Varicose veins are common during pregnancy and usually occur in the legs. They are caused by increased blood volume and pressure on the veins. Varicose veins can be painful and uncomfortable, but they are usually harmless. In rare cases, they can lead to more severe problems; if you have Upper East Side varicose veins, you may be at risk of blood clots.
There are different causes of varicose veins, but pregnancy is a major one. The extra weight of the baby and the increased blood volume can put pressure on the veins and cause them to become enlarged. Other factors that can contribute to varicose veins during pregnancy include:
- Standing or sitting for long periods can cause the blood to pool in the veins and lead to varicose veins.
- Hormones: The hormones released during pregnancy relax the walls of the veins, which can contribute to varicose veins.
- Family history: If you have a family history of varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them during pregnancy.
- Obesity: Being overweight increases the risk of developing varicose veins.
- Age: Women over 30 are more likely to develop varicose veins during pregnancy.
Now that you know the basics about varicose veins, here is what every pregnant woman should look out for:
Swelling in the legs
The main symptom of varicose veins is swelling in the legs. It is caused by the pooling of blood in the veins. The swelling can be mild or severe and is usually worse at the end of the day. Your doctor can check for swelling by measuring the circumference of your leg. If you have varicose veins, you may also notice:
Aching or pain in the legs
Aching or pain in the legs is another common symptom of varicose veins. The pain is usually worse when you stand for long periods of standing up after sitting for a long time. The pain may also be worse at the end of the day.
Cramping in the legs
Your legs may cramp at night, especially if you have been standing or sitting for long periods during the day. The cramping is caused by the pooling of blood in the veins. The blood can flow more freely when you lie down, and the cramping should go away.
If you have varicose veins, you may notice changes in the skin on your legs. The skin may become thicker and darker. You may also see stretch marks on the skin. In severe cases, ulcers may form on the skin.
If you have varicose veins, you may also experience restless legs. It is a condition where you feel an urge to move your legs. The feeling is often described as an uncomfortable, crawling sensation. The restless legs may be worse at night and make it difficult to sleep.
There are various treatment options available for varicose veins. Some women may wait and see if the veins improve after pregnancy. For women who are uncomfortable or in pain, some treatments can help. One treatment plan is wearing compression stockings can help reduce the swelling in your legs and make the veins less visible.
It is essential to know what to expect regarding varicose veins during pregnancy. Swelling in the legs, pain, cramping, skin changes, and restless legs are common symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Upper East Side Cardiology to talk to your doctor.