Bad Varicose Veins and Spider Veins That Hurt

Updated on January 18, 2009
M.M. asks from Falls Church, VA
34 answers

My right leg is practically purple and PAINFUL. My right ankle feels like I am constantly getting an "indian sunburn" I am 5 mos pregnant and wearing the Jobst compression hose constantly from time I get out of bed til I go to sleep. i have gotten to the point where I can't stand being without them. My job is on my feet all day and since I have 2 kids at home I am on my feet alot anyway even when not working. Should I even bother consulting a vascular specialist while pregnant? Could they offer anything different? How soon should I wait post delivery to see one? I am sure alot of my problems will decrease after delivery but am reasonably sure I'll need some sort of laser or vein stripping therapy. Any thought or advice you could share would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Just wanted to thank everyonee for their advice. My ob checks my legs at every visit. Lucky him.but I think I will just go ahead and contact a vascular guy just to get their advice. I really haven't done anything but exercise stockings and rest. I do notice that overnight my spider veins and varicose are mostly gone. The ones around my ankle are very lightly pink but still there. I'll let you know what happens.

actually I've mentioned and showed my legs to my ob. I was just wondering if it would be worth it to have a consult with a vascular guy also

More Answers



answers from Roanoke on

Don't even consider vein stripping. It is archaic and barbaric. There is a natural, less painful way to completely remove varicose veins. It is called sclerotherapy and is done with glucose solution. You can look up a prolotherapist in your area. I (when I get my license) do the procedure in SW Virginia. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find one. Because it is natural, it is not covered by insurance. Also, the conventional medicine world does not consider varicose veins as medically necessary to treat. However, they are. The routing of your blood away from the main vessels puts strain on your CV system, and will lead to heart problems like CHF later when you are older.

L. Cheek

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I developed a pretty gnarly varicose vein that did not go away after pregnancy. I had laser ablation done on it last Feb., and it's totally gone now! The procedure was a little more extreme than I thought it would be, but the bulge is gone now, and my insurance paid for all of it!

I have some post-treatment photos, if you'd like to see them. Pretty good brusing. Drop me a line and I'll email them to you if you're interested.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bakersfield on

I had spider veins until my friend introduced me to the Nu Skin at home spa. It is the size of an electric razor you feel no pain what so ever!! It also works great for stretch marks and many other skin conditions, and it is a lot less expensive than going to a doctor for treatment.Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You've gotten a lot of advice, M M!

It has been a few weeks, and I'm guessing by now you've consulted with your doctor. It would be great if you could post a follow-up so we don't have to worry about you. :^)

For varicose veins and spider veins, we've had lots of success helping people using an anti-oxidant called OPC-3. It helps tremendously with circulation. I wish I had known about it when I was pregnant. It is totally safe.

Anything unusual, sudden, or painful, though-- get to the doctor ASAP! As others have said, blood clots are a risk and are very dangerous.

J. Locke
Certified Nutraceutical Consultant

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My sister has had great sucess with Vein Clinics of America. She has tried other doctors and nurses an ended up with horrible scarring from ulcerations that occurred from inexperienced care. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Hi! I just wanted to share with you my experience with varicose veins, hopefully you will get something from it. I worked in a pharmacy and was on feet all the time as well as at home having two little ones. The doctor told me to take at least 2 - 5 minute breaks during the day to elevate my feet! My varicose veins covered the back of both legs from thigh to above the ankle. It was very hard for me to sit because they hurt so much. After I had my second child, I had a varicose vein stripping done, very painful, was unable to walk for a week after surgery. I haven't had trouble after surgery but I do have a lot of little scars that I've been very self concious about, if laser surgery was available to me here, I would have tried that first. Good luck and hope all is well!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Just saw your response but not your original post, so sorry this is late. Have you considered a nutritional approach that will reduce the edema/swelling and is totally safe for pregnant women/nursing moms? I'd be happy to share more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

Try contacting Soft Cosmetic Lazer Center (616) 532-SOFT. They do vein therapy with lazers. No down time, no scaring, After hearing about this procedure, I don't know why anyone would go under the knife. Would be worth a call....

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answers from Boise on

Please stop wearing the compression stockings and see a Vascular doc asap. Your ob should have sent you to one by now if he/she knows about your symptoms. They dont really do a lot of vein stripping any more, there are other less painful and equally effective treatments. That would be a good ? for a vascular dr



answers from College Station on

I don't log on very often so I just saw your letter today. I'd like to know what you did do about your vein problem, specifically what you found out. I sailed through 4 pregnancies and had a job standing all the time and no varicosities. Now that I'm 67, I have lots of spider veins but my husband, a barber since 1960 has horrible, painful varicose veins and we're trying to find a vein guy who takes medicare.



answers from Dallas on

You can see a vascular doctor while pregnant to make sure you don't have anything serious like a blood clot, but your ob has probably already checked for that. If not, insist on it or find a new doctor. After you have the baby, the veins will probably get better after several months, but still be painful around your period. I went ahead and had my huge varicose vein that was about 10 inches long treated by a vascular surgeon about 6 months after my baby was born. He injected the vein with a substance that destroys the vein causing it to collapse and no blood will flow through it. It took 2 sessions that were mildly painful-quite a few needle sticks and cost a few hundred dollars in all. Insurance will not cover it. I had to wear compression hose for several days even in the shower. Then wear them during the daytime only for a few weeks. My vein is completely gone now, but I still have mild pain around the sight right before my period. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Well worth the money!!!



answers from New York on

I wanted to add after all the information that Birth Control can cause the same thing! I never had any problems with my legs until I started on Ortho-Evra. As soon as I started it I went home from work and cried because my legs hurt so much. My OB told me it was because I worked on my feet, but that's Bull Hooey. I switched jobs under his recommendation, but the problem just didn't progress as quickly. I was forced to switch jobs and work on my feet again, and immediately the problem got 1000% worse again, and after going in to the OB he ran a blood test and took me off BC immediately.I can not go on BC ever again, and I need to have surgery, laser or otherwise, to fix the veins in my legs. Be careful because the veins that are damaged do not always come to the surface. I almost always need to wear compression socks, and I needed compression hose the entire time I was pregnant and was on full bed rest from 28 weeks- not fun!!!

If you are not satisfied with your OB's opinion, go find a vascular specialist! I wish you the best- and remember- if something is not right, do not let a doctor tell you it is- ask for a different doctor- it can mean the difference between life and death!



answers from New York on

my varicose veins got worse with each pregnancy. After I delivered my third child, I developed clots all over my legs. Very painful and very dangerous. They had to bring in a vascular surgeon while I was still in the hospital. Please go see a vascular surgeon now so he can manage your condition now- before it gets really bad, or dangerous.



answers from San Francisco on

I currently am 8 months pregnant with varicose veins for the first time. They are very painful and I wear a full maternty panty hose from the vascular specialist I saw. They help a lot even though they are so unconfortable. My OB suggested I see a VS and do an ultra sound of the veins to make sure there were no clots. They said I looked good but unfortunately they hurt if I don't wear these strangulation hose. If anything ask to have your veins looked at by the VS. Good luck.


answers from San Diego on

Dear M M

Look at Yoga A Gem for Women, by Gita Iyengar. "Legs up the Wall" is one of the many poses recommended for varicose veins. As far as I know it's OK to do that one when pregnant. Anyway Gita's information is very valuable and accurate

Best of luck




answers from Fort Collins on

I do not know what (if anything) can be done while pregnant. I also had painful varicose and spider veins and wore the jobