To understand everything, let’s see how the blood circulation system of our body works. It consists of arteries, veins and capillaries.
Arteries deliver blood from the heart to the organs, and through the veins it moves back so that, once again saturated with oxygen, it goes down through the arteries. This process is called the venous inflow to the heart (see diagram).
The veins are equipped with valves, they let the blood through and close, not allowing it to flow down. If they do not cope with their work, the blood does not move upwards, stagnates in the vein, stretching its walls (see diagram).
With varicose veins, the lumen of the veins gradually widens, their walls become thinner, the valves do not work, as a result of which stagnation or distortion of the natural blood flow in the venous system begins.
Varicose veins are a disease of the whole organism, the most obvious manifestation of which is a change in the veins of the legs (up to the appearance of bulging plexuses of a bluish color). It often turns out that the veins of the uterus, ovaries, small pelvis, large and small labia and other organs are in the same condition. Varicose veins are one of the manifestations of permanent venous insufficiency that has become – stagnation or perversion of blood flow in the venous system.
But the most dangerous complication of varicose veins is thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the venous wall of the veins with the formation of blood clots) and vascular thromboembolism (blockage of the affected vessel with a thrombus).
In the development of varicose veins plays an important role:
- hormonal changes (pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal contraceptives with a high content of estrogen);
- the constitution (the disease overtakes mainly complete and high);
- race (the disease rarely occurs in people with yellow and black skin);
- lifestyle (those who monitor the well-being of the vascular system, moves a lot, varicose veins is bypassed).
In the event that you are planning a pregnancy or are already waiting for the baby, your obstetrician-gynecologist must pay attention to the state of your venous system.
First of all, the doctor will ask you whether someone from your family has had varicose veins, what diseases you have suffered, how many pregnancies and births you have, whether you used hormonal contraceptives. Then you will have a general gynecological examination, then the doctor will examine you (namely, the legs and external genital organs) to determine the condition of the venous system. If signs of varicose veins are found, then, in addition to ultrasound examinations of the genitals, you will be sent for analysis of the body’s coagulation system and ultrasound determination of blood flow parameters in the placenta and legs (the last item is necessary if the pregnancy has already occurred).
According to the results of these studies, the doctor prescribes treatment, and within 9 months you will be monitored not only by an obstetrician-gynecologist, but also by a phlebologist.
Does varicose veins prevent pregnancy? No, but it predisposes to the appearance and development of the disease.
According to statistics, it occurs in 20-40% of future and young mothers. This happens for the following reasons:
- in the body of a pregnant woman increases the volume of circulating blood, which means that the load on the circulatory system increases;
- venous pressure increases and blood flow velocity in the leg vessels slows down (as you recall, this is exactly what happens with varicose veins, albeit on a more serious scale);
- hormonal changes, and with it the blood supply of organs and tissues.
If the expectant mother already has varicose veins, she can complicate the course of pregnancy. It must be said that the risk of problems increases several times if the expectant mother, in addition to varicose veins, also has some kind of bacterial (for example, pyelonephritis) or viral (herpes, cytomegalovirus) infection.
Normally, venous blood returns to the heart like this: when we put a foot on the ground, under the weight of the body and pressure of the muscles of the arch of the foot, blood returns to the heart. This push continues to the muscles of the legs, which, following by contraction, compress the vein.
When blood rises to the heart, the valves prevent it from flowing back.
If the valves work poorly, the blood moves back down – and the vein expands.
Is it possible to mitigate the manifestations of varicose veins during pregnancy, if you take care of yourself before it occurs? What we can do?
It would be nice to comply with the rules, which we have already spoken. And besides:
- Avoid short intervals between pregnancies (the safest interval in this regard is 2-3 years);
- be careful about hormonal contraceptives, because their composition often contains quite a lot of estrogens, and in large quantities this substance has a bad effect on the vascular system;
- in the morning and in the evening, arrange a contrast shower for the feet and calves – this stimulates the blood flow. Here only future mothers with this procedure need to be careful.