Postpartum Varicose Veins: What You Should Know About the Twisted Bulging Veins

The development or worsening of varicose veins during pregnancy is very common. In fact, many people are not aware that the connection between varicose veins and pregnancy is quite significant. About 40 percent of pregnant women suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy. These bulging, twisted veins can cause legs to feel heavy, restless, painful and achy, and can increase your risk of developing blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a vein disease that occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of the body.

Pregnancy causes veins in a woman’s body to work harder than normal, leading to the development of varicose veins. Here’s why:

  • The higher levels of progesterone that occur during pregnancy can make you more susceptible to developing varicose veins. This is because increased hormones relax veins and promotes blood to flow in the wrong direction blood, which can result in the formation of varicose veins.
  • The increased volume of blood in your body during pregnancy causes your veins to work harder, resulting in weakened valves that can lead to pooling of blood within the veins.
  • The pressure of an enlarged uterus on the pelvic veins can obstruct the veins from draining into lower extremities and lead to the backflow of blood, resulting in varicose veins.
  • Family history of vein disease can increase your risk of getting varicose veins during pregnancy.

The good news is that for some women, varicose veins tend to improve after pregnancy when progesterone levels return to normal. But for other women, varicose veins can persist after childbirth. No matter what category you fall into, varicose veins can worsen with successive pregnancies. This can put pregnant women with varicose veins at a higher risk of developing blood clots, including a DVT.

A study by the journal JAMA found that among adults with varicose veins, there is a significant risk of developing a DVT. A DVT occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. If left untreated, a DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is when a blood clot gets wedged into an artery in your lungs. This is a life-threatening condition.

The great news is that thanks to modern technology, treating varicose veins in between pregnancies can significantly lower a woman’s risk of developing a blood clot, or a DVT, during and after pregnancy. This procedure, called endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), is minimally invasive, eliminates the need for surgery and has little-to-no downtime. In fact, patients can begin walking immediately after the procedure and return to normal activities the very next day.

If you are planning to become pregnant and have varicose veins or experienced them during a prior pregnancy, contact Dr. Rimas Gilvydis with Northern Illinois Vein Clinic to see if EVLA is the right solution for you. We accept insurance from most major providers and EVLA is covered by most plans.

Our team has performed more than 20,000 successful laser vein treatments. We are known for our reputation for excellence in vein care and for always providing the highest-quality, individualized care with the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Debunking Varicose Vein Myths

Many people put off talking to their doctor about leg vein issues because they think it’s a normal part of aging, it’s purely cosmetic or because insurance won’t cover treatment.

The reality is 40 percent of Americans suffer from varicose veins, a progressive vein disorder that will get worse over time if left untreated.

Most people suffering from varicose veins feel anxious or self-conscious about their legs. Below are some common myths – and realities – about varicose veins.

Myth: “Why should I be concerned about my varicose veins? It’s only a cosmetic issue, right?”

Reality: One of the most common misconceptions is that varicose veins are cosmetic. It makes sense for people to think this because they can be unsightly and cause many to feel self-conscious. The reality, however, is that varicose veins can lead to really uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Heavy feeling in the legs
  • Pain
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Throbbing
  • Itching
  • Cramping
  • Restlessness of the legs

Unfortunately, if left untreated, symptoms will get worse over time. Varicose veins are progressive, which means if left untreated you will have an increased risk of developing more symptoms, including potentially life-threatening complications such as blood clots. This makes it incredibly important to seek help from a specialist if you are suffering any of these symptoms.

Myth: “What are varicose veins anyway and how can I get rid of them?”

Reality: Varicose veins are one of the most common types of vein disorders, which is why patients are always asking us what causes them and how to get rid of them. Varicose veins are swollen, unattractive leg veins that form when a person’s veins are not properly returning blood from the legs back to the heart. And as you know, they can cause people to suffer from significant discomfort and lead to more serious health concerns, such as blood clots.

Today, we use cutting-edge technology and years of experience to create the best possible outcomes for our patients – all with minimal discomfort, little downtime and no scarring. Gone are the old-school treatments of vein stripping and open surgery. In fact, our procedures are so much simpler that most patients typically return to their normal activities the very next day.

Myth: “My insurance won’t cover treatment, so I probably can’t afford it.”

Reality: Because varicose veins have well-documented symptoms like pain, swelling and fatigue in combination with visual evidence, most insurance companies will cover treatment. We accept most major insurance and no referral is needed. We also accept Medicare.

Vein disease is progressive and will get worse over time if left untreated. If you have symptoms that indicate vein problems, act quickly to seek a diagnosis and treatment. Get a leg up on life by contacting us today to schedule a free vein screening.