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Varicose Veins

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Most people understand that varicose veins can be found in the legs and feet. And while this is mostly true, they can also manifest in the vulva. This is generally why most women who develop from vulva varicosities don’t notice it until the condition begins to worsen.

What are Labia Varicosities?

Vulvar varicosities, also commonly referred to as labia varicosities, are a condition when the veins in the labia minora or Majora become dilated.

Like any other part of the human body, the vulva is interconnected through an extensive reach of large and small blood vessels. During pregnancy, the increase in weight and pressure may reduce blood flow to the lower body and genitals. This will then cascade into the condition known as Labia varicosities.

While no one is fully exempt from developing vulvar varicose veins, the condition is more apparent in pregnant women. Moreover, pregnant women are more susceptible to developing pelvic varicosities due to the pressure and weight exerted by the baby.

However, in most cases, the condition does go away after giving birth. Ideally, you should start feeling better within six to eight weeks from the delivery time. Unfortunately, in some women, the dilated veins do not recover independently and need medical intervention to help fix the condition and get you back to your normal self.

Most people understand that varicose veins can be found in the legs and feet. And while this is mostly true, they can also manifest in the vulva. This is generally why most women who develop from vulva varicosities don’t notice it until the condition begins to worsen.

There are numerous veins supplying blood to and from the vulva. And since they all differ in size, there’s no sure way to tell if you’re developing pelvic varicosities. The impact may leave them moderately swollen from the varying size of the veins, especially in the smaller veins. Larger veins may get twisted and become painful over time. This further goes to assert the importance of consulting a healthcare professional if you’re uncertain.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Pelvic Varicosities?

As highlighted above, pelvic congestion syndrome can manifest in varying ways. As a result, there’s no one standard sign or symptom associated with the condition.

However, many women suffering from pelvic varicosities report a dull but recurring pain. While the pain may come and go, certain factors and situations can worsen the pain. Some of the situations that could lead to chronic pain include;

  • Standing up for extended periods of time
  • Sitting for long or remaining inactive
  • The period leading to menstruation
  • In the evenings
  • In the mid or late stages of a pregnancy
  • During or after sexual intercourse

While pain is the most recorded symptom associated with labial varicosities, some women also note a different combination of recurring symptoms. These are likely influenced by the severity and advancement of the condition. Other pelvic congestion syndrome symptoms include;

  • Experiencing overly painful menstruation (commonly called dysmenorrhea)
  • Excessive or abnormal bleeding during menstruation
  • Swelling of the vulva or vagina
  • Irritable bowel syndromes
  • Backache
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Depression
  • Hip pain
  • Change in the vaginal discharge
  • The appearance of varicose veins around the legs, buttocks, and vulva
  • Abdominal tenderness

Whether alone or part of a combination, you should consult a doctor if you notice these symptoms. This will help rule out any conditions, and if it is indeed a pelvic congestion disorder, they can begin the treatment process.

What Causes Vulvar Varicosities?

  • There is ongoing research concerning the causes and risk factors associated with pelvic congestion syndrome. However, the most commonly known cause of vulvar varicosities is pregnancy.
  • Blood vessels such as veins contain valves whose task is to prevent blood from flowing back. Veins in the abdominal and lower parts of the body have to work against factors such as gravity to ensure smooth and uninterrupted blood flow.
    However, pregnancy can lead to the dilation of veins.
  • Consequently, this means the valves have to work even harder to keep blood flowing in the proper direction. This dilation can go unnoticed in the initial stages, making pelvic congestion syndrome hard to detect in the early days.
  • Other factors, such as the pregnancy’s pressure on the lower body and the increased blood flow to the genitalia, can alter valves’ normal working and efficiency, which then results in the development of varicose veins.
  • Recent research also shows that pelvic congestion syndrome runs in the family. So, if a relative or someone genetically close to you has encountered a case of vulvar varicosities, you too may be at risk. To combat this situation, you can schedule regular checkups with your physician to ensure no signs of pelvic congestion syndrome.
  • Pelvic tumors have also been identified as a causative and accelerant agent to labia varicose veins. If you’re worried you may have a pelvic tumor – or any other previously undiagnosed tumor, you should seek professional medical services immediately.

