Several of the new studys authors, in particular Christopher Lowry, a professor of integrative physiology at Colorado University Boulder, had theorized a decade ago that a too-hygienic world could also influence our risk of certain psychiatric illnesses, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. If true, it would help explain why rates of psychiatric illnesses are more common among people living in urban areas.

But it wasnt until Lowry collaborated with researchers at University of Ulm in Germany that they tested this theory directly.

In this latest study, they recruited 40 young, healthy men from Germany to take part in their experiment. Half of the men said they had been raised (up to the age of 15) on a farm with lots of animals, while the other half had been raised in a city with no pets. Both groups had their blood and saliva taken before and at various points during the experiment.

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Risks and complications

Poor circulation can cause blood to pool in the veins, leading to a dangerous blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Blood clots in the deepest veins can break loose and travel elsewhere in the body. DVT is a life-threatening complication.

DVT is extremely rare with vulvar varicosities. However, a doctor will monitor the veins to ensure a blood clot does not develop. Signs of a blood clot include the vein becoming very painful, red, swollen, and hard. Women should immediately report these symptoms to a doctor.

Some women with vulvar varicosities might worry about how the veins will affect childbirth. However, these veins tend not to bleed very much and have no links to childbirth complications.

In some women, vulvar varicosities lead to a chronic pain condition called pelvic congestion syndrome. Damage to multiple veins in the vulva and genitals can cause numerous varicose veins, which may cause swelling and blocked blood flow to the area.

Home management with ice, heat, and NSAIDs may help, but some women may need surgery to treat the veins.

Are vulvar varicosities permanent?