What are vulval varicosities?

I have been diagnosed as having 'vulval varicosities'. Can you give me some more information on this condition? I'm seven months pregnant with my first child.

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Obstetrician Leonie says: Vulval varicosities are varicose veins of the vulva. A varicose vein is a vein that has become unusually dilated and full of blood.

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In pregnancy, the valves in the veins work less well due to pregnancy hormones, which can result in blood ‘pooling’ in the veins or make existing varicose veins worse.

A small number of women develop the same problem in the surface veins on the vulva – sometimes very large swollen veins can appear. These can cause irritation or an aching discomfort.

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment other than avoiding long periods of standing.

Worries that varicosities will rupture during delivery and cause heavy bleeding are unfounded; if bleeding does happen, this is not usually heavy and a vaginal birth is safe.

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Vulval varicosities disappear almost instantaneously with the delivery of the baby and it is unlikely you will ever get them again.

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