Monday, March 09, 2009

Fun with varicose veins

I had my first ever ultrasound during pregnancy--only the ultrasound was nowhere near my belly! I have lots of varicose veins this pregnancy, including some really nasty ones behind my left knee. Last week, I forgot to wear my compression hose for 2 days in a row (got behind on the laundry) and I started noticing a lot of pain, swelling, and hard spots in those veins. I went in today for an ultrasound to rule out DVT (deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the deep veins of the leg). Thankfully I don't have DVT, but I do have superficial clots in the varicose veins. Nothing worrisome, just annoying and painful. Still, I'm going to see a vein specialist to see if I can do something about these veins after the baby is here. If it's covered by insurance, I'd be more than happy to get the worst ones removed, since they're quite uncomfortable. And I'd really like not to have to wear compression hose during the summer.

Besides the big varicosity below the knee crease, there's another swollen, hard area above the crease that doesn't show up well in the photo. The veins stick out almost an inch. Lovely, eh?


  1. Glad it wasn't DVT - but man, does that look painful!
    I am sure you have tried the natural remedies?

  2. ouch - glad it wasn't DVT...

  3. Haven't tried natural remedies; at this point compression hose are keeping them at bay. But I'd be curious to hear your suggestions.

    If you want to see some really crazy varicose veins, look on google images...makes mine seem pretty lame in comparison! I finally made myself stop because it was just so hideously fascinating.

  4. Yeah, I have seen worse, but still, definitely not fun for you!
    As for some natural remedies/ideas..
    *Dr. Christopher's V-Vein massage oil
    *Dandelion and/or milk thistle for liver support
    *lecithin for aiding the liver and circulation
    *Hawthorn berry
    I feel like I am missing something...if I remember, I will post it.

  5. Oh Rixa, I took almost the exact same picture of my thrombophlebitis! I had some nasty VV during my pregnancy (also wore the hose!) and developed the exact same clot on postpartum day #5, and two small clots on the same side in my groin on day #6. Fun, fun, fun getting to go to the hospital after my beautiful home birth with my new baby to have compression u/s done!

    Mine have all but "disappeared" now that the effect of the hormones is done, so there is hope! I think they were gone by about a month postpartum. I haven't seen anyone about it because I'm hoping to have at least one more baby and there's not much point getting it fixed to just have it happen again!

  6. I was able to get rid of a varicose vein by putting witch hazel on it externally for 2 weeks, twice a day. I was amazed that I made it go away -- I also started doing this when it first popped up, so it may take a while for v.v. that are already there.

  7. Ow! I'm sorry...
    I think our clients with varicose veins take a supplement they got at the health food store...not sure of the name, but might be worth looking at your local store!

  8. Yikes, Rixa! I hope it gets better!
    take care,

  9. OUCH!!! Hope you have some relief soon.

  10. good symptomatic relief with horse chestnut, which is safe during pregnancy. i took pills and used a salve.

  11. OW! I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. I don't have any advice, but I am sympathetic.

  12. Rixa, this sounds really, really painful! I am sorry. I dont have any advice but I know that there are homeopathics for that, too. Like before surgery, just for relief or something?

    I hope it goes away as soon as that sweet baby is born...or a few weeks afterwards. I had some
    "stuff" that resolved by 6 weeks ppartum.

  13. Be watching for hemorrhoids if you don't already have them!

  14. My midwife suggested Horse helps with circulation.
    Glad it isn't poor thing!

  15. Oh, Rixa! ITA the horse chestnut.

    The Germans do a thing called "stork walking". Google it.

    Grated raw beets.

    Pillow between your knees to sleep, 1/2 hr in the afternoon with legs elevated.

  16. My vericose veins were so bad, my doc put me on baby aspirin once a day to stave off DVT. I was really surprised how greatly it helped with pain and swelling. I stopped taking it when I was within two weeks of my EDD.

    Most vericose veins disappear after the baby is born, since blood volume decreases.

    In addition to being on the watch for hemorrhoids, be on the watch for vaginal varices. My varices were so bad, the extended up my leg, into the vulva, and into the vaginal canal. Awful. Simply awful.

