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How do I know if my varicose veins are temporary?

I am pregnant and am starting to see varicose veins on my upper thighs. Are these temporary and from the pregnancy? When will they go away?

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Doctors Answers (4)

The changes in your body due to a current pregnancy include an increase in blood volume by 50 percent, relaxation of connective tissues and joints from hormonal changes, some compression of the venous return from the legs back to the heart due to the weight of the uterus over the primary vein of the pelvis and abdomen (vena cava). There is usually an increase in body weight (30 pounds or more), reduction in activity, fluid retention and a slight reduction in blood pressure. These all act to overload the venous return and increase venous congestion in the legs resulting in dilated and varicose veins in the legs. I recommend wearing maternity compression hose on your legs to increase the venous return to your heart (helping the circulation) and reduce fluid retention and venous congestion in the legs. Wear the hose when you are out of bed for the pregnancy and several months afterward to help minimize development of varicose veins. Sometimes veins that are seen in a pregnancy will be temporary (especially the first pregnancy), and as the blood volume returns to normal the dilated veins MAY disappear. If they are still apparent 3-4 months following delivery then they are not temporary but can be treated prior to future pregnancies. Untreated varicose veins will be expected to either remain relatively unchanged or will slowly enlarge over many months and years.

They likely will not go away. They can be effectively treated after pregnancy. If you have associated symptoms - pain, itching, numbness, tingling, restless legs, Charlie horses or cramps - then most insurances will approve treatment. If you are not wearing medical-grade compression stockings, you need to get with your phlebologist and get the correct stockings.

When you are pregnant your body undergoes many changes. Only after you deliver and give it around six weeks or so to return to normal will you see what is permanent versus what will go away. Usually the veins get significantly better post-partum.

This is a very insightful question. During pregnancy veins do protrude; if they are truly varicosed, they will be present after the pregnancy. Since treatment is not advised during pregnancy, I would advise wearing compression stockings now (with an expandable waist band) and then being seen by a phlebologist (a physician who specializes in the treatment of varicose veins). During the evaluation, you should have an ultrasound of your legs to determine if you need treatment.

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