varicose veins in pregnancy
Varicose veins are common in pregnancy.

Varicose veins are not alien features in the human body; in fact, they are more common than we know especially among pregnant women. Varicose veins are veins that are large and swollen and are located around the feet and leg region. They occur as a result of poor functionality of the veins which in turn reduces the effectiveness of blood flow.

The varicose veins are usually a harmless feature experienced during pregnancy. The veins that are affected are the large inferior vena cava that carries blood back to the heart. The varicose veins can be uncomfortable, itchy, painful and unpleasant to the eye. In very severe cases a rupture of the vein may occur or varicose ulcers may develop on the skin. Hemorrhoids are also a type of varicose veins.

To understand the reason why varicose veins occur we must know that a normal healthy leg vein has just a valve that only allows passage of blood back to the heart. When these one-way valves cease to function at par, varicose veins occur. This then causes the blood not returned to the heart to accumulate in the veins and leads to the stretching of the walls of the veins. It also causes the veins to twist and bulge to the extent that they can be seen through the skin.

Varicose veins are common in pregnancy because there is more blood production in the course of pregnancy and this helps your baby grow. In the growth process of your baby, the uterus continues to expand to accommodate the baby and puts pressure on the veins in the leg region. This then leads to the partial blockage of the valve that allows blood to be returned to the heart. It is this accumulated pool of blood that gives you swollen legs and varicose veins.

Varicose veins can be painful and lead to other complications, if not treated.

Varicose Veins in Grand Junction

Varicose veins in Grand Junction occur when the veins on your legs and feet become swollen or enlarged due to blood cluttering in that specific area. Known to be incredibly painful, varicose veins can include bleeding or inflammation, resulting in grueling bluish lumps and bulges around the affected area. The main cause for the occurrence of varicose veins is a blockage in the valves of the veins, resulting in blood pooling or blood moving in the wrong direction in the body. While some may face lesser levels of pain as the varicose vein simply forms under the skin as a bluish line instead of the normal green colored veins, others will face serious consequences if not treated.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Our arteries usually pass blood through its original point from the heart to circulate around the body with the help of the veins. This blood normally travels through the body in a one-way valve that is formed within the veins. However, the valves might weaken over time as the walls of the veins start to loosen up and become tensile, leading to blood being allowed to flow backward. This results in blood amassing at certain spaces within the body which causes the swelling and bruising of the skin.

Varicose veins usually end up manifesting in the legs or feet as the blood which flows backward is limited in its course due to the work of gravity. Therefore, it normally accumulates within the area of the legs, and thus, remains far away from affecting the heart – as such an occurrence will signify a serious concern for your health.

The condition of varicose veins is prevalently identified within a certain group of people due to a few risk potentials they pose. The following presents the factors that commonly relate to the occurrence of varicose veins:

Gender

Because of their hormonal changes, women are more commonly diagnosed with varicose veins than their gender counterparts. Pregnancy, pre-menstruation, periods and menopause entail certain hormonal changes which enforce the vein walls to loosen up. The chances of varicose veins affecting females double when hormone treatment pills are brought into the mix as these tamper largely with the basic functionality of the body.

Age

As people get older, their bodies tend to relax more. Therefore, it becomes natural for their valves to become weaker causing a reversal in their blood flow direction. When this blood turns back on its course and pools into one place, varicose veins become transparent on their bodies.

Pregnancy

Females going through pregnancy find varicose veins to be the standard consequence of the exponential change in their blood circulation. While the protection and support of the fetus causes the increase in blood, it can also lead to the horrible side effect of enlarged veins, which later translates into varicose veins.

In addition to the large inflow of blood and greater pressure on the blood circulation system of the body, women also suffer from changes in their hormone levels which results in the blood walls to loosen up further. Varicose veins can also occur in women during pregnancy from the accumulation of pressure in the veins in their pelvic area which is common before childbirth. Ideally, varicose veins do not last long after the pregnancy but in certain cases, there may be remnants of scars and even a few swollen areas.

Other Risk Factors

Being obese adds more pressure to your veins, causing certain tears along its walls that would weaken it. Likewise, if pressure cumulates within a certain area of the body from either standing or sitting for a long period of time, a higher potential of varicose veins can occur. Furthermore, genetics play a big part in the possibility of one suffering from varicose veins as it is also a hereditary problem.

Complications from Varicose Veins


Due to the blockage of proper blood flow, varicose veins can pose a great threat to your body. However, such occurrences happen rather rarely and will take several years from the first appearance of varicose veins to truly take effect.

Blood Clots

From the accumulation of blood, blood clots might surface underneath your skin. This occurs specifically when the veins that lie completely under your skin become swollen up, causing a bulging of the skin that turns into a rather painful ordeal for sufferers. This happening is medically denoted as thrombophlebitis, which indicates an inflammation of the veins in your leg.

Ulcers

Ulcers typically emerge around the affected area of a varicose vein, usually around the ankles. You can identify this when your skin develops a discoloration which precedes the formation of an ulcer.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Blood circulation is the main method through which your body moves oxygen and nutrients all around it. Therefore, when the formation of varicose veins deters blood circulation, your body exchanges these crucial elements less efficiently, resulting in a disruption known as chronic venous insufficiency. This condition also results from different issues such as varicose eczema, which leads to your skin turning red and scaly, and lipodermatosclerosis which causes an unnatural hardening of your skin.

