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What is the cause of vaginal varicose veins and vulval varicose veins?
Inside the female pelvis there are two ovarian veins and two internal iliac veins (previously called the hypogastric veins). These normally drain blood away from the pelvis and back towards the heart.
When the valves in these veins fail, blood refluxes down the ovarian veins or the internal iliac veins, causing pelvic vein reflux. When this pushes on organs in the pelvis, it is called pelvic venous congestion or pelvic congestion syndrome.
This blood flows backwards down into the pelvis and, if the veins of the vagina and vulva have been stretched during natural childbirth, blood can reflux into these veins. From here the blood can either dilate the vein itself causing vulval varicose veins or vaginal varicose veins, or can reflux through these veins and in to the leg veins causing varicose veins of the legs.