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Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that are caused by faulty valves in the veins or weak vein walls. They are common during pregnancy, particularly in women with a family history of the problem.
Varicose veins typically develop on the legs but can also affect the vulva. Though varicose veins are often only a cosmetic concern, they can become painful. In severe cases, they can bleed.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus puts more pressure on the veins that return blood from the legs, and it becomes harder for blood to leave the legs. (The extra weight of multiple fetuses puts an even greater burden on the deep veins in the legs.) This can lead to pooled blood that causes one or more veins to swell.
If you or other women in your family have had varicose veins, use preventive and treatment measures that are safe during pregnancy.
Only in severe cases are varicose veins treated with surgery or injected medicine during pregnancy.
After pregnancy, varicose veins do not always return to their previous size.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofNovember 21, 2017
Current as of: November 21, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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