A patient saw me this week with very problematic pain in the lower left inner ankle associated with varicose veins that had been troubling her for several years. She is in her 6th month of pregnancy, this being her fifth child. She now has a bulging lump near her ankle with darkening of the skin and mild infection at the site. She had noted symptoms of aching and heaviness in her legs during prior pregnancies but unfortunately had been given misinformation that she needed to wait until she was done child bearing before seeking treatment.
In reality, women of child bearing age should have their varicose veins evaluated and treated between pregnancies so that the progressive symptoms can be eliminated. Successive pregnancies tend to exacerbate the leg pain.
Of course, during pregnancy, we are very limited in our ability to treat varicose veins. These veins tend to become even more symptomatic during pregnancy because of the changes in hormones that cause the veins to swell. Support hose can be beneficial in many cases, though they do not cure the underlying cause of varicose veins.
Once patients deliver, we can proceed with a more comprehensive work up, including duplex ultrasound. This test maps the flow in the veins and illustrates where the vein valves are not working well. Eventually we can treat the poorly functioning veins with the Venefit Procedure (VNUS Closure) so that circulation is normalized and veins can resolve.
While your leg pain during pregnancy cannot be completely addressed during the 9 month term, you should seek evaluation as soon as possible after you deliver, and most certainly before your next pregnancy, to avoid medical complications. Dr. Rosenberg or Dr. McNeill, both diplomates of the American College of Phlebology, can provide full evaluation of your condition at any of the Capitol Vein & Laser Centers (www.mycvl.com).