Varicose veins- Causes and Prevention

Varicose Veins during pregnancy

Varicose veins occur when your veins are enlarged, dilated or are overfilled with blood. Also known as Varicoses or Varicosities, these veins appear swollen and raised, have a reddish or bluish-purple colour. The condition is very common among women and is often very painful.

Causes

Varicose veins have only one-way valves thus restricting the blood flow backwards. As the blood begins to collect in the veins, the veins then enlarge. Since the veins in your legs are the farthest from your heart and gravity makes it further difficult for the blood to flow upwards, they usually tend to occur in your lower legs although during pregnancy they can also appear on the buttocks and vaginal area. Hemorrhoids are also a kind of varicose vein that occurs in the anus or rectum area specially during pregnancy and is often a result of constipation.

Some potential causes include:

1. Pregnancy

2. Menopause

3. Age over 50

4. Standing for all period of time

5. Obesity

6. Family history of varicose veins

Varicose Veins during Pregnancy

As your uterus tends to expand, the pressure on your legs tends to increase. When you are pregnant, the amount of blood flow in your body increases while the rate at which the blood flows from your legs to your pelvis tends to decrease, adding further burden on your veins. Being overweight or carrying twins or multiples and standing for long periods makes it more likely to occur.

Women during pregnancy tend to develop varicose veins very often or find that they get worse with every successive term of pregnancy and as you get older. Your legs may tend to get heavy and achy. The skin around the vein may even feel itchy or burning. Some people even tend to develop small blood clots near the skin’s surface. The vein may then feel hard and rope-like and the area around it becomes red, tender and painful.

How to prevent occurrence of Varicose veins during Pregnancy

Although varicose veins can be hereditary, you can prevent or atleast minimise the occurence and its effects if you:

1. Exercise daily accompanied with atleast 30 minutes of walk

2. Try to maintain your weight within the parameters as suggested by your doctor.

3. Always sit with your legs elevated by resting your legs on a tall stoll or a box and with pillows when you are lying down.

4. Do not sit with your legs or ankles crossed

5. Do not sit or stand for a long period. Take frequent breaks.

6. Sleep on your left side

7. Avoid wearing high heels. Wearing flats fosters healthy circulation

8. Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy & fiber rich diet

The good news is the varicose veins tend to disappear or diminish within three to four months after giving birth. Happy Pregnancy! 😉

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