Treating Varicose Veins After Pregnancy

No one wants to have varicose veins and but for many women they can become a big issue. Varicose veins are especially common after the birth of a child and even though you are a new mom, you will eventually want to show off your legs again.

Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done about varicose veins.

What are varicose veins?

Veins are actually quite “stretchy” like a think balloon. Just like a balloon, veins can become stretched out. Varicose veins are large veins in the lower leg which have stretched and become larger over time. They may have a blue appearance and may prominently protrude from the surface of the leg.

In addition to the unattractive appearance, varicose veins may actually cause pain – usually an achy pain that occurs whenever standing or when the blood flow from the lower legs is restricted in a sitting position.

Varicose veins are different than “spider veins” which are the small web-like veins that have a purplish or red appearance. Spider veins are much smaller and though they may also be unsightly, they do not usually cause pain and are treated differently.

Varicose veins and pregnancy

In addition to genetics and having a job that requires long hours standing on the feet, pregnancy is one of the biggest causes of varicose veins.

When a woman becomes pregnant, the circulatory system changes. The heart must supply blood to an expanding area as the uterus enlarges and the fetus grows. As the belly becomes larger, more pressure is put on the large vein on the right side of the body.

This vein is known as the inferior vena cava. Blocking blood flow returning from the legs, causes the blood to pool in the veins.

In addition, pregnancy hormones cause tissues such as cartilage and venous tissue to “relax.” The veins, acting like balloons, are easier to stretch and expand. As the veins relax and blood flow is blocked with advancing pregnancy, the blood pools even more in the lower legs – causing those bulging, blue lines and knots that ache.

Treatment

There are some things that you can do to minimize the worsening of varicose veins while you are pregnant such as putting your feet up, sleeping on your left side, avoiding standing for long periods of time and wearing compression hose.

Unfortunately though, once you have them, they won’t go away completely and they are likely to get worse each time you are pregnant or put stress on your lower leg veins.

After pregnancy, your varicose veins may improve somewhat with exercise and careful activity but you may need to look for a more permanent solution – vein surgery.

About vein surgery

Surgical procedures to remove varicose veins have been used for many years with good success but recent technological advances have made the procedure much easier.

Rather than a fairly invasive procedure which may produce a good deal of bleeding and some scarring, today’s surgical procedures to remove varicose veins are much less traumatic.

New technology uses specialized equipment to give the surgeon more control and make the procedure go much more quickly. With the new type of procedure involving surgical tools that automatically cauterize and prevent bleeding during surgery, the surgery itself is faster.

When there is less bleeding, less physical trauma to the body tissues and less anesthesia, surgical risks are lower. After the procedure, the patient experiences less pain and the recovery time is quicker.

You may not have previously thought that you would undergo surgery for something that many people think is a cosmetic issue but likely, you never thought about how much you would hate your varicose veins – or how much they can hurt.

With a surgical procedure, you don’t have to baby your legs, you don’t have to wear tight compression garments, and you don’t have to put warm compresses on your elevated legs every evening. You will be rid of them – permanently and you can go right back to showing off one of your most attractive assets.

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