Tag: pregnancy

Pregnancy and Varicose Veins: What You Need to Know

Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

Today, let’s talk pregnancy and varicose veins: the struggle is real. When you first get pregnant, people will prepare you for a lot of things. From nausea and cravings to fatigue and mood swings, chances are you probably think you’ve heard it all. If only that were true.

For as many as 70% of expectant mothers, varicose veins can come as a somewhat frightening surprise. After all, the last thing you want to see during your pregnancy are unexpected (and unwanted) surprises on your body!

What’s worse? Those veins may not stick on your legs. Many pregnant women develop varicose veins of the vulva. Or they get hemorrhoids, which are actually varicose veins in the rectum.

However, there’s no need to worry: while varicose veins may be uncomfortable, they are not dangerous for you or your pregnancy. Learn more about what causes varicose veins during pregnancy, and what you can do to solve the problem safely.

Why Do Pregnant Women get Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins around the legs, breasts, rectum, and vulva are a very common side effect of pregnancy. Because it now has another being to support, your body produces more blood during pregnancy, which can result in added pressure on your blood vessels.

Effects on your breasts

Spider veins on your breasts may appear as your blood volume increases during your pregnancy. They’ll likely appear in your first trimester, and may continue during breastfeeding. At that time, the milk in your breasts can make the veins more visible, but they should fade when your baby weans. 

Now, if you also notice pain, redness or fever, you may have an infection called mastitis. This can develop if bacteria enters your milk duct, and can be serious if you don’t seek immediate treatment.

Lower Body Pregnancy Effects

This effect is particularly pronounced near your lower body, as your legs are responsible for working against gravity to deliver the extra blood to your heart. This blood also moves more slowly than normal, increasing the pressure placed on the veins and causing them to bulge. In addition to bulging veins, the extra blood has been known to cause hemorrhoids and swollen vulva.

It may sound strange, but the varicose veins in your vagina are a common effect of pregnancy. They are caused by increased blood flow to your vagina, and also by your growing uterus, which puts pressure on those veins. Plus, increased production of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy is also a contributing factor to the development of varicose veins. Wherever they may pop up.

Addressing Leg Swelling

Of course, varicose veins aren’t the only troubling pregnancy side effect. So many women also develop swollen legs and ankles. In fact, the two symptoms often go hand-in-hand. And they’re triggered by the same problem: extra weight puts more pressure on your lower extremities. That pressure makes it harder for blood, and other fluids, to leave your legs and return to your heart, so your veins and legs often swell from the extra fluid.

Fortunately, there’s one common solution to both these issues: compression socks. When you wear compression socks while you’re pregnant, they can offer pain relief by encouraging proper blood flow. These compression socks can also help prevent edema (swelling) as well as varicose veins. But what if you’ve already noticed these pesky veins popping up? Just keep reading to find out your next best steps.

Treating Varicose Veins in Pregnancy compression socks and pregnancy

While your varicose veins pose no risk to you or your child during pregnancy, they are unsightly and can be somewhat painful. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe, all-natural options for alleviating discomfort until they recede naturally.

  • Elevate Your Legs: When you have some time to lie down and relax, try to elevate your legs above your heart for about 15 minutes. This will help the blood recirculate appropriately, and is most effective if done at least three or four times a day. To maintain results, consider wearing compression stockings during the day.
  • Practice Proper Sitting: Try not to cross your legs, or sit on your feet, to preserve blood flow.
  • Sleep on your left side. This can promote better blood flow. Add offer a number of other benefits. 
  • Watch weight gain: Being overweight increases your varicose vein risk. Your doctor can suggest a healthy, targeted weight gain based on your pre-pregnancy Body-Mass Index (BMI).
  • Try Warm Baths. These can be especially soothing to varicose veins in your vagina. But stay away from hot baths, as they can be dangerous for your baby.
  • Stay Mobile: While being pregnant can zap your energy, staying active is essential to preventing and alleviating varicose veins. Hardcore gym trips aren’t necessary; simply work in a few walks or some light cardio each day to promote stronger circulation during pregnancy.
  • Skip Tight Clothing: That’s especially important around your stomach, waist and legs, since snug fits can restrict your blood flow.
  • Sleep On Your Left Side: While it might take some getting used to, sleeping on your left side comes with a number of health benefits, including the reduction of varicose veins and an increase in blood flow to the fetus. Sleeping on your left side reduces the amount of pressure put on the vena cava, your body’s largest vein, which is located on the right side of your body.
  • Take Your Vitamins: A healthy diet rich in vitamin C can work wonders for improving vein health during pregnancy, by providing your body with the tools it needs to generate collagen and repair damaged blood vessels.

After-Baby Solutions

In most cases, varicose veins fade on their own once pregnancy has ended…but sometimes, that just isn’t the case. While surgical vein treatments are not safe during pregnancy, they could be your best option for removing varicose veins after you’ve welcomed your child.

If you’re ready to fight back against varicose veins, Texas Endovascular offers a number of varicose treatment options to ensure that you receive the right results for your exact needs. Our procedures are minimally invasive, require only local anesthesia, and can be performed conveniently in-office. Discover what Texas Endovascular can do for your post-pregnancy body, and schedule your consultation today.

