Conversations about varicose veins usually come with conversations about pregnancy. Does pregnancy cause varicose veins? Can pregnancy worsen existing varicose veins? Are having varicose veins during pregnancy a risk? When can I get my veins treated if I am pregnant? This blog post will answer all your burning questions surrounding pregnancy and varicose veins.
When a woman is pregnant, spider and varicose veins often worsen during the course of pregnancy. While varicose veins are usually a result of heredity, varicose veins also form when there are drastic physiological changes in the body. Research has indicated that the more pregnancies a woman has, the more likely she is to develop varicose veins and vein disease. Once varicose veins appear even if it was during pregnancy, they do not disappear post-childbirth.
Why does pregnancy affect varicose veins? As the uterus grows, there is a buildup of pressure on the abdomen and lower pelvis. This increased pressure also funnels down to the legs. As the leg veins experience an increase in pressure, this can lead to varicose veins. Further, hormone increases and increased blood flow to the uterus also contribute to an increase in pressure in leg veins. This high pressure in the leg veins leads to vein disease and varicose veins.
Although most people wait until after childbirth to get vein treatment, it is a myth that you need to wait until post-pregnancy due to newer and safer technologies. At Illinois Vein Specialists, we recommend that patients schedule a consultation prior to becoming pregnant if they have varicose veins to see what the options are for treatment. Further, to ease the pressure buildup during pregnancy, we recommend pregnant women wear compression socks to increase overall blood flow in the legs and reduce swelling that is commonly associated with pregnancy.
Due to the physiological changes during pregnancy, it is almost guaranteed that women who have three or more children will develop varicose veins. Although many people think varicose veins are merely a cosmetic concern, it is in fact a real disease. Varicose veins are high blood pressure in the veins, not just bulgy, ropey veins that may look bad. It is important to seek treatment from a board certified vein specialist after pregnancy if varicose veins have developed.
As pregnancy can lead to varicose veins or worsen existing ones, it is important to see a board certified vein specialist before or after pregnancy to discuss the best treatment options.