Press "Enter" to skip to content

Woman, 34, had veins in her vagina removed without pain relief after sex left her in chronic pain

A woman had the veins in her vagina ‘closed off’ after a medical condition left her with chronic pain every time she had sex with her boyfriend.

Victoria Jenkins, 34, from Islington, north London, began experiencing excruciating stabbing pains during intercourse four years ago which also left her with a swollen abdomen.

She was diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome – pain caused my enlarged veins in the pelvis – in 2016 but was told there was nothing the NHS could do to treat it.

Victoria was even forced to take painkillers so she could be intimate with boyfriend Jack Morgan, 32, who she’s been in a relationship with for eight years and hid just how much it hurt her.

But when the chronic pain became so intense, Victoria decided to research her condition and found a procedure that could help. 

However the procedure had to be performed without a general anaesthetic due to safety reasons, with brave Victoria only receiving a local anaesthetic to her neck where tubes were inserted. 

She saved £6,500 to have a vein embolisation performed privately at the Whiteley Clinic, in London, where doctors inserted a tube into her neck, down her body and into her pelvis while she was awake.

The freelance clothing designer for Unhidden, an adaptive fashion label for people with disabilities, was only given a local anesthetic on her neck and a small dose of diazepam to calm her nerves.

She was then told to squeeze a stress ball as 11 metal coils were inserted inside the tube to travel down to her pelvic veins and scar them, which will close them off permanently, stopping the pain.

After two weeks of healing, Victoria was finally able to have intercourse with Jack for the first time in three months and says the pain is finally bearable and she is getting better every day.

‘We’ve had sex once after I had the operation a week ago and already I could feel a huge difference – especially in my left side,’ Victoria says in an exclusive interview. 

‘I was in pain during sex before but the agony of the procedure itself was horrific.

‘Over the past eight years I’ve built up a high tolerance to pain – I admitted myself to A&E for two days after my stomach ulcer burst.

‘But this procedure was like nothing I’ve ever felt before – I felt like my pelvic area was on fire and had razor-blades cutting into it.

‘I was given a syringe to bite down on and a stress ball to squeeze. I also had a nurse holding my arm to comfort me but nothing helped and I was shouting out from the pain.

‘Even though it was the most painful procedure I’ve ever experienced, I’m happy I had it done and hope that the effects of the operation will only get better.’

Victoria’s nightmare began in 2016 when she started to experience dull, period-like pains all the time, shooting pains down her legs and swelling of her stomach when she walked. Sex became excrutiating.

‘I thought it was a cyst on my ovaries,’ Victoria says. ‘I’ve had them in the past and the symptoms were similar so I thought it would go on its own.

‘But the pain continued and it got to the point where I needed to go and see someone to get some answers.

‘Experiencing pain during and after sex isn’t normal and I didn’t want my relationship to be effected because of it.’

But a gynaecologist revealed that Victoria was actually suffering from Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and there was no treatment or cure she could have on the NHS.

‘I was desperate to sort it out so went to a private doctor who gave me painkillers but they didn’t do anything,’ she says.

‘The pain during sex was really extreme and because I couldn’t relax I’d seize up.’

Sex would leave Victoria with a swollen lower abdomen and the condition could also leave her bed bound.

‘There were times when I couldn’t get out of bed for a week, it was so bad.’

Victoria tried to cope with the pain before paying another private doctor to prescribe lidocaine pain patches – which work by stopping nerve signals to the brain – but they didn’t help either. 

‘It became painful to even stand up and walk for more than 15 minutes and I’d be swollen and bloated just from that.

‘Sometimes I’d look three months pregnant and could only wear leggings as they were the most comfortable thing I had.’

Finally, Victoria decided to have surgery done privately as it wasn’t available on the NHS.

In January 2020 Victoria went for a consultation, supported by her boyfriend, Jack, a market researcher – who was shocked to discover the extent of her pain during intercourse.

‘We were talking to the consultant and he said that I must have problems being intimate and asked me if it causes me a lot of pain,’ she says.

‘I blushed at that point and Jack was shocked, as I hadn’t been honest with him about just how painful it really was.

‘I was worried about putting a strain on the relationship. We’ve been together for eight years and I thought that if I told him then he would be too worried that I was in pain to have sex.

‘But if you take sex away then it’s just like you’re living with a friend. I wanted to show Jack just how much I loved him.’