Sources: Kidspot, Baby Gaga, American Pregnancy Association

These are 4 Reasons Why Your Legs Cramp

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Leg cramps could be a sign of serious medical conditions: don’t ignore this painful problem!

Leg cramps: they’re painful and annoying. But did you know they could be more than just a nuisance? Yes, that’s right! These cramps are often a symptom of a more serious medical condition. Here are four health problems that could give you cramps. (Plus what you need to do about them.)

What’s Causing My Leg Cramps?

Anytime you have a new symptom, you want to know the cause. But something like leg cramps could seem unimportant. After all, they usually pass quickly. And they aren’t crippling. Still, cramps in your leg may actually indicate bigger health problems that are brewing. Here are four possible reasons your legs cramp. (All of which are worth discussing with your Houston vein specialist!)

  1. Serious Disease

    Certain vein diseases can trigger cramping. Two likely causes are varicose veins (incompetent veins that have started to swell) or chronic venous insufficiency. (Also called CVI, this is a condition in which your valves don’t work the way they’re supposed to. And the walls of your veins weaken. For those reasons, some of your blood flows down into your legs instead of upwards to return to your heart). If CVI is the problem, the pain in your legs could also throb or ache. And you may experience other symptoms such as itchy skin on your feet and legs. Flaking skin, swelling (edema) and even ulcers or deep vein thrombosis (DVT.)

    Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) may also cause cramping in your legs. But unlike CVI cramps, the ones you notice with PAD usually appear when you’re active. Then, as soon as you sit and rest, they resolve. Pad and other cardiac diseases cause leg cramps, as do degenerative disc conditions. All of which could trigger serious health complications. So you must discuss these symptoms with your doctor.

  2. Dehydration

    Dehydration can also cause leg cramps. And you get dehydrated for several different reasons: not enough water intake in warm weather; certain dehydrating beverages like coffee and black tea, or certain medications with diuretic effects. Kidney conditions may also affect your ability to remain hydrated.

  3. Thyroid Irregularities

    When your thyroid is functioning too slowly (hypothyroidism), you may experience several symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, difficulties thinking clearly and cramps in your muscles, especially in your legs.

  4. Vitamin Deficiencies

    Leg cramps can also be the result of a magnesium, potassium or calcium deficiency in your body. You may notice the cramps in your toes, calves, the arches of your feet, and/or the backs of your legs. Many pregnant women will experience vitamin deficiencies, and pregnant women are also more vulnerable to vein conditions like varicose veins, so expectant mothers should pay extra close attention to symptoms like leg cramps.

    Treating Leg Cramps in Houston

    When dealing with a relatively minor complication like leg cramps, it can be tempting to ignore your symptoms. You may simply hope they go away after a while. But, as you’ve seen, this minor annoyance could be a sign of a major issue. So ignoring the issue can be dangerous.

    Since leg cramps can be symptoms of so many serious medical problems, it’s important to see our vein specialists right away if you experience this symptom. Ready to get help? Reach out to our office today for an immediate appointment.

Sources: Medicine Net , Mayo Clinic

DVT and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Here’s what you need to know about DVT and pregnancy. A Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of your body. These deep veins are exactly what they sound like: situated deep inside your body, far away from your skin’s surface. Because the veins aren’t visible, a clot could form unnoticed. And if it doesn’t get treated, it could break free from its initial position, travelling through the circulatory system and ending up in other parts of your body. If that happens, you could be facing a life-threatening medical emergency, especially if the clot travels to your lungs (also known as a pulmonary embolism.)

Many factors can elevate your risk of DVT, including long plane flights, surgery and your age.

Today, we also know that COVID-19 increases your risk for blood clots and DVT, even if your initial symptoms were relatively mild.

Of course, even with vaccines now available, pregnancy probably feels frightening. You may be worried about delivering during the times of Coronavirus, and we aren’t here to scare you.

Still, today, we’re going to look at the connection between pregnancy and your risk for DVT. In that way, you can  protect your vein health during this very different time. When you are pregnant, the blood-clotting factors in your body fluctuate, making clotting more likely. In fact, most pregnant women have a DVT rate that is five-times higher than when they are not expecting. And this elevated risk is a very big deal: DVT is one of the leading killers for pregnant women; your DVT risk is highest in your third trimester and for the first week after delivering your baby.

So, now that you understand your DVT risk during pregnancy, let’s examine the ways in which we can protect your health.

Managing Your DVT Risk During Pregnancy

If you already had a history of blood clots before getting pregnant, your doctor may suggest taking blood thinners while you are expecting. But if you are an otherwise-healthy woman, making smart lifestyle choices during pregnancy can help manage your risk for DVT. Following a healthy diet, and preventing gestational diabetes, can help lower your DVT risk, since being overweight can also increase your likelihood for DVT. Sticking to a regular, doctor-approved exercise program can also help lower your risk for DVT.

Of course, there are never guarantees when it comes to clot prevention. So, if you are pregnant and concerned about clotting, we invite you to discuss your DVT risk with one of our Houston-area vein specialists! Concerned about coming to the office for an in-person visit? Don’t worry: we offer Telemedicine appointments for your comfort and safety. But, whether virtually or in our office, we urge you not to wait to address blood clot concerns. If you think you have a DVT, call our office and request an immediate appointment. We’ll see you right away, and decide if you need to head directly to the emergency room!

 

Sources: Journal Radiology,

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