The accompanying tiredness and morning sickness as a result of pregnancy is well documented and accepted as a part of being a new mum to-be, however there is one common symptom which is not generally discussed…

Internationally renowned vascular specialist, Professor Mark Whiteley, believes it is time for pregnant women to be made aware of the most hidden symptom of pregnancy – varicose veins of the vulva.

Varicose veins of the vagina and vulva is a condition most frequently seen in women during pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women are unaware that the condition even exists, which is why Professor Mark Whiteley and his specialist team at The Whiteley Clinic are on a mission to make women more aware of this uncomfortable condition and to reassure them that it can be treated.

Varicose veins of the vulva and vagina commonly stem from pelvic or ovarian vein reflux and first present themselves during pregnancy. The condition can be very uncomfortable for those affected, with symptoms including; pelvic aching, dragging pain, an increase in stress incontinence and IBS, and discomfort around the bladder/rectum caused by the distended veins pushing against them.

Being pregnant does not specifically cause varicose veins to occur, however, if a woman already has the underlying venous condition then pregnancy can ‘bring it to the surface’ and ultimately worsen it.

Whilst many in the medical sphere believe there to be no suitable treatment for the condition, Professor Whiteley and his specialist team at The Whiteley Clinic strongly disagree – having studied the condition for the past fifteen years – and offer patients a pioneering procedure known as Coil Embolisation. The procedure, which has previously been used to treat varicose veins of the testicles, uses an X-Ray technique to place a metal coil within the problem vein and block off the blood vessel. The procedure has been proven to treat the veins from the root of the problem, both quickly and effectively and provides long term results.

Professor Whiteley comments: “During pregnancy, women must be made aware of the existence of varicose veins of the vulva because, if left untreated, it can lead to uncomfortable and often painful consequences. Women often find that the troublesome veins disappear following the birth of their child, but what they don’t realise it that the veins are likely to come back with a vengeance during any further pregnancy if there is an underlying issue that has not been treated. It is therefore much better to get checked out early by a specialist to avoid any future problems.”