— Life —

Something Bulging in My Vagina and Nobody Knew What It Was

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Once when I woke from a sound sleep to use the bathroom, I wiped and felt something that didn’t belong there. It felt like I had a tumor. Seven specialists, seven months and seven days in the hospital later, I was diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, caused by hard-to-detect varicose veins in the pelvis.

Similar to varicose veins in the legs, the valves in the veins that help return blood to the heart become weakened and don’t close properly. This allows blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein causing pressure and bulging veins.

Diagnosis is difficult because women lie down for a pelvic exam and that relieves the pressure so the veins no longer bulge as they do while a woman is standing.

There is no cure and the only reasonable treatment is rest. One-third of all women experience chronic pelvic pain in their lifetime. No matter what symptom a woman may have, it is almost always automatically considered to be a gynecological problem. This experience shattered my “good patient” and my “good girl” reputation.

Why is it that any symptom a woman over 50 has is automatically considered to be related to menopause? Every specialist I saw insisted I needed to see a gynecologist. They had no idea how to reply to, “I’ve already seen five, and they all concur. I do not have a GYN condition.” As unnatural and uncomfortable as it was, I had to beg challenge these doctors, two of whom were women, to look beyond my vagina and into my pelvis for the answers.

Women must get better at advocating for own healthcare. We need to share our personal health stories, even if they are embarrassing.

Too many women with pelvic congestion have unnecessary hysterectomies. Others have been living with the pain of pelvic congestion, forever, and being made to believe the pain is all in their head. They end up taking pain medication, longterm, or finding a way to live with the pain.

If you have pelvic pain and/or a bulge in your pelvic or vaginal area that worsens throughout the day when standing, seek an appointment with an interventional radiologist who can hopefully educate and work with your gynecologist.

Three Other Things We Need to Share with Women Approaching Midlife:

• Another common, but never spoken about, condition midlife women may experience is uterine (or any organ) prolapse. The muscles weaken and are no longer able to support the uterus, causing it to slip from its normal position.

• The chance of a stroke between the ages of 45 to 54 may be twice as high for women as for men. Be aware of your blood pressure. It can be a silent killer.

• It’s okay to wear cute flats, all the time.



  • Charlesñjoycee Silverman July 26, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Hilda Smith July 26, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Thanks. Had no idea

  • Robin Lamonte July 26, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for enlightening me. I had never heard of this but I was aware of our uterus dropping.
    Wonderful article.

    Thank you.

  • Esther Zimmer July 27, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Thanks for sharing, these stories are so important. Reading this sent a chill up my spine and I felt your frustration, I used to suffer from terrible pains in my lower abdomen and the doctors I saw decided it was a GYN condition, several gynaecologists later and I was sent back to the doctors. If this happened to me now I would’t be so patient, as you said, we must get better at advocating for our own healthcare. Esther xx

  • 1010ParkPlace July 27, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Thank you for being so brave to talk about this. How frightening it must have been for you! I can see why more and more women have female doctors. Let’s hope male doctors are being taught to listen to their patients although from my breast cancer experience, I know that’s not the case. xoxox, Brenda

  • Diane July 27, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Oh, my word! That must have been terrifying! It’s always a surprise that, in this day of medical enlightenment, some (very important) things still get missed. My friend had varicose veins in her uterus. Her last pregnancy was, to say the least, uncomfortable. Thank you for sharing this. You have just helped many women!

  • Lee Gaitan July 27, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I had no idea this could happen. It must have been terrifying and very frustrating–you have now prevented another woman in this situation from blindly navigating the medical maze.

  • Mrs444 July 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I’ve never heard of this. I wonder how common it is. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Carol A Cassara July 28, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Who knew?

  • Brenda Y.. November 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    My dear friend had this varicose vein problem, I’m quite sure.. The veins in her legs bulged badly and I’m guessing she had the same condition in her vagina because she was in so much pain there.. I took her to many doctors, but none ever identified the issue.. The last years of her life were so painfilled…

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