Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Varicose veins in the legs, feet or calves indicate impromper function of the leg veins. Normally, veins direct the flow of blood toward the lungs and heart so the body is sufficiently oxygenated. Venous insufficiency (VI) or venous reflux is a condition that characterizes patients whose dysfunctional valves cause blood to flow downward, or backward, away from the heart. Instead the blood pools in the leg veins. Venous insufficiency is a medical condition that should not be taken for granted. Talk to a doctor who treats venous disease to explore various options for varicose veins removal.
Blood pooling in the veins may result in stretching and dilation of the vessel walls. This can lead to visible symptoms such as varicose veins and spider veins. Spider veins and varicose veins are visible on the legs, hands and face and may exhibit other symptoms like heaviness or weakness in the legs, leg cramps, pain, burning and itchiness. Varicose veins also put patients at higher risk of blood clot formation, which is potentially fatal if certain clots manage to detach and travel to the lungs.
Generally speaking, women are more susceptible to varicose veins and spider veins than men. During prgenancy, hormonal changes increase the risk factor of varicose veins, as increased progesterone levels tend to dilate and relaxe the venous walls. Typically, varicose veins and/or venous reflux occur approximately 6 weeks into pregnancy.
Additionally, growth of the fetus can result in the increased pressure on the pelvic veins that prevents blood from flowing freelly to and from the legs. If a woman has a history of varicose veins, successive pregnancies or weight gain, or if the woman’s job requires that she sit or stand for a extended periods of time, then it is much more likely that she will develop varicose veins while pregant. Most cases of varicose veins during preganancy will improve after the baby is delivered. In other cases, the condition may continue after delivery, worsneing if the woman gets pregnant again.
There is little that can be done to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy. However, to prevent the condition from becoming a serious disease and progressing to chronic venous insuffiency (CVI), some women opt to undergo minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins removal.
Varicose veins during pregnancy can be managed with regular exercise, weight control, compression stockings and avoidance of prolonged standing or sitting. In general these practices can prevent further development of existent varicose veins. Experts still debate whether woman should avoid or pursue clinical treatment for varicose veins removal while they are still carrying. Generally vein doctors will reccommend that the woman wait until after the baby is delivered to eliminate risk of complication to fetus development. However, some vein centers do perform minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins during pregnancy.
Varicose veins removal is typically achieved through the following methods:
- Endovenous Ablation
- Vein Stripping and Ligation
- Radiofrequency Ablation
If you notice symptoms of varicose veins while pregnant, find a doctor who specializes in veins to discuss an appropriate course of action.