Itchy varicose veins are the last thing you need to play spoil sport in an otherwise smoothly progressing pregnancy.
One of the commonest problems during pregnancy, varicose veins are not cause for worry. They usually subside post-delivery on their own, rarely requiring treatment. The only concern during pregnancy regarding varicose veins is the pain, itching, heaviness and swelling of the foot they cause. These symptoms too can be taken care of very easily.
What are varicose veins and what are the causes of varicose veins during pregnancy?
Varicose veins are swollen veins that bulge under the skin of legs. They usually appears as a bluish or purplish spider like spread on the skin surface of your legs, or thighs. The skin area around these veins can get itchy and your legs might feel heavy or achy. These itchy varicose veins can be more troublesome at night or while resting.
During pregnancy, varicose veins are caused by the growing uterus, which presses onto the veins of your legs. These veins carry blood from legs back to your heart for receiving oxygen. This means they are going against the gravity and this is hampered further by pressure of the uterus, leading to bulging of these veins. In addition, one of the hormones released during pregnancy, progesterone, relaxes the muscles of your veins, further adding to the bulging and making these veins even more visible. Chances of you getting varicose veins are higher if you are ovreweight or you have a family history of varicose veins or your profession includes standing for a long time.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Varicose veins symptoms include the following
- Itching over the skin of swollen veins
- Heaviness and pain in legs
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Cramps in legs
- Throbbing or burning in legs
If these symptoms become you must contact your doctor.
Can I do anything for varicose veins prevention?
Alas! There’s nothing much that can be done for preventing development of varicose veins. However, certain lifestyle changes can help in reducing the discomfort and can delay the development of varicose veins.
- Avoid sedentary life-style – Avoid sitting or standing for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. If you are sitting, get up and walk or do stretching exercises and if you are standing take a small brisk walk. These little movements avoids pooling of blood in the legs and helps in reducing the foot swelling as well as pain.
- Manage your weight with healthy diet – Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy can make you prone to various health hazards including varicose veins. So, during pregnancy ensure a healthy diet and regular exercising to avoid excessive weight gain, which can help in preventing the onset of varicose veins.
- Keep your feet up or elevated –While sleeping or resting, keeping your feet over pillows or foot supports can help in returning the blood back to heart. This avoids stagnation of blood in legs, thus reducing chances of developing varicose veins.
What are the various varicose veins treatment options available?
Varicose veins are treated using various modalities. Varicose vein specialists initially suggest to follow simple techniques of keeping your legs up and to avoid standing for a long time. They also advice compression stockings that help in compressing these veins and prevent back flow of blood. This also helps in reducing varicose vein pain. Apart from this, applying moisturizers over the veins can help in reducing itching.
Some of the treatment modalities like varicose veins surgery , varicose veins removal, stripping off the vein or laser surgery are avoided during pregnancy, as these procedures carry risk for the growing baby. Thus conservative treatment is the best mode of managing varicose veins and associated symptoms.