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Women's Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Jul 7, 2016 - 5:36:25 PM

Pregnancy and the Development of Varicose Veins

By Staff Editor
Jun 2, 2014 - 3:02:38 PM

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( - Women who are pregnant often develop varicose veins. These are veins that have become enlarged, squiggly, and/or dark in appearance. They develop due to increased pressure in the numerous veins of the body which leads to the damage of vital blood valves. When blood valves are weakened blood can pool, ultimately leading to varicose veins. These veins can be painful and displeasing to look at.

While this condition can happen to anyone it is especially common in pregnant women and the general female population. This is due to the increased weight during a pregnancy and the growing fetus applying added pressure to the lower abdomen and pelvic veins. Other common causes of varicose veins include:

  • Obesity-Excess weight puts more of a workload on veins and therefore causes them to be susceptible to turning into varicose veins.
  • Hormone Imbalance-Hormones play an important part towards nearly all bodily functions, which includes a significant role in the process of developing vein walls. During a pregnancy, hormones like estrogen are primarily focused on the health of the fetus and regard vein walls as second priority. As result many vein walls diminish in strength during a pregnancy making them more prone to become varicose veins
  • Obesity-Any added weight causes veins to work harder and therefore makes them more prone to varicose veins.
  • Poor dieting and lifestyle-It is important to eat healthy and exercise regularly otherwise vein health diminishes.
  • Excessive Standing-By standing on your feet too much you apply extra stress on the veins.

Prevention and Treatment of Varicose Veins

In many cases varicose veins are harmless and may cause only mild discomfort. When a women is pregnant they may even fade away after delivery. When it comes to treating this condition the best approach is always prevention. Some of the best prevention methods include: avoiding strenuous periods of time on your feet, exercising daily, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing compression stockings. All of these prevention methods help keep veins healthy and improve circulation. If you are pregnant it is always important to ask your doctor on what activities you can partake in to prevent varicose vein development.

In many cases varicose veins are inevitable. If they do not go away on their own there are treatment options available. If not addressed the veins can worsen in appearance and discomfort and can seriously harm circulation. These effected veins can be surgically removed through small incision with localized anesthesia. Another approach is to use Ultrasound Guided laser ablation or Radiofrequency Ablation. These treatments are effective at removing unattractive and health threatening varicose veins. In most cases these irregular veins will not return.

Dr. Thomas Wright is a board certified liposuction and cosmetic surgeon in St. Louis, MO. He is also the founder of the Laser Lipo & Vein Center in St. Louis.


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