Vaginal Varicose Veins and Other Pregnancy Complaints That Yes, Exist

Vaginal Varicose Veins and Other Pregnancy Complaints That Yes, Exist-MainPhoto

Vaginal Varicose Veins and Other Pregnancy Complaints That Yes, Exist-MainPhoto

The longer I was pregnant, the sooner I realized, there were so many strange things happening to my body that no one had ever clued me in about. It wasn’t until I had my own bun in the oven that more and more women felt eager to share their own pregnancy symptoms with me. Some of the more peculiar pregnancy complaints I didn’t believe, until they, in fact, happened to me.

Now, this isn’t about harping on the complaints of pregnancy. Childbirth is an absolute blessing!  But I, for example, was unaware that being pregnant also meant getting ready for a good amount of constipation. Lord, have mercy!

Plus, have you heard of vaginal varicose veins? Well, I hadn’t. And that happens too. So do nosebleeds and hemorrhoids.

Plus, have you heard of vaginal varicose veins? Well, I hadn’t. And that happens too. So do nosebleeds and hemorrhoids.

It turns out pregnancy is not just about a beautiful glow, luscious hair, and long nails. It’s the not-so-sexy parts that matter too. Am I right, ladies?

So, when it comes to the not-so-attractive pregnancy symptoms that women around the world will experience for as long as humanity reproduces (or science makes some serious moves), we want to help you avoid some unpleasant surprises.

Don’t Be Surprised by These Pregnancy Symptoms

Here is what you need to know about 5 top pregnancy complaints that do exist.

1. Vaginal Varicose Veins

The weight and pressure of your uterus can decrease blood flow from your lower body and cause the veins in your vulva, the external area of your vagina, to become swollen, sore and blue, according to the American College of Obstetricians (ACOG).

Vaginal varicose veins, also known as vulvar varicosities, tend to occur most often during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, it’s a cosmetic problem that fades away after delivery, but for some women, the condition can be painful.

Symptoms of vulvar varicosities include a feeling of fullness or pressure in the vulva area along with vulvar swelling and discomfort. In extreme cases, the dilated vessels can look like worms. Long periods of standing, exercise, and sex can also aggravate the condition, report experts at the Mayo Clinic.

If you’re destined for vaginal varicose veins, there is no way to stop them, but the ACOG recommends a few ways to get the swelling and soreness to subside including:

  • Moving around frequently to avoid sitting or stand for long periods of time.
  • Do not sit with your legs crossed for a long time.
  • Prop your legs up on a couch, chair, or footstool as often as you can.
  • Exercise regularly such as walking, swimming, or riding an exercise bike.
  • Wear support hose or compression socks when possible.
  • Avoid constipation (which worsens the condition) by eating foods high in fiber and drinking plenty of liquids.

2. Nosebleeds

Perhaps you haven’t experienced a nosebleed (or epistaxis) in your life, but it could be your next pregnancy symptom. This is because more blood flows through your body during pregnancy , which can cause the lining of your nose and airway to swell, dry out, or bleed. The increase in blood flow can also cause bleeding gums.

Experts at the March of Dimes website say the increased circulation can also lead to a constant stuffy or runny nose even if you have no cold symptoms, especially during the winter months. These pregnancy symptoms often begin towards the end of the first trimester and could continue until after delivery.

Nosebleeds can be awkward, unpredictable, and highly frustrating. Here are some ways to try and make this pregnancy complaint go away.

3. Darkening of Areola and Skin

It’s a pregnancy symptom that will make some women do a double take as they pass by a mirror and think, what happened to my boobs!?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can produce a wide range of skin changes, and darkening skin is one of them, according to the March of Dimes. For many women, the nipples become darker and browner during pregnancy. Don’t panic. This is common and usually lightens up after delivery.

Other areas of your body can also experience skin darkening such as the dark line that develops on a pregnant woman’s stomach (also known as linea negra). Darker skin can also happen over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. These spots are called melasma or chloasma, and are more common in darker-skinned women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH).

4. Constipation and Hemorrhoids

As if the first three pregnancy symptoms weren’t enough, constipation is no stranger during pregnancy, and neither are its counterpart, hemorrhoids, explain the experts at the U.S. National Library of Medicine. And you can blame the hormones.

According to the Office of Women’s Health (OWH), higher hormone levels due to pregnancy slow down digestion, and relax muscles in the bowels, leaving many women constipated. Plus, the pressure of the expanding uterus on the bowels can contribute to constipation.

It’s important to take steps to alleviate or prevent constipation, especially because the condition can cause hemorrhoids. Try these tips from the OWH:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.
  • Don’t drink caffeine.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods including fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables, and whole-grain cereals and bread.
  • Try mild physical activity.

Hemorrhoids can be incredibly uncomfortable, and somewhat embarrassing, but by no means are they uncommon.  Up to 50% of childbearing ladies have hemorrhoids as one of their top pregnancy complaints, according to the OWH. That’s because during pregnancy blood volume increases greatly, which can cause veins to enlarge in the rectum. The expanding uterus can also put even more pressure on this area. Here are some tips on how to avoid them:

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, raw or cooked leafy green vegetables, and fruits.
  • Try not to strain with bowel movements.
  • Talk to your doctor about using products such as witch hazel to soothe hemorrhoids.

5. Vivid Dreams or Nightmares

Some women may experience other types of pregnancy symptoms, for instance, a change in their dreaming patterns. There is no perfect explanation for this, but it is not uncommon for women to report more frequent or vivid dreaming, as well as nightmares.

The American Pregnancy Association (APA) reports that although pregnancy dreams remain a source of mystery in many scientific fields, there are different possibilities as to why varying dream patterns occur.

One cause is due to the increase in hormone production. Hormones may impact your emotions and your anxiety. They will also impact the way your brain processes information, possibly resulting in a different kind of dreaming while you are pregnant.

Officials with the APA tell us another cause is the disruption of normal sleep patterns. When pregnant women aren’t sleeping comfortably, or have the urge to pee throughout the night, it can impact our REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is the time that dreaming occurs.

Well, that’s your fair warning.  Although we do realize that there are a lot more “pregnancy symptoms that no one really wants to talk about” that can be added to the list.

Every woman and every pregnancy are different.  If you have any questions or concerns, about your pregnancy it’s important to talk to your doctor or medical provider. And take comfort in knowing that whatever icky, or uncomfortable, pregnancy symptom you may be dealing with, you are never alone.  There is always another mom-to-be out there feeling your pain!

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