily walks of at least 20 minutes are ideal)
  • Maintain a healthy diet, low on fat and sugar, high in plant-based foods like berries, asparagus and other fruit and veggies.
  • Wear compression stockings (knee-high is fine) daily.
  • Avoid tight clothing or heeled shoes.

While the majority of vulvar varicosities occur in pregnant women, rare cases can affect women who aren’t pregnant. In such cases, it’s best to speak to your doctor or vein specialist, as it may be indicative of something more severe.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.

The benefits of non-surgical varicose vein treatment are:

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1300 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.