Vulvar edema? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 12-29-2010, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm 19 weeks now with my 4th and have the most uncomfortable case of vulval edema. It is uncomplicated by gestational diabetes or general edema, it's just entirely focused in my vulva (to be specific, both my labia majora and minor). Hooray!
The swelling gets so bad that I get itchy, my skin chafes between my labia where it's no longer getting air flow or sunlight (you know, if you could get sunlight...), and then it starts to SPLIT OPEN and BLEED. Seriously, I'm in agony. My midwife says it's unfortunately common for women having their 3rd and 4th but if this lasts through the entire rest of pregnancy I will probably have my tubes tied after birth. That is if I'm not currently in jail for all the murders I will commit after I go insane from this. ARGH. I'm going nuts. This makes it extremely hard to have sex as often as I'd like.

If this has happened to anyone else, did you find anything to help ease the swelling and irritation? ANYTHING AT ALL? I'll take natural, medicinal, physical... I'll go down and swim naked in the polluted, freezing bay if it'll help. I'm desperate.

The only "relief" I've found is by shaving bald to cut down on the hair irritating the area. But that only works until stubble starts to come back and I'm getting large enough that I can no longer see that part of me too well and it wont' be long until shaving is out of the question (and no, I am not asking my husband to do it. And yes, he has offered repeatedly. There is something decidedly unsexy about that prospect and I cannot get over it. "Here sweetie, let me lay down spread eagle. Be careful on those angles!").
I've also been slathering with Burts Bees diaper rash cream several times a day which is extremely messy but is providing some basic relief, but not enough. I NEED MORE. HALP MY VULVA HAVE MOAR HAPPY PLZ.

 

(Also, BTDT: sea salt, witch hazel, sleeping naked, going commando, etc - all the standard stuff I've tried).


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#2 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 04:23 AM
 
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Acupuncture? Liza Shibata (www.sacredmeridian.com) might be able to reroute your chi or something...she's amazing and you'd get to lay on her table listening to peaceful tinkly music for an hour. She specializes in women's stuff. I've seen her for my last two pregnancies and hope to be seeing her again soon if we can scrape the cash together...

 

Sorry you're going through this!


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#3 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 08:06 AM
 
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Holy cow! and I thought that PUPP was bad. Have you tried making those "frozen" maxi pads with all of the soothing ingredients on them like women do after birth? I would think that something to keep it cool and moist/moisturized would really help. I know that I run to jojoba oil for skin realted things like this and it always provides comfort. I also think that the shaving might be irritating? I know that I have to shave less often while pregnant bc my skin gets irritated more easily...but nothing like you have described! I am so sorry that you are going through this...it sounds maddening!


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#4 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Have you tried Gold Bond type powder or the Monistat anti-chafing gel (It's actually not gelly but smooth once it goes on...my ds has used to prevent chafing from swimming) type stuff you can put on. Also, what doing a barrier like the powder/gel and then wearing the 'dry max' type under-armour men's underpants with the legs.  They are tightish, but wick moisture away from the skin and would at least protect the rubbing against the thighs and the powder might help the other areas.

 

For regular edema, the partially inverted up the wall yoga poses are helpful, I wonder if they would helpful for this?

 

You actually probably have VVV (Vulvar Varicose Veins) rather than simple edema in the area. You might google this if you haven't already. Sleeping on your left side with pillows between your knees can help relieve the pressure to the area as well by giving you the best blood flow return from your extremities.


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#5 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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I had something similar to this last time around during my 3rd trimester (in the middle of June/July when it was HOT as hell outside!).  I found that taking sitz baths with some chamomile steeped into it and then using the "Earth Mama Angel Baby" Bottom Balm helped tremendously.  I also made it a point to get off my feet as much as possible - I had an almost 2yo at the time who was super active, but every time we would play trains or something like that where I could be on the floor, I made it a point to rest on my side with a pillow in between my legs.  I think the pads dampened with witch hazel/other soothers and frozen sound like a very good idea, too.  I used those postpartum and they were heavenly.

 

Did you midwife actually see what is going on or did you just talk to her about it?  I only mention because it very well could be related to a fungal or bacterial infection that could be easily cleared up with the 'proper' treatment.  


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#6 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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I have no experience, but ph my you poor thing. Try searching here. Are you sure it isn't vulvar varicosities?

 

http://www.gentlebirth.org/search.html


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#7 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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wow I have no suggestions, but I wanted to empathize! Poor mama!


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#8 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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You should try sitz baths, they're the same thing you would do after birth. Herbal infusions are really nice for reducing inflammation and making tissues more healthy. Great herbs for healing and reduction of inflammation are lavender, rosemary, and comfrey (comfrey is not safe orally during pregnancy but is safe topically). Just boil water and steep the herbs for a while, stick them in the fridge overnight. You can get a sitz bath (plastic container that sits in the toilet) at the drugstore or make your own. Cool water might feel better since you are inflammed. You can also pour the infusion over some giant maxi pads, flip a bowl upside down and lay the pads on top so they freeze in a curve-shape (more comfy).

 

 

I think yoga would also help. Laying with your hips up in the air to reduce the pressure of the extra blood in that area. Try this, maybe with your hips tilted even higher ... 

 

legs-up-wall.jpg

 

If you go to prenatal yoga class the teacher could give you great ideas. I know it is $$$ but you could go once to get ideas, get a tape or dvd and do it at home.

 

Hope that helps!


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#9 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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Junebug, that was the just pose I was thinking of :)   Everyone note that one ;) We all should be doing it daily! Especially in the last trimester. It's amazing for leg edema and BP issues :D


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#10 of 15 Old 12-30-2010, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all!

And no it's not varicose veins or a bacterial infection. Swelling is pretty obvious. ;) Picked up some calendula salve today and am looking for some horse chestnut gel, which the midwife said works very well for this problem.

 

Can't do much yoga due to a disability and chronic pain. Thanks, though. :)


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#11 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 09:36 AM
 
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Not real sure if this is the proper place for my own concern, but I will state I know with edema/ swelling issues that proper diet, adequate protein intake can prevent such swelling.  It does sound alot like my own discomfort, which is vulva varicosities...greensad.gif  It's a chronic kicked in the pants kind of feeling. My question to you all is this, read on gentlebirth.org link above about taking white oak bark capsules for the inflamation, with amazing results, only to read later there is some contraversy about taking it long term orally, let alone when you are pregnant.  Wondering if anyone out there knows an herbalist who be very knowlable about such things.  Is it safe during pregnancy?  Looking to try butcher broom and homeopathics in the mean time.  I still have three months to go... 

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#12 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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Not to be antagonistic, but VVV isn't like regular varicose veins in the legs. Especially during pregnancy....it's basically vulvar swelling depending where the weak vein is. Sometimes it's more in the thigh area, but many times can be actually in/on the vulva, and when it's there, the swelling can be intense.  It's also common to only have the problem during pregnancy as that is when the blood flow increases to the area.
 

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Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post

Thanks all!

And no it's not varicose veins or a bacterial infection. Swelling is pretty obvious. ;) Picked up some calendula salve today and am looking for some horse chestnut gel, which the midwife said works very well for this problem.

 

Can't do much yoga due to a disability and chronic pain. Thanks, though. :)




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#13 of 15 Old 01-01-2011, 02:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilsamsmom07 View Postbut I will state I know with edema/ swelling issues that proper diet, adequate protein intake can prevent such swelling.


 

That's true, but with this problem it's simply caused by increase pressure and actually gets better as you get further along in pregnancy and your belly hangs down a little more. ;) Unfortunately, no amount of diet change will affect this particular part of that... D'oh. I've never actually experienced varicose veins (anywhere in my body), nor hemmorhoids, nor edema (including the rather common swollen ankles) at any point in any pregnancy. I've been very fortunate!

 

Thanks for the suggestions, but I actually do know what this is right from the beginning (and yes, with confirmation from the midwife as well). I was specifically looking for suggestions from others who were experiencing it as well, rather than suggestions as to what "else" it could be seeing as we confirmed it quite some time ago now. ;) So, thank you for your concern - but we do have it worked out! For obvious reasons, a lot of the helpers for varicose veins also help for vulvar edema as well... so I've had a lot of good suggestions from midwife and from this thread. :)

 

For anyone else experiencing this the good news is that it generally gets BETTER as pregnancy progresses - thank god! It peaks around this point and starts to die off toward the end of the 2nd trimester and into the third. I can't wait. :laugh: I picked up some calendula salve which has helped a lot. Way more than I thought it would!


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#14 of 15 Old 01-01-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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WHEW!  That at least is a good thing to look forward to! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post

 

For anyone else experiencing this the good news is that it generally gets BETTER as pregnancy progresses - thank god! It peaks around this point and starts to die off toward the end of the 2nd trimester and into the third. I can't wait. :laugh: I picked up some calendula salve which has helped a lot. Way more than I thought it would!




~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

Livin' in the sticks with my chicks chicken3.gif and lovin' it!

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#15 of 15 Old 01-07-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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So sorry Mama. I've had some "weird skin things" throughout my life and they are NO fun. I had edema on my eye and an anti histamine brought it right down but during pregnancy I don't know what I'd do. I'm a real believer in homeopathy. If it were me I'd get down to a homeopathic doc. Good luck! :-(


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