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Varicose Veins Treatments During Pregnancy
In this article you will learn:
- What are varicose veins?
- What are symptoms of varicose veins
- How to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy
Varicose veins are veins that swell up and that may appear to bulge at the surface of your skin. They can sometimes appear as purple, blue squiggly veins and they are most common in the legs, although they may appear in the area of the vulva or elsewhere. Hemorrhoids, which may also occur during pregnancy, are varicose veins that occur in the rectal area.
Varicose veins may cause little or no discomfort, although they may make your legs ache and feel heavy. The skin in the immediate vicinity of a varicose vein may also throb, itch, or it might feel like it is burning. The symptoms of varicose veins tend to be worse if you have been on your feet all day.
Many women can develop varicose veins during pregnancy, or if they are already present, they may get worse during the term of pregnancy. As the pregnancy develops, the uterus grows. This puts additional pressure on a large vein which sits on the on the right side of the body, known as the inferior vena cava. The knock on effect is that there is an increase in pressure in the leg veins. Veins are the blood vessels whose function is to return blood to your heart from the extremities. Therefore, the blood being carried in the leg veins is working against gravity.
The volume of blood in your body rises during pregnancy, which adds to the work load of your veins. In addition, levels of progesterone rise, which causes the blood vessel walls to relax.
You may be more likely to suffer from varicose veins if you have other family members who have had them. Varicose veins are more common in women than in men. If you have previously had varicose veins during pregnancy, you will be likely to suffer them in successive pregnancies, and unfortunately, the condition is likely to be worse with each pregnancy, and as age increases. Carrying twins (or more), standing for prolonged periods or being overweight are all factors which can make you more susceptible to varicose veins.
Problems associated with varicose veins tend to get better after you give birth. This is particularly the case if you didn’t suffer from varicose veins prior to your pregnancy. If your varicose veins don’t improve, there are a variety of options as to treatment.
Varicose veins may be preventable, or at least you should be able to minimize them. Here’s how:
- Daily exercise can help to improve circulation. Try a brisk walk.
- Try to keep within a healthy weight range during pregnancy.
- Try to keep your keep your legs and feet elevated whenever possible. Use a box or a stool to rest your feet on when you are seated. When you are lying down, keep your feet elevated with a pillow.
- Try not to cross your ankles or legs when you are seated as it can hinder circulation. Also do not stand or sit for extended periods without moving around.
- Remember that the inferior vena cava lies on the right side of your body. Lying on the left side of your body will relieve the vein from the weight of your uterus, and this in turn will reduce the pressure on the veins in your feet and legs.
- Try to sleep on the left side of your body with your feet raised slightly on a pillow. For added comfort, put a pillow behind your back to help to keep you tilted to the left.
- Wear special support tights or hose. Your doctor or health care provider may advise you to use prescription-strength hose, which are also known as compression stockings. They can be very effective in improving circulation and are available from pharmacies and medical supply stores. These hose are thicker and tighter than standard pantyhose. They are tightest at the ankle and they get looser the higher up the leg they go.
The effect is that they make blood flow up the leg easier as it makes its way back to the heart. Prescription strength hose can help prevent swelling, and this can stop varicose veins from worsening. The best way to use them is to put them on before you get out of bed. If you can put them on while you are still lying down, you can prevent the blood from pooling in your legs. Once you have them on, keep them on all day. Although prescription-strength hose can be a little uncomfortable, particularly in warm weather, they can help prevent varicose veins which can be extremely uncomfortable and unsightly.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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