Some women have found that they develop varicose veins during pregnancy. This is because the hormones that assist in safe delivery also affect vein walls, and increased weight means greater pressure on veins.
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Varicose veins are enlarged veins, often seen on the thigh and leg. Sometimes these large superficial veins just a cosmetic problem. But since these veins help transfer blood to the heart, they are important for health, too.
In the majority of cases, varicose veins become worse over time. Valves that have started backflow do not spontaneously heal. Leg veins do not improve without treatment, and may begin to show symptoms such as aching, swelling, tenderness or restlessness.
Vulvar varicose veins that develop on the vulva or vagina often do get better once the baby has been delivered.
Many women develop varicose veins in pregnancy. Factors influencing development of varicosities are pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing and trauma. Varicose veins are more common in females and this has been linked to estrogen. With multiple pregnancies, if veins have started to be affected, the veins always worsen in size, shape and severity of symptom.
Increased pressure in the veins from weight gain and fluid buildup are linked to the cause. Valves in the veins prevent blood pushing back downward into the legs. Pressure can weaken these valves, causing blood to pool. This leads to swelling and engorgement of the veins.
Also, female hormones are thought to weaken vein walls, causing them to swell with blood.
Varicose veins can become prominent in legs during pregnancy but can also develop near the vulva or vagina. The baby in utero also compresses some parts of the lower abdomen and put pressure on pelvic veins and the veins in the legs.
There is no treatment required for vulvar/vaginal varicosities. Once the baby is delivered, swollen veins usually diminish. Sometimes there may be a ropy vein remaining. For those with varicosities on the vulva that remain, treatment should be delayed until after delivery, just as with the varicose vein of the legs.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, hormones are released that cause relaxation of veins. This promotes blood to go in the wrong direction (reflux) which may cause varicose veins. The fact that most varicose veins appear during the first trimester suggests that it has more to do with hormones than with weight gained.
I do not know how your procedure was done, but we never do laser ablation under general anesthesia. In our office it is done under local anesthesia, with perhaps a small dose of an oral sedative, and is very safe, even if one is pregnant. There definitely would be some risk to you and your fetus if you did, in fact, have general anesthesia, although for the life of me, I do not know why any physician would perform this procedure using such extreme anesthesia.
There is no data as to the risk of pregnancy and EVLT. There is a risk of DVT with pregnancy and a risk with EVLT but that risk should be long over in the next couple of months. Ablating the reflux with the EVLT should actually decrease your risk of DVT in theory. I would strongly encourage you to where your compression stockings throughout your pregnancy in any event.
Sclerotherapy should be avoided during pregnancy. Spider veins may develop more rapidly during pregnancy and may subside some afterward though they usually will not disappear entirely. Wait until you and your baby are doing well and then see a phlebologist. Elastic support hose and compression stockings are a good idea during pregnancy to help keep up blood flowback to the heart from your legs.
Varicose veins during pregnancy can cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms and can even lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant and are at high risk for developing varicose veins during pregnancy, visit Dr. Wright in St. Louis for ways to help prevent and/or treat those unsightly veins.
I am thrilled with the looks of my legs now. They look so much better and I am not so embarrassed by those ugly veins. Everyone in the office is so nice from the front desk to the doctor and nurses. I always look forward to my appointments.