While not typically harmful, varicose veins are a common issue during pregnancy, especially in your third trimester. There are some steps you can take to reduce your risks of developing these problematic veins. You should also be aware of symptoms that may signal a need to call the doctor.
Dr. Michael F. Gioscia is a board-certified surgeon and vein treatment specialist who sees patients at the Vein Institute of Westchester in White Plains, New York.
Along with his commitment to offering the most advanced and effective treatments available for varicose veins, Dr. Gioscia is also passionate about supplying the information his patients need to make the best decisions about their care.
Read what this talented specialist has to say about varicose veins that develop during pregnancy.
Veins, the blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart, have small valves that help keep blood flowing in one direction.
Varicose veins occur when these valves weaken or fail and allow blood that’s moving through the vessel to back up in the vein. This collection of slow-moving blood stretches the vein and causes the bulging, twisting, and bluish-purple discoloration common with visible varicose veins.
Factors that increase your risk of developing varicose veins during pregnancy include:
These problematic veins most often occur in the legs but can also occur in the genital area (vulva). Hemorrhoids, which are a type of varicose veins, are also a common problem during pregnancy.
Symptoms related to varicose veins that develop during pregnancy vary but often include:
Note that you should call us if you develop signs of thrombophlebitis or inflammation of a varicose vein that may indicate clot formation.
Symptoms of thrombophlebitis include veins that feel hard, warm, or painful to touch. You may also notice spreading redness of the skin over or around the affected blood vessel.
Dr. Gioscia explains that while you can’t always prevent varicose veins during pregnancy, you may be able to decrease your risk of developing them by:
You can also try lying on your left side when sleeping to help relieve pressure on the inferior vena cava, which is on the right side of your body.
Enlarged veins related to pregnancy may diminish in size and fade within several months of delivery as your blood volume returns to normal.
Otherwise, Dr. Gioscia may recommend a minimally invasive, in-office treatment to seal problematic leg veins. This action encourages your body to reroute blood flow to a nearby healthy vein.
Dr. Gioscia notes that this is not a one-fix-for-all practice. During your initial consultation, he takes time to fully evaluate your leg veins and then devises the most effective treatment plan, which may include:
For further information about a customized treatment strategy to eliminate varicose veins, make an appointment with Dr. Gioscia at the Vein Institute of Westchester today.