Types of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins can culminate in different variations. Here are all the types of varicose veins that can occur:

Saphenous varicose veins

With the usual veins in the human body being distinguished as either a deep vein or a superficial vein, varicose veins develop inside the superficial veins which typically comprise of a very limited portion of the blood flow that runs through the legs. Here, varicose veins often form within a specific type of vein which is called the saphenous veins. The saphenous vein can be differentiated as the greater saphenous vein or the lesser saphenous vein, where the former is a vein that connects from the ankle to the femoral vein and the latter moves through Achilles tendon and runs to a deep vein connected with the back of the knees.

Branch Type Varicose Vein

This varicose vein becomes visible in the areas below the knees and it normally takes place inside one single saphenous vein. These normally take a rather knobbly appearance which can be unappealing to look at.

Reticular Varicose Vein

These varicose veins come across the body through a red swelling with a very large diameter. Normally, these particular veins are grouped together into a network of varicose veins.

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Visible symptoms will surface soon enough for you to understand that something is wrong. While the fundamental symptoms of varicose veins are swelling and misshaped veins, you may also suffer from severe pain and heaviness in your affected area. The following are a list of effects to your body from the formation of a superficial varicose vein:

Discoloration

You will experience visible discoloration following an occurrence of varicose veins. Usually, the affected veins will turn into a vivid dark purple or bluish color which will signify the onset of a varicose vein issue.

Aching and Feeling of Heaviness

For those who stand up for a long period of time will face profound aching and heaviness in their ankles of feet. There may also be a consequential swelling around the aching area as well.

Itching

You might also encounter significant and perhaps unbearable itching over one or more of your veins. This can follow with a burning or throbbing sensation as well, all of which are common indicators of a varicose vein.

When Should You Call a Doctor?

There are different home remedies for varicose veins but ideally, if you do see a varicose vein gradually forming on your body, it is best to consult with a doctor. Sometimes, varicose veins do not carry pain and thus only occur through discoloration. You might not feel inclined to visit a doctor from the lack of pain, but it is recommended that you still do since this discoloration can quickly turn into gradual pain. However, here are some instances that will mandate a doctor visitation for treatment of your varicose vein:

Worsening Symptoms

The symptoms highlighted above can come in at a moderate level of pain, for which you might suppose a medical check-up isn’t required. However, if these symptoms turn unbearable and you can discern visible changes to your body from greater discoloration, flaky skin and constant bleeding, you absolutely need to visit a doctor. This is because the varicose vein has the potential to turn into a stasis dermatitis which will inevitably cause skin infections and leg ulcers.

Red Varicose Veins

If your varicose vein turns into a red figure that feels warm and sensitive to touch, you might be set in for a possible blood clot to occur. Therefore, you are required to go to a doctor for further information and treatment.

Injury to the Varicose Vein

Varicose veins are prone to bleeding from the slightest cut or bruise, and this particular type of bleeding cannot be restricted or controlled. Therefore, an injury to your varicose vein will need a specialist to operate and treat the problem before it poses a greater risk to your health.

Treatment of Varicose Veins in Grand Junction


Varicose veins that surface only through discoloration and do not entail any level of pain, will not require treatment unless for cosmetic purposes. It is still recommended, however, for your doctor to do a physical exam and prescribe a treatment for you to follow. Here are some of the treatments available for varicose veins:

Compression Stockings

Your doctor will ask you to go through a test before giving you a compression stocking that relieves your discomfort from suffering a varicose vein. Through a Doppler investigation, your doctor will check for your blood circulation where a faulty vein wall. Blocked blood circulation will mandate a compression stocking for you to use.

You may purchase this particular stocking at either a pharmacy or a medical store. It works by squeezing your legs in order to improve blood circulation. The compression stockings will usually feel tighter in the area of your Achilles tendon and ankles due to the lesser saphenous vein being connected to a deep vein which carries blood to the heart. Therefore, this stocking is designed specifically to encourage blood circulation to your heart. In addition to this, the compression stocking also works to improve other symptoms, such as pain and swelling.

Endovenous Laser Vein Treatment

This specific form of treatment includes light energy being passed directly into the vein through a laser beam which will lead the surficial discoloration to disappear. You will have a catheter injected inside your vein from which an ultrasound will be performed to locate the perfect position to treat the varicose vein.

The laser works to heat up the vein and fix the vein wall by sealing it up. The ultrasound helps in the manner of locating all the perforations inside the vein that need to be fixed. Therefore, this treatment ensures a complete mending of the walls for your body to regain its normal blood circulation and completely remove the varicose vein.

Surgical Removal

A process called ligation and stripping can also be conducted to repair the area affected by a varicose vein. This method is done under the effect of general anesthesia and thus, you will hardly face any pain from the removal. Through small incisions, the surgeon identifies and seals the broken vein walls to restore the body of its normal veins.

This method of treatment is rather painful with its side-effects as you will experience pain, bruising and even bleeding from the incision. The main reason behind this is that the surgery only repairs the veins at the surficial level and thus, the veins which are located deep underneath your skin will face breakages. Therefore, it is recommended to wear compression socks for better results following the treatment of your varicose vein.

Grand Junction Vein Center

At Grand Junction Vein Center, we specialize in minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins in Grand Junction, including the Venefit™ procedure and Sclerotherapy. We will discuss these and other options with you during your free vein screening.

 

For more information about conditions related to varicose veins in Grand Junction and surrounding areas, please visit The American Vein and Lymphatic Society. See also Healthy Veins, a site sponsored by AVLS, for further valuable information as well.

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Grand Junction Vein Center

2373 G Road #280
Grand Junction, Colorado. 81505
On the second floor of the Canyonview Medical Plaza
Tel: 970-242-VEIN (8346)