A Young Mom Learns How Troubling Varicose Veins Can Be During Pregnancy

Dr. Douglass and Julie Doss.
Dr. Douglass and Julie Doss.

As if morning sickness isn’t enough, women who have varicose veins often experience worsening symptoms like aching, throbbing, and swelling during pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the blood volume in a woman’s body, which adds to the stress on the one-way valves in the legs’ veins. In addition, an increase in the hormone progesterone can cause blood vessel walls to relax.

These bodily changes, plus a genetic predisposition for varicose veins, make it harder for the one-way vein valves in the leg veins to keep moving blood upward toward the heart. When the valves fail to function correctly, blood may pool and cause the vein to become enlarged, or varicose.

Julie Doss, of Knoxville, knows all too well how difficult varicose veins during pregnancy can be. Doss first developed varicose veins after her first pregnancy when she was 26. While noticeable, the veins caused no pain. However, immediately after delivering her second child, Doss couldn't get out of her hospital bed because the pain from varicose veins in her right leg was so severe. She was given compression hose, which helped a bit over the course of a couple of days. But the varicose veins were even more noticeable at this point and continued to give her some degree of daily discomfort as time went on.

It was during Doss’s third pregnancy, however, that her varicose veins became alarming. One morning during her third trimester, Doss was unable to get out of bed because of excruciating pain in her leg. She contacted East Tennessee Vein Clinic and Dr. Douglass saw her that day. He discovered that Doss had a blood clot, which had formed within superficial varicose veins in her leg.

“I was shocked,” Doss said. “I didn't realize the complications that can occur with varicose veins.”

After delivering her third son, Doss’s varicose veins had gotten larger and were causing daily aching and throbbing. She was also constantly concerned about getting a more severe blood clot (i.e. a deep vein thrombosis) and knew it was time to do something about her varicose veins.

“I was 32 years old when I finally decided to go through with the procedures to fix the issues with my veins,” Doss said. “I was extremely nervous before each appointment, but the wonderful staff at East Tennessee Vein Clinic put me at ease. I was shocked at how little pain I experienced during the procedures, and I am so happy with the end results! My bulging, aching veins are gone and I feel so much better. I'm so glad I didn't wait any longer. If you had seen my legs prior to treatment, you would've thought I was 10-15 years older than I was. Now my legs  look and feel great and I'm very impressed with the outcome. I would highly recommend East Tennessee Vein Clinic to anyone who needs treatment for their varicose veins.”

While developing a DVT is not common, the rest of Doss’s experience is typical for women who develop varicose veins during or after pregnancy. Varicose veins is a chronic and progressive disease, which causes symptoms to worsen with each pregnancy.

At East Tennessee Vein Clinic, we help many women get rid of their varicose veins so they don’t have to deal with leg pain during pregnancy and beyond, while running around after little ones.  Like Doss, when these women learn that the procedures are quick and non-invasive, plus typically covered by insurance, they’re relieved and glad they didn’t postpone treatment longer.

As the first physician dedicated solely to the treatment of vein disease in East Tennessee, Dr. Douglass and East Tennessee Vein Clinic lead the region in experience and expertise of varicose veins. We treat veins differently than other clinics precisely because of this very attention to treating the root cause of each patient’s vein disease. Visit us online at East Tennessee Vein Clinic, or call 866-281-VEIN, or request an appointment online today.

Love Dr. Douglass and entire staff. My favorite part is that K-Love 88.3 is always playing. I have referred several friends!

- S. W., Knoxville, TN