Varicose veins, also known as varicoses or varicosities, develop when your veins expand, widen, and get filled up with blood. Varicose veins are enlarged and dilated, and they appear bluish-purple or red. They are frequently excruciating. The illness is quite frequent, particularly in women. Varicose veins affect around 25% of all individuals. Varicose veins most typically appear in the legs. In this blog, we will have a look at varicose veins in pregnancy, causes, and more.
What are Varicose Veins in Pregnancy?
Did you know? Varicose veins are named after the Latin word “varix,” which means “twisted.” Varicose veins appear under the skin like twisting, bumpy ropes. These are rather prevalent throughout pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester. Almost 40-50% of pregnant women may experience enlargement or abnormal dilation in the superficial veins (veins that are very close to the skin’s surface).
The legs, ankles, and external genital region are the most prevalent places for varicose veins during pregnancy (vulva). Hemorrhoids, or varicose veins in the rectum and around the anus, are also frequent during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Varicose Veins
Normally most women do not experience any kind of symptoms, in case if they do experience symptoms, then they can find it worse while sitting or standing for a long period.
Symptoms may include:
- Itching around the veins
- Leg cramps
- Heavy feeling in the legs
- Severe pain
- Tenderness or throbbing in legs
Causes of Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
Varicose veins develop when high blood pressure within the veins destroys the fragile valves that ensure blood flowing in the proper direction. Blood pools in the veins as a result of the injury, leading them to enlarge, twist, and protrude.
Varicose veins in pregnancy most commonly appear in the legs. If you’re pregnant, the weight of the fetus puts strain on the superior vena cava causing the valves within to deteriorate.
Few causes may include:
1.Genetics: If you are pregnant or not, you will be at a greater risk of developing varicose veins if varicose veins run in your family. And pregnancy increases the risk by building up more stress in your veins.
2.Hormones: Hormones are one of the top reasons for developing varicose veins during pregnancy. And the hormones produced during pregnancy cause the vein walls to become softer, Varicose veins can form as a result of hormonal changes in progesterone and estrogen. While hormones are necessary for the body to operate properly, an imbalance can have negative consequences. Progesterone has been shown to have a substantial influence on vein health and the development of varicose veins.
3.Weight gain: Gaining extra weight is very common during pregnancy and extra weight puts strain on the veins, putting you at risk of developing varicose veins. When you’re pregnant, you might gain weight very quickly, and your body may struggle to react to this unexpected weight gain.
4.Lack of physical movement: Taking proper rest is what everyone says, when someone is pregnant, yes it is true to take proper rest, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit for long periods or have no physical movements.
5.Increased blood: During pregnancy, the volume of blood in your body rises causing pressure to increase and your veins to dilate.
6.Excess pressure on veins: The veins in the abdominal area, or pelvis, might get restricted as the fetus grows in your uterus. Since blood flow returning to the heart is hindered, your leg veins enlarge as the pressure is increased. Sitting or standing for a long period can increase the stress on the veins making it even more difficult to move.
Even though these varicose veins are not life-threatening, they may affect the quality of life due to their negative impact on appearance. More frequently, varicose veins are observed in pregnant women, even if women do not experience it, some people complain of the development during postpartum.
Varicose veins, which are common during pregnancy, are typically seen on the left leg due to the structure of our bodies. Varicose veins are quite common in pregnant women between the 37th and 40th week, which is the last stage of pregnancy. However, it is not the reason for concern since a large portion of these veins disappears during the first six weeks of life.
Prevention of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
As mentioned earlier, these Varicose Veins are harmless and get better after the delivery. The good news is that varicose veins that occur during pregnancy normally disappear soon after birth. If you’re pregnant and have painful varicose veins, you might not have to suffer the rest of your pregnancy. Here are a few measures you may follow to get some relief.
- Practice regular exercise
- Avoid sitting or standing for a long time
- Have a healthy diet
- Maintain healthy weight
- Do not cross your legs while sitting or standing
- Sleep on your left side to keep the pressure off your inferior vena cava
- Wear maternity support hose to prevent swelling
Varicose Veins Treatment
In general, doctors strive to avoid more intrusive treatments for varicose veins during pregnancy, including both surgery and less invasive procedures. In extremely rare cases, such as significant bleeding, treatment may be considered. Your varicose veins may disappear after your baby is delivered, but most physicians would advise you to wait at least three months before contemplating these choices.
As mentioned, it is recommended to see the doctor only if your varicose veins are giving you extra discomfort, swelling, pain, or bleeding. When you consult a doctor, Using a Color Doppler Ultrasound Scan, your doctor will first identify all of your weak veins and select the ideal location to implant the catheter. Because the laser will be used in this procedure, you must wear protective eyewear. Your doctor will next clean, shave, and numb the affected region using a local anesthetic.
After numbing the region, a tiny incision is made and a catheter and guidewire is put into your skin. The catheter is then passed through with a laser fiber until it is about 1 to 2 centimeters from the end, at which point it is fixed in place. The laser light closes the defective vein and redirects blood flow to healthy veins. The complete procedure takes roughly one hour.
Because varicose veins laser therapy is minimally intrusive, you will feel less discomfort. To confirm the procedure’s success, your doctor may do an ultrasound. If the primary vein is not entirely closed, your doctor may recommend another EVLT or Sclerotherapy, however, this is quite unusual. So if you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above, do consult our doctor immediately and say goodbye to your varicose veins. For more info do contact us or click here to book a direct appointment.