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Labial Veins - Cause For Concern?

Labial veins arising in pregnancy often disappear after delivery.  But what should you do about them?

Should you be concerned?  What can you do if they persist after the baby?


Why do they occur?  There are your hormone changes associated with pregnancy. 

Also  pressure occurs from your baby in the pelvis causing some restriction on blood returning to your heart.

Labial veins arise in part from pressure in the pelvis as venous blood. drains through itVessels about pelvis area illustrating how pelvic pressure can influence occurrence.

As noted before, you need to have a tendency to acquire varicose veins in order for vulvar varicose veins to occur.  Unlike lower in the leg there is not the same hydrostatic (or vertical column of fluid) pressure this high in your body.

In some people they can be very minor.  While others can have relatively large bulging, knotty veins.


Labial veins are part of your local skin circulation.  They have connections to the superficial external pudendal vein. 

Diagram showing the superficial external pudendal vein which drains labial veins.The labial vein drains via the superficial external pudendal vein.

Therefore they are similar to other varicose veins connected with the long (or great) saphenous vein.

Symptoms Associated With Labial Veins

In quite a few people they can be asymptomatic.  But some report uncomfortable heaviness and dragging associated with them.

These sensations can be eased with supportive panties with or without pantyhose.

It helps to know such symptoms will disappear after delivery.

Bleeding Problems

Unlike lower leg varicose veins, they do not tend to bleed spontaneously. 

At times though, people do report a bulging bleeding vein in labia.  This will likely be after skin trauma, breaking the overlying surface.

The other situation where they can present problems is at delivery.

For the vast majority of people there is no trouble from them.  Normal delivery and the baby's head pressure easily pushes them aside.

But a tear or episiotomy that breaks the tissue and the local vein can cause significant bleeding. 

It is just venous blood.  Therefore under much less pressure than an artery getting damaged in the same situation.

Any bleeding that does occur from these veins at delivery can be managed easily with local pressure and repair of the tear or episiotomy.


What about treatments?

Two situations could require specific therapy.

During your pregnancy if local support does not ease uncomfortable sensations associated with them treatment is an option.

Likewise if persistent vulvar varicose veins after pregnancy bother you they also can be managed at that time.

Your best management is by sclerotherapy - or injection - treatment with a specific solution for treating varicose veins.

The one I use most commonly has been employed since the 1940s giving it a long track record.  It was used in pregnancy before we became more cautious about medications at this time especially after thalidomide.   No concern was ever raised about it.  Its long history means it has been well tried.  Including in pregnancies. 

Just like with antibiotics, though, we tend not to use it unless really necessary.

Obviously, after pregnancy there is no similar concern. 

Due to the anatomy of a labial vein sclerotherapy is a relatively simple procedure and very effective.  It is endorsed internationally.

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