During pregnancy, the body goes through many changes. While you may be familiar with common side effects such as morning sickness or bloating, what about varicose veins? You may have heard that pregnancy is a common cause of varicose veins and this can be an accurate statement.
But why does pregnancy lead to varicose veins? And when this problem arises, what are the treatments available? Get information about varicose veins and pregnancy in this guide from Heart of Dixie Vein & Vascular.
Why Does Pregnancy Cause Varicose Veins?
While varicose veins can form for many reasons, pregnancy is often an underlying cause. Most varicose veins are harmless but this doesn’t mean they can’t be painful.
Varicose veins during pregnancy usually happen as the uterus expands to make room for the baby, because this puts pressure on the inferior vena cava. This is the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the feet and legs. Sometimes, this causes blood to pool and leads to enlarged veins that are more visible on the surface of the skin.
Risk Factors for Varicose Veins in Pregnancy
Varicose veins have genetic components. If other pregnant women in your family had varicose veins, it’s more likely you will have them also. There are also a few other risk factors that make varicose veins common during gestation:
- Higher levels of progesterone lead to decreased valve function and can weaken the walls of blood vessels
- Pressure from the baby on the uterus
- Excess weight gain can put more pressure on the legs
While varicose veins usually aren’t a serious cause for concern, they can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Along with the raised appearance of varicose veins, you may notice symptoms such as:
- Cramping in legs
- Itchiness around the varicose veins
- Pain or aches in the lower legs
- Swelling around your legs and ankles
- Legs that feel heavy
Luckily, there are ways to treat these symptoms and remove varicose veins.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
The good news is that varicose veins that happen during pregnancy usually go away after the birth of the baby. However, if you still have varicose veins when postpartum, treatment options such as sclerotherapy and laser therapy are minimally invasive and effective.
During pregnancy, you can also try these treatments to alleviate symptoms:
- Try not to stand or sit in the same position for long periods of time
- Reduce how much sodium you consume
- Raise your feet on occasion
- Wear compression stockings or socks
- Sleep on the left side of your body
Treat Your Varicose Veins Today
Whether you’re pregnant and experiencing varicose veins for the first time or have had some for a while now, learn more about your treatment options. At Heart of Dixie Vein & Vascular, our varicose vein specialists can help you manage symptoms throughout pregnancy and treat varicose veins when necessary. Call today to schedule an appointment.