Pregnant women are starting to feel more comfortable discussing sexual issues due to pain in the pelvic area during sex. The condition causing this pain is known as pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) or varicose veins in the pelvic area. In PCS, the enlarged veins appear near the uterus, fallopian tubes, vulva and the vagina. Ten years ago only 2-3 cases of these were reported a year. Now 2-3 cases are being reported a month. There are new imaging techniques which make it easier to diagnose but treatment cannot be done while a woman is pregnant due to risks to the baby.
A growing baby puts pressure on the blood vessels in the abdomen causing aggravation on the varicose veins in the legs and the vagina. Usually varicose veins will return to normal after the baby is born. In some cases the varicose veins remain and if left untreated, other pregnancies will make the damage progressively worse. There is no reason to wait until you are done having babies to treat varicose veins. Once the veins are treated, they rarely come back.
Dr. Steven Shu of One Stop Medical Center, located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, treats varicose veins at his clinic. His suggestions for pregnant women to avoid or keep varicose veins from getting worse are using compression stockings specifically for pregnant women, stay off your feet for extended periods of time and elevate your feet as much as possible, keep your calf muscles in motion by walking, biking or swimming, flex your ankles frequently while sitting for long periods, and avoid excessive heat on your legs as it can lead to vein swelling and blood pooling.