    SOME doctors use vaginal varices as an indication for cesarean (and having them does slightly increase risk of hemorrhage), but my doc waved that off (thankfully), since the pressure from the baby's descending head actually pushes/squeezes the offending veins, ridding them of their excess blood, making the varices a non-issue during delivery.

  17. Thankfully I have no varices anywhere near the vagina and no hemorrhoids. The highest ones are just a bit above my knee.

  18. In case anybody is still reading, did anyone other than me get hemorrhoids through process of pushing the baby out? That was an unpleasant "surprise" for me after birth!

  19. Rixa~ OUCH!
    Rutin, a bioflavonoid also helps strengthen all vessels. You can take a supplement or eat plenty of vit. C fruits and veggies. When eating citrus eat as much of the soft white fuzzy inner peel as you can. Somewhat bitter, but full of rutin. Of course foods high in vit. A also can help strengthen vessels.
    Good luck.

  20. Glad to hear the compression stockings are keeping it at bay - they can help with throbbing and aching during pregnancy as well. Which brand did you go with? I am liking the Sigvaris ones (prescription) because they don't look like granny stockings.

  21. I have the Jobst thigh-high 20-30mm sheer ones; they definitely don't look like granny stockings either. I got them via a prescription so most of the cost was covered.

  22. Andrew K. Fletcher
    Paignton, Devon U.K.
    +44 1803524117
    Inclined Bed Therapy (IBT) Varicose Veins Study.

    We are seeking more people with varicose veins who are willing to put IBT to the test and feel that this is something that your readers and colleagues will definitely find fascinating and some who have varicose veins and oedema and wish to avoid surgery may want to Help in this important trial and join our Free study which has already produced positive results in only 4 weeks as predicted!
    News Release:
    An Important Scientific Study into the cause of Varicose Veins and Oedema and Inclined Bed Therapy (I.B.T.) is now underway, which makes use of the way the body uses gravity to move solutes through the vessels to improve circulation and alter the pressure inside the veins to significantly reduce swelling and oedema. Our study is free for anyone to participate in. There are no products to be sold or marketed.
    What is Inclined Bed Therapy?
    Gravity was identified as the driving force behind circulation in trees in 1994 and was applied immediately to how circulation in the body benefits from the same interaction with salts and sugars in the circulation. A video showing the use of IBT with spinal cord injury can be viewed here.
    IBT is simply tilting the bed so that the head end is 15 cm’s or 6 inches higher than the foot end providing a level but tilted bed, hence the name Inclined Bed Therapy.
    People with varicose veins, oedema (fluid retention) are needed to participate in an online Diary Study, in order to prove that simply altering our sleeping position can have a positive affect on these problems.
    If you or someone you know has Varicose Veins, the standard advise is to raise your legs and tilt your bed the other way to IBT, Or to undergo risky and expensive surgery that is prone to fail because it does not address why the pressure inside the vein causes it to bulge.
    Which according to current physiology books makes sense. But what if that logic is incorrect? All the evidence from our study is showing that gravity is not a force we are struggling to overcome but a force that drives the fluids within the body.
    Are you prepared to take the 4 week challenge and provide us with your observations? Or do you know someone who has varicose veins and would like to watch them slowly but surely shrink and improve every night they go to bed instead of becoming more unsightly and uncomfortable?
    Our study is located on the Naked Scientists forum, who have a regular slot on BBC Radio.
    My wife’s calf showing clearly her varicose vein shadow, which went flat after 4 weeks of Inclined Bed Therapy back in 1994 and has not returned to its former state since.
    Alun has already confirmed my statement on the study thread that Varicose veins will shrink after 4 weeks of IBT and has supplied us with photographic before and after 4 weeks of IBT along with a diary account of his observations. And he is not alone.
    More reading:
    We are hoping to find at least 50 more pioneering volunteers who wish to avoid surgery and it’s inherent risks and failures, who are willing to provide us with photographic and a written account of their own experiences sleeping inclined.
    So far our study is running towards a predicted outcome that flies in the face of current physiology literature.
    Photographic Evidence: Higher Resolution
    1st Photograph: Male 34 years. Varicose vein on calf muscle following 10 weeks of IBT.
    2nd Photograph: Same Male 34 years showing Varicose Vein on Calf Muscle 6 months of IBT

    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Yours sincerely Andrew K Fletcher


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