Testing and Diagnosis of Pelvic Varicose Veins

From the list shared above regarding the common signs and symptoms associated with pelvic congestion syndrome, you can tell most are either common or can be easily misdiagnosed. For example, if you’re having recurring back pain, you could easily get some pain relievers thinking that to be the problem.

Medically, doctors may need to run a number of tests before diagnosing the condition. This is a result of the various associative symptoms. Moreover, since there’s such a vast array of symptoms, healthcare providers need to rule out other possible underlying causes for the symptoms.

Some of the procedures you can expect when getting vulvar varicose veins include;

  • A laparoscopy. This is a relatively small and minimally invasive surgical procedure where the doctor inserts a small camera inside the pelvis for a clearer and objective look.
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan
  • A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
  • An ultrasound tests
  • A venogram exam

In most ideal cases, the healthcare provider will opt for the ultrasound examination. Besides being simple, non-intrusive, and quick, an ultrasound exam can detect varicosities and assess the blood flow.

Seeing a doctor can prove beneficial, even when you’re exhibiting some or none of the apparent symptoms. This is largely because some women with developing labial varicosities show little-to-no symptoms other than swollen veins.

The other importance of seeing a doctor whenever you start exhibiting these signs is to get ahead of any underlying health conditions. Pelvic congestion syndrome is often the sign of other health issues, especially regarding the body’s circulatory system. For instance, through an examination, pelvic varicose veins could help identify varicose veins in other parts of the body.

Pelvic congestion syndrome is rarely a permanent condition. Most of the symptoms will likely disappear within six to eight weeks of giving birth.

However, if you have previously developed labial varicosities during a previous pregnancy, chances are high the condition will come back during the next pregnancy. In these cases, the recurring pelvic congestion syndrome will be more painful with every subsequent pregnancy.

Even when the varicosities disappear on their own, it’s still vital to speak with your doctor. This will help kick in preventative measures to ensure the condition doesn’t recur.

So, you’ve noticed a few worrying signs, gone to the doctor, had tests run, and the results are out; you have pelvic congestion syndrome. What next?

Well, the treatment approach largely depends on whether you’re pregnant or not. If you are pregnant, the best cause of action is alleviating the pain and discomfort and eliminating the symptoms.

This treatment option for pregnant women is aimed at alleviating any pain and accompanying symptoms. To achieve this, the healthcare provider may use various medications, including;

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Chronic pain relief medication such as gabapentin and amitriptyline

In other cases, the faulty veins can be targeted, isolated, then closed off through minimally invasive procedures. Once these nonfunctional veins are closed, the body will naturally redirect venous blood to the healthier veins. Subsequently, the pelvic venous drainage will improve over time, taking away most, if not all, of the symptoms.

However, before these procedures are performed, your doctor may put you in an observation period lasting between six to twelve months. Since most varicosities disappear after eight weeks, the doctors may choose to give your body a chance to repair itself. Fortunately, you can still receive pain medication to alleviate any pain during this observation window.

You can also use various anecdotally proven methods to keep the situation from getting any worse. These anecdotal remedies include;

  • Avoid standing or sitting for too long
  • Avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes, such as high heels, which put more pressure on your lower body and back
  • Change positions regularly
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Elevate your legs periodically to improve blood circulation
  • Applying heat or ice on the painful areas
  • Wearing supportive underwear when pregnant –such as compression and support stockings while labial varicose veins are not usually dangerous, may lead to poor circulation in the lower parts of your body. This could then lead to blood pooling, which can cause deep vein thrombosis.

When these blood clots are in the deeper veins, they can break loose and move to other parts of the body. These cases, while rare, can lead to life-threatening complications.

Some of the signs of blood clots development include increased pain in the affected region, redness, swelling, and hardening. If you experience any of these, you should notify your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

As highlighted before, there are numerous symptoms that could warn against labial varicose veins. To be certain of what these symptoms could mean, you should see a doctor. The doctor will help you understand more about the condition and examine you for possible varicosities. If there’s a problem or complication, early detection is your best chance of getting effective treatment options.

Moreover, if you start experiencing the symptoms synonymous with deep vein thrombosis and blood clots, you should notify your healthcare provider. DVT cases can turn fatal when not meticulously handled.

Ultimately, labial varicosity is a condition that affects about 15 % of women. And while the symptoms will likely disappear in less than two months, it’s always important to consult a healthcare professional.

Seeing a doctor will help keep your mind at ease. Moreover, if there is a severe underlying condition, the healthcare professionals will identify and take the necessary actions. Seeing a doctor can also help you fight symptoms like chronic pain, which can significantly impact the quality of life.

Treatments for Labial Varicose Veins

Labial Varicose Veins

Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are harmless. Most people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. However, treatment will also alleviate the mild yet persistent discomfort this condition sometimes causes.

OUR PATIENTS SAY

Dr De Young is personable and thorough in his explanations. Exceptional. 

James R.

I am pleased to recommend La Jolla Vein & Vascular. I am in the process of receiving treatment there. The entire medical staff are super friendly, welcoming and very helpful. Everyone is courteous, including the physicians. I’ve had one doctor follow my case. He’s the one who always treats me at appointments and closely follows my health. I am very comfortable going there. Would go again if needed and encourage anyone who’s thinking of making an appointment to do so asap. You’ll see what a wonderful experience it is. It’s the people who make it so special!

Monica M.

From my greeting at the front desk to the ultrasound and visit with the doctor, I received excellent care. It’s clear they care about their patients and all the staff couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. I also appreciate how much time the doctor spent with me to explain the results and the next steps. I would definitely recommend this office to friends with vein issues. 

Anne S.

We were early and didn’t have to wait at all. The tech that did my husband’s ultrasound, Monica, was very accommodating with my husband’s Parkinson’s. Doctor Lucas whom we hadn’t seen before, came to us instead of making my husband walk down to another office. She spent a lot of time getting caught up on Steve’s background issues/conditions. I was impressed by this medical group before, so I was surprised that the staff was even better this time around; I honestly didn’t think there was room for improvement! 

Linda N.

I have been having leg treatments for several months now La Jolla Vein Care. Every time I go to an appointment; the staff is so friendly and takes such good care of me; always informative; not in a rush and always friendly (especially Alejandra & Anna to name a few). Of course Dr. Lucas is amazing. The treatments have changed my life. Overall this has been an incredible experience. 

Brigid Z.

Beautiful facility! I walked in without an appointment and they took me right away! It was even the end of the day…I was so grateful…Every single person was soooo pleasant! Super impressed ❤️ 

Susan M.

Highly recommend! Entire staff are warm& friendly, professional and accommodating. The doctor took the time to thoroughly explain everything and encouraged me to ask questions. I never felt rushed. Significantly better experience than the other 2 vein clinics I’ve been to on the east coast. I wish I could’ve just come here from the beginning. 

M.

The staff kept you informed as to when you would be seen and the wait was not too long. Emily took care of my ultrasound and was very accommodating giving me an extra pillow and playing a video to watch. The office is very courteous and professional- Nadia answered our questions and offered us a bottle of water. I have been seeing Dr. Bunke, but now Dr. Lucas and will continue coming to La Jolla Vein Care! 

Rebecca D.

I had the best experience at La Jolla Vein Care. Dr.Bunke is an amazing doctor with the best bedside manners, she truly cares about her patients, she explained everything to me. My procedures where so easy I was impressed how painless and fast my appointments. Anna M was very helpful scheduling my treatments and checking on me to make sure all of my questions were answered. I am very pleased thank you !!! I truly recommend La Jolla Vein Care!

Henda S.

Everyone here is so nice! Usually front desk medical personnel are so rude. The front desk ladies Alejandra, Anna, and I think her name is Liz, went above and beyond to take care of me and my insurance issues. The techs are great too! Rachel and a male technician assisted me…both of them implemented different techniques to make me feel more at ease during an uncomfortable and painful process. These procedures were rough…and I am grateful everyone was so sweet to me. Thanks again. 

Melissa B.

When I arrived for the first time, I could barely walk. My legs were red and swollen. After my treatments, I can now walk again. I’m so thankful to the doctor and his staff. They are caring, supporting and knowledgeable about my issues. Five Stars all the way!!!! 

Pamela M.

La Jolla Vein care has the best staff ever. They are so nice, accommodating and professional!! Dr. Bunke is the best doctor that I ever seen. She is so friendly upfront and has the best bed side manner. I thank this office for letting me be their patient. 💜. Plus they are so careful with COVID which I really appreciate!!! 

Darlene H.

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