Approximately 40% of pregnant women will experience some level of varicose veins in the legs during and after pregnancy. Why does this happen, and do they go away after pregnancy?
During pregnancy, women experience several hormonal changes that can significantly affect the health of their veins. For example, blood volume increases 40-50% above pre-pregnancy levels, which puts additional stress on the blood vessels causing them to bulge. A steady increase in progesterone may also cause the vein walls to dilate, weaken and become less elastic. This means they’re more likely to get stretched out of shape, causing the vein valves to separate and malfunction.
Vein valves are tiny flaps inside the vein walls that open and close to help push blood from the extremities back to the heart. If they stop working, blood can flow backward (reflux), pool inside the veins, and cause painful, ropy varicose veins.
While the additional blood and progesterone are needed to support the growing baby during pregnancy, they significantly impact a woman’s vein health during pregnancy and increase her risk of varicose veins after pregnancy as well.
Varicose veins after pregnancy treatment options
Varicose vein treatment is not recommended during pregnancy. For most women, varicose veins will start to recede and completely disappear within 3-4 months of giving birth (when progesterone levels return to normal).
However, for some women, varicose veins may stay long after childbirth and worsen with each subsequent pregnancy. For this reason, you may want to wait to treat your varicose veins until you’re done having children. Unfortunately, varicose veins can reappear during later pregnancies, even if you’ve had them medically treated in the past.
When you’re ready to get rid of your unsightly varicose veins after pregnancy, treatment options at Carolina Vein Specialists include:
- Endovenous laser ablation (EVLT/EVLA)
- Microphlebectomy (ambulatory phlebectomy)
- Endovenous chemical ablation (foam sclerotherapy)
Does the appearance of varicose veins on your legs make you avoid full-length mirrors, shorts, or skirts? If you’re ready to restore the natural beauty of your legs after pregnancy, contact Carolina Vein Specialists at 336-536-6522 for a comprehensive assessment. Our vein care specialists are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins. They are also equipped to perform several minimally invasive treatment options to help your legs feel better and look better fast.