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Varicose Veins in my HooHa

Varicose Veins in my HooHa

I was in my second trimester when I started feeling a lot of pressure and discomfort, you know, “down there”.  Different than the normal pregnancy swelling “down there”.  I began feeling the pressure after sitting or standing for long periods or when putting my feet on the floor in the morning when getting out of bed.  In the beginning, I just chucked it up to this being my second pregnancy.  No biggie.  This is what happens.  I can suck it up 4-5 more months.

Then it got worse.  There is so much pressure and everything feels swollen.  I no longer feel like a lovely, glowing, pregnant woman.  I now feel like I have lumpy, swollen, saggy balls hanging between my thighs and am the most unattractive female.  How could my husband possibly be attracted to this?!

Now, I know what you are thinking. Quit complaining about pregnancy.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I, as a physical therapist, should know all about this pregnancy symptom.  For goodness sakes, I work in pelvic floor physical therapy.  Yes, but I am still embarrassed about this symptom and have found it affecting my emotional well-being.  

I finally muscled up the courage in my 22 weeks of pregnancy (8 weeks too long of having this silly pressure) to have my co-workers do a pelvic floor muscle assessment and tell me what is going on “down there”.

I grabbed the mirror and looked at the swollen, tender, purple-blueish, lumpy labia.

Sure enough, I am the lucky owner of varicose veins in my vulvar area and labial tissue.  These lovely varicosities are caused by the extra blood flow in my pelvis as well as the pressure my growing uterus is putting on my vulva and pelvis.  Having these lumpy veins is similar to having hemorrhoids, just one room over.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for varicose veins in the labia and vulvar region.  I get to carry the extra set of twins “down there” for the next 4 months.  Again, lucky me.  As if my enlarged breasts, growing belly and 30 pound toddler aren’t enough to carry around all day.  

 For temporary relief, I decided to buy compression/support garments which I wore over my panties to lift and support my perineum.  I tried a Babybellyband for abdominal, back and pelvic support with groin straps.  I likes the way it lessened the pressure in my pelvis, but the support changes so I had to re-adjust the straps each time I used the restroom.  I don’t have time to play games with the straps, so I moved on to the next product.

Because I was unable to find full relief with the Babybellyband, I decided to order the V2 supporter (which looks more like a modified jock strap with a hint of lace).  I suppose that extra touch is intended to make me feel “sexy”. Haha-we will see about that! The V2 gave me relief and I have been putting it on as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning. Totally worth every penny.  I noticed more of the swelling in my legs with wearing the V2, so I also purchased a pair of pregnancy compression hose from Juzo and wore both together.  I felt amazing and had no pressure with wearing both of them together.  Probably more comfortable for a winter pregnancy than a summer pregnancy though (third Trimester might I add). 

I have been an emotional mess over this pregnancy symptom. I don’t like having varicose veins in my labia. What am I supposed to say when someone asks how my pregnancy is going? Smile and say, “Everything is great!” while inside, I’m saying “My varicose veins are really uncomfortable today, and causing me a lot of pressure.  Have you ever experienced “catamarans” in your pregnancy? They’re a great companion!”

As I researched the issue, I found about 4% of pregnant women report suffering from varicosities in their pelvis during pregnancy.  I beg to differ.  Who wants to report this symptom?  I guarantee the majority of pregnant women who have vulvar varicosities are not reporting it.  Pregnant women discuss nausea and cravings with regularity, yet no one discusses varicose veins in their pelvis.  That is why I wanted to write this blog, as uncomfortable as it may be – to let those women know that they are not alone. 

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at amanda@foundationalconcepts.net.  I’ll get back to you with my support between my legs.

Amanda Fisher, DPT

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