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What Are Varicose Veins And What Causes Them?

When you find out you are going to be a mother, it begins a period which is full of joy and challenges. However, after the euphoria of the big news fades away, concerns start to make their appearance and the fear of some problems that may occur during the 9 months of pregnancy start to leave a mark. If you already started to document yourself, you probably found out that some of these issues will soon pass away, while other consequences will stick with you on the long run. What do you know about varicose veins?

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

There are a lot of fears that expecting mothers have for their healthy during pregnancy, but also regarding the way pregnancy affects their body. A lot of future mothers, or who already have babies, talk about the connection between the occurrence of varices and pregnancy. In reality, their occurrence has no relation with pregnancy, only that during this period they are easier to be noticed or they worsen. Besides their unpleasant look, varicose veins represent a real health issue which needs to be treated seriously.

Table of Contents

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varices represent one of the most common venous diseases and characterized by segmental dilation on larger venous trunks or cross-linked to smaller veins. When they are located superficially (near the skin`s surface), these veins become visible and often produce characteristic symptoms – fatigue, sensation of weight or pain for the respective member. In more severe cases, varicose veins might break and might cause ulcerated lesions. The most frequent location of varices is in the lower limbs, in the calves or thighs. They may occur both in men and women at any age. Around 40% of men and 50% of women suffer of a certain form of varicose disease.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are of 2 types:

  • Primitive – their occurrence (of undetermined origin) demonstrates an insufficiency of venous valves, which cannot resist to the return of blood flow. Pregnancy, overweight and prolonged orthostatism favor and worsen varicose veins.
  • Secondary – they occur after obstructions in the way of venous return often encountered after thrombophlebitis.

One of the causes of varices is represented by the absence or weakness of venous valves which prevent the retrograde blood flow in a gravitational sense, and these anomalies may lead to poor venous circulation. In other situations, we can also talk about weakening the venous walls. Rarely, varices  are a consequence of some illnesses such as phlebitis or other congenital malformations of the veins.

Varices & Pregnancy

You should know that pregnancy isn`t the cause of this illness of the inferior limbs. In about 95% of cases, varices are transmitted genetically. The rest of 5% is determined by other causes (trauma, burning, other diseases). However, during pregnancy, while the uterus increases, it exerts more pressure on the inferior vena cava (the large vein behind the uterus), which in turn increases the pressure on the veins of the legs. The amount of blood in the body increases during pregnancy, the same the level of progesterone which determines the walls of the blood veins to relax. Behind the “ugly” look that they give to the legs, varicose veins may also give the sensation of “heavy” legs and may become painful. The good news is that they tend to improve after giving birth, especially if they weren’t experienced before pregnancy.

It`s More Important to Prevent Them than to Combat

To limit their occurrence, you should adopt a lifestyle that would favor a good blood circulation:

  • Make daily physical activities that would keep you moving (walking, house chores, etc);
  • Avoid pressure on the legs, caused usually by tight stockings;
  • Avoid hot baths;
  • Don`t expose your legs to sunlight;
  • Avoid warm in parquet and waxing;
  • Don`t stand to long periods of time.

Tips for Alleviating Painful Symptoms

  • Stand up as often as you can, so your blood don`t stagnate in your veins. Lie on the floor next to a wall and lean your legs on it

From this position, you can massage your legs. Use one leg to start massaging the foot of the other leg, then lower down inside the calf over the entire length. Then massage the thighs vigorously with your hands. Then do the same with the other leg for around 10 minutes.

  • Try to sleep at night with your legs as raised as possible. Sleep sooner on the left to release the large blood vessels from the uterus`s pressure.
  • There are a series of preparations based on plants. Ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist to recommend some of them.
  • Avoid constipation by consuming a rich diet of fibers such as tartlets flakes, apples, pears, beans or whole grains. Constipation blocks the blood circulation and exerts a lot of pressure on the veins.

How to Treat Varicose Veins?

The only way of properly treating varicose veins is by surgery. It`s recommended to all women who experience this affection before pregnancy to operate.

With the accord of the doctor, all women in their first months of pregnancy can be operated. The results are excellent, as the illness is stopped from its development during pregnancy as well as after birth, this way being able to prevent any future complications. – More info!

For women in their second or third trimester, it`s recommended wearing elastic stockings, performing specific gymnastics exercises and daily walking for around 30 to 60 minutes.

Advantages of Surgery

Surgery on varices without stripping is a modern and painless (non-bleeding) method which needs a lot of experience for the medical staff. Comparing with classical surgery, this particular method actually means: 2 – 3 hours of hospitalization, immediate mobilization of the patient, anesthesia and avoiding any possible bleeding. – More info!

The patient may resume any normal domestic or professional activities within 24 hours from the medical intervention.

Should I Call the Doctor?

Varicose veins represent more a cosmetic problem than a health one. Even so, call your doctor if you experience any pain or the skin above a vein starts to peel off. Visit your doctor immediately if a vein breaks and bleeds or you start feeling pain when you walk. If there`s edema occurring, you may notice blood clots, redness and pain in one of the legs. That`s when you need to contact your doctor.

Image courtesy of momjunction.com

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