Pregnancy can bring with it a number of health challenges, including the emergence of varicose veins in the legs and feet. Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that can be uncomfortable, as well as painful. While hormones and other factors of pregnancy can contribute to the development of this condition, recent research indicates a strong genetic component.
What is Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves in veins. These valves can no longer keep the blood flowing efficiently, allowing it to become clogged, or pool up, resulting in enlarged vessels. When varicose veins form during pregnancy, it is usually caused by the extra pressure that the growing baby places on the veins and the surrounding tissues.
The Role of Genetics in Varicose Veins
Research published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that certain genetic mutations may increase the likelihood of developing varicose veins during pregnancy. People with certain variations in their genes regulating the production of specific proteins had a two to three times greater risk of developing varicose veins than those without the genetic mutation.
How Can Varicose Veins Affect Health?
When left untreated, varicose veins and other circulatory problems can lead to serious health issues. People with varicose veins are more likely to experience leg cramps, restless legs, swelling in the legs and feet, and skin complications, such as superficial thrombophlebitis. An additional concern is deep vein thrombosis, which can be a life-threatening condition for pregnant women if not caught and treated early.
Treatment for Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
If you are experiencing varicose veins during your pregnancy, there are a number of treatments available, depending on the severity of the problem. In most cases, a combination of support stockings and physical activity to promote good circulation are recommended. Surgery is rarely recommended during pregnancy, but can be an option in severe cases. It is also important to monitor your weight gain during your pregnancy, as being overweight can contribute to the severity of varicose veins.
Varicose veins can be a common, but uncomfortable, side effect of pregnancy. Recent research suggests that genetics play a role in their formation. People with certain variations in their genes may be more likely to experience varicose veins during pregnancy. However, treatments are available to help manage the condition, making sure that both mom and baby remain healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Keywords: Varicose Veins, Genetic, Mutations, Support Stockings, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Circulatory Problems, Treatment, Pregnancy