Pregnancy and Varicose Veins: Is there a Link?
Pregnancy brings numerous changes to a woman’s body, often including the appearance of unsightly blue and purple veins. Sometimes these veins are even swollen and bulging and are then termed “varicose veins”. There are many reasons why these vessels tend to appear during those nine months, including hormone changes, increased blood flow and an expanding belly. The good news is most of those visible veins are likely to disappear once your bundle of joy arrives and if they don’t, there are minimally-invasive treatments available today that allow you to say goodbye to unsightly, uncomfortable veins with minimal disruption to your daily life.
Varicose Veins 101
Varicose veins occur when the valves inside the vessels become damaged from working too hard – a common problem for these vessels during pregnancy. Or the increased volume of blood and increased weight causes the veins to “dilate” such that the valves no longer meet. Normally, those valves keep blood flowing in a single direction, back to the heart. When they stop working properly, like a river overflowing its banks – this blood must go somewhere. Blood pools inside the veins, leading to swelling and varicosity. The problem typically occurs in the lower legs because these vessels have to work the hardest to move blood against gravity and the weight of the body back to the heart.
Reasons for Varicose Veins during Pregnancy
There are some factors during pregnancy that make varicose veins more likely to occur:
•Increased blood flow during pregnancy tends to place more pressure on the veins
•Hormones relax vessel walls, increasing the risk for damage
•The expanding uterus makes it harder for veins in the lower legs to do their job
Varicose veins are also a product of your genes, which means if you have family members that developed varicose veins during pregnancy, you are more likely to do so as well.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Some varicose veins do little more than make you self-conscious about wearing shorts or short skirts. Others can be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
•Pain and aching, particularly at the end of the day
•Skin around the vessels may itch or burn
•Swelling of the lower leg, ankle and foot
•Feeling of heaviness or fatigue in the lower legs
•Leg cramping, especially at night
Many women that develop varicose veins during pregnancy will see those swollen vessels disappear within a few months of the birth of their baby. For those that do not, minimally-invasive treatment options are available to eliminate those unsightly veins. The good news is treatments also eliminate uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins, almost immediately for some women. If you would like to learn more about options in varicose vein treatment, contact Center for Vein Restoration at 610-200-6924 or [email protected] .