Solutions and Treatments for Vulvar Varicosities (During Pregnancy)
The Art of Losing Myself and the Painfully Pregnant Pause
Before I discuss the solutions for vulvar varicose veins, I wanted to briefly discuss my own personal struggle with this issue of pressure and pain. If you just want the goods, feel free to skip down to the Solutions and Treatments section.
… Pregnancy has become a painful time for me. Now on my third, I’m pretty sure it will be my last just because I don’t want the bottom to fall out (specifically my bottom to fall out). It started at the end of my first with an inguinal hernia, what a surgeon told me was a sports hernia. Other docs told me that I had weak ligaments down there further weakened by multiple pregnancies and the role of pregnancy hormones. Then with this pregnancy came the wretched pressure and pain of what doctors call vulvar varicosities which are varicose veins in your lady parts. I don’t even look down there anymore. But the most unpleasant part isn’t the way it looks but the pain and pressure which increases as my baby and uterus increase in size. The only relief I have found is laying down. This has been sort of depressing to me since I love to be active and feel I will have to spend the next 3 months in a horizontal position.
During my prayer time this morning, I was just telling God how I feel about pregnancy. It wouldn’t be so awful if I didn’t have to completely lose myself. All that makes me – me. All that I love..(Okay that’s an exaggeration but a lot of things that make me, me, and a lot of things that I love.) I mean I love to stay active, walk everywhere I possibly can, have fun challenging workouts every day, have sex with my husband, keep a clean house, make creative healthy meal plans, grocery shop, and make those creative healthy meals, take my girls to the playground, spend time at night with my husband after the kids go to bed, drink wine, eat sushi, have clear thoughts, take ADD medicine. These are things that I love to do, that are usually a part of my daily life. But during most of my pregnancy, this all has to be put on hold.
This may seem a little off topic, but it has to do with what God said to me. So, my husband showed me this video last night:
Global Warming Debate – Ted Cruz
Okay, so it doesn’t have much to do with this debate (other than the global warming I’m experiencing within my own pregnant body!), but it is pretty funny…and God used something, one thing they had said.
God merely said, “pregnant pause”. He was kind enough to say only this. I’m sure that He saw in my thoughts all the scripture that was backing up the fact that I was declaring pregnancy a time of “losing myself” and based on scripture, how holy and wondrous a season it must be. I think I would have stuck my tongue out at Him if He had said anything along those lines. But He reminded me, it’s not for very long, it’s merely a “pause”. He said, “Lauren, you are so often in fast forward or rewind. Sometimes it is good to just pause, not even play, just pause.”
So from that healthy spiritual place that He brought me into like He does (for a moment, until I break down in tears and start complaining to Him again…thank God He is patient), I wanted to write a post for those that are struggling with pain and pressure of pregnancy that you may not want to talk about to anyone.
Solutions and Treatments for Vulvar Varicosities During Pregnancy
Here are some of the SOLUTIONS and TREATMENTS that I have found from scouring the internet for what worked for others. Unfortunately it’s not much, but there may be something to help you. It seems from reading others’ experiences that you just have to keep trying solutions until you find the one that brings you relief.
Number One: This V2 supporter belt. This seems to be what very many women have said helped them. Apparently it needs to be tight so order the size according to your weight despite reviews that would suggest otherwise. There are over 300 reviews on Amazon, and most of them very positive. Also, across the interwebs In blog and article comments, this is the item that most women are talking about as a sort-of solution to VV. I am ordering this today right after I return “number two” on my list, and I will update with my results.
Number Two: Baby Belly Band Abdominal Belt and Compression Groin Bands I am returning this because the relief that it provided was not equal to or better than the discomfort or inconvenience of wearing the thing. Plus, I already feel like a fat cow and it is cumbersome and squeezes parts of my body into an even more unattractive figure. The bands just simply do not apply enough pressure to the groin area to relieve very much of the pain and pressure of the veins and hernia.
Number Three: SRC Pregnancy Shorts. I may result to this, but due to the cost I am going to try the V2 belt first. But that said, these have received reviews that claim that they are life-changing and relieve pain to the point that you can return back to exercise and normal activity (which is alluring to me)
Here are some of those reviews for the SRC shorts
Supplements for V.V.
This was recommended by a midwife. Most of the reviews on Amazon are talking about relief for sinus issues and congestion, but it’s so inexpensive, it may be worth a try. Another is homeopathic hamamelis virginiana 9C. Here is an article that talks about many natural remedies for vv (like yoga, acupuncture, and chiropractic) including homeopathic supplements.
Number Five: Witch Hazel Compress I have not found many reviews or comments that mention this as a solution that brought relief to pain. But again, it’s cheap enough that it’s worth a shot. And if it doesn’t bring you relief for vv, you could always just use them for your face.
Number Six: Essential Oils for Varicose Veins You may need to talk to an essential oil consultant, nurse, or midwife on where it is and isn’t safe to rub essential oils, but here is a link that discusses which oils are good for treatment of varicose veins. The article suggest using these oils by adding it to water either warm or cool and alternating warm/cool compresses. Also, warm baths with oils added and massaging directly on affected area (see my previous comment on this). The oils suggested for shrinking were Cypress and Juniper which may be good for the embarrassment factor, but I’m mostly interested in pain relief. Here are the oils that are listed for SOOTHING:
- Geranium: this is the brand that I use. Much cheaper and works just as well in my experience of the other oils.
Number Seven: Vein Health Support This has the best reviews out of all the supplements that you take orally. All of the ingredients in it are the nutrients , plants, and herbs that I kept coming across in my research. Also, this isn’t too expensive for a month’s supply.
Number Eight: Other treatments include…
Ice and Elevate: Use a cool compress when you are able to bring relief. And also when you lay down, lay on your left side (to take pressure off veins, left side works best), and prop a pillow under your hips to elevate them.
Other articles and blog sources on Vulvar Varicosities:
Some good news please?
The good news is that it seems these usually do not cause problems during delivery and go away right after birth. If they don’t, there are some treatment options where doctors perform a tiny, short surgery and place coils within the veins. Many women that commented about having this procedure done had great things to say, but there was the testimony of one woman where the coil came loose and became life-threatening. So…if you get to a point post partum where they are not going away, you may ask your doctor about options.
Please, please feel free to comment on what helped you. It may help the next woman reading this. And thank you very much to the women writers of the blogs linked above for being open, honest, and vocal on this topic.
****Update: I am using two different braces. One is the gabriella pregnancy belt and the other is a hernia belt I bought at a medical store. I believe this hernia belt is pretty much equivalent. I also wear workout shorts like these UNDERNEATH all of the braces, over my underwear to prevent chafing (<–highly recommend doing this) The result? Last week, in addition to working and general housework and baby/toddler-care, I was able to go for a one mile stroller walk to the playground with my girls twice. And yesterday, I went for a glorious 40 minute, 2 mile walk. I felt somewhat like a stuffed sausage, BUT I had zero additional pain in the evening. Hope this helps someone out there! It is great to be able to go walking again!!!***
BTW!!! I’ve started a workout program with BeachBody called PiYo and it feels incredible during this point in my pregnancy. Here is a a link to an 8 week free printable Piyo Workout Calendar. I highly recommend this workout to anyone pregnant.