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Kerrville TX doctor explains the link between pregnancy and varicose vein disease

Pregnancy may be one of the most exciting times of a woman’s life, but it often brings unpleasant medical side effects. Along with morning sickness and back pain, many women find themselves suddenly afflicted with new or worsening varicose or spider veins. Sometimes they fade away after the lactation period (breastfeeding) is over, but it is not always that simple:
  • Varicose or spider veins are likely to reappear during future pregnancies.
  • In women with other factors, the new problematic veins may not fade at all.
  • The more pregnancies a woman has, the more likely she is to experience lasting problems.
Why pregnant women are susceptible

Researchers have spent decades studying the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. They have identified five factors that trigger the development or exacerbation of vein disease:
  • There is an increased volume of blood, because the body is now nourishing mother and child. This added volume causes additional pressure on the leg veins, causing them to stretch.
  • Due to the weight of the developing fetus and surrounding tissue, there is a significant increase in abdominal pressure.
  • The blood levels of progesterone and estrogen increase. This combination can weaken the walls of veins, allowing them to stretch and accommodate the higher volume of blood.
  • Pregnancy increases the level of a hormone called relaxin, which acts on collagen. It is believed to contribute to the weakening of vascular walls.
  • By necessity, pregnant women typically decrease their level of physical activity.
Prevention and treatment

If you have problems with varicose and spider veins, it may advisable to see a vein specialist such as Dr. Martin Franklin of Vein Associates of Texas. Because pregnancy aggravates existing diseased veins, advance treatment can dramatically decrease your problems.

Wearing graduated compression stockings during pregnancy can be helpful. Additionally, remember the importance of sufficient exercise. If possible, try to break up extended periods of sitting or standing. Be sure to follow your obstetrician’s instructions regarding physical activity, and consult with him or her before making changes to your exercise routine.

Varicose or spider veins that do not go away after pregnancy can be treated with a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as sclerotherapy. Call 830-428- 0429 (Kerrville office), 210-764- 4608 (San Antonio office), or 877-581- 9265 (toll free) and schedule an appointment with Dr. Franklin at Vein Associates of Texas to learn more about your options.
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