After Victoria admitted the truth, she and Jack didn’t have sex for a month as he didn’t want to hurt her. ‘We just hoped that once the procedure was done, I’d be out of pain and we could get our sex life back on track,’ she explains.

Victoria was meant to have surgery performed in May, but it was postponed until July 25 because of coronavirus.

‘I have a high threshold anyway from years of chronic pain,’ she says. ‘But nothing could have prepared me for the agony of the procedure.

‘I thought I’d be getting some kind of anaesthetic so that I couldn’t feel anything at all but I didn’t’

‘I lay on my side wearing a facemask while the nurse gave me a small dose of diazepam because I was so anxious.

‘I also had local anesthetic applied to the area of my neck that they were inserting the tubes in – but that was it.

‘I was given a syringe to bite down on and a stress ball to squeeze for when the pain became overwhelming.

‘When the coils reached my pelvic area it felt like razor blades cutting into me,’ she says. ‘It was horrific pain, the worst I’ve ever felt – like cystitis times a thousand.’

Doctors then inserted nine platinum and two tungsten coils down the tube and into her pelvic area.

Victoria estimates that each coil was 1mm wide and 4cm long.

‘That bit was so painful I kept on shouting out while squeezing the ball and biting down hard on the syringe.

‘My leg kept jolting because of the pain and I thought at one point I was going to accidentally kick one of the nurses.

‘I was told the average procedure time was 45 minutes,’ she says. ‘But it ended up taking 1hr 40 minutes as they had to put in more coils than they planned.’

Finally, the procedure was over and she was wheeled to recovery.

‘The second I saw Jack I just burst into tears,’ she says. ‘I told him how badly it had hurt and he gave me a hug and was really supportive.’

Victoria was told to wait for 48 hours before having sex but left it over a week instead.

‘I wanted to make sure I was completely healed and give the coils a chance to work,’ she says.

‘But when we finally had sex the pain was already so much more bearable, especially on the left side of my pelvis. I hope that it will have even more of an effect than it already has and will make having sex completely pain-free again.

‘The coils will stay in for the rest of my life. I can’t physically feel them inside me, but my body is aware that they’re there,’ she says.

The effects of the vein embolisation are meant to last for life – unless more varicose veins appear in Victoria’s pelvis.

Victoria suffers from nine other conditions – including IBS, gastroparesis, diverticular disease and Raynaud’s syndrome – which all cause her chronic pain.

‘I find it hard to stand up for more than 15 minutes at a time,’ she says. ‘I bought a walking stick in January to help me move about more easily which has really helped.’

Victoria has also had her gallbladder and appendix removed and has had an additional exit made from her stomach into her intestine to help her digest food more easily following her gastroparesis- a condition where the stomach cannot empty itself of food in the normal way.

The clothing designer believes that her health fell into decline following a burst stomach ulcer in 2012, which she was visiting the doctors for three years before it burst.

‘Every time I went to the doctor with stomach pains they’d tell me I was stressed or had IBS,’ Victoria says. ‘I knew it wasn’t either but had to wait until my ulcer burst for anyone to listen to me.

‘Surgeons tried to do keyhole surgery but had to cut me open to drain out the stomach acid and check there was no damage to my organs.

‘After I spent five days in hospital and had a morphine pump, but the vein embolisation procedure was so much more painful than the stomach ulcer.’

‘But looking back now I’d say the operation was worth the pain.

‘If more varicose veins developed in my pelvis and I needed the procedure done again, I would have it but would ask to be sedated first this time.

‘The procedure has enabled me to have a normal sex life again with my partner and even thought it was nearly two hours of excrutiating pain it was worth it.’

Professor Mark Whiteley, a Consultant Venous Surgeon and Consultant Phlebologist at The Whiteley Clinic, says: ‘One in three women who go to gynaecologists with chronic pelvic pain have pelvic congestion syndrome but gynaecologists misdiagnose it as endometriosis.

‘Every local anaesthetic patient is given a stress ball as it reduces pain and anxiety during any local anaesthetic procedure.

‘We don’t currently use general anaesthetic or sedation because it is safer not to. We moved over to local anaesthetic 5 ½ years ago and our patient success rate and satisfaction rate increased dramatically.

‘Anaesthetic and sedation both increase the risk to the patient quite considerably.

‘No surgical procedure that is effective will ever be completely pain-free in the whole process of performing the procedure and recovery.

But our 20 years of research has got this to the lowest amount of pain, the high success rate and the safest possible way that this procedure can be done currently.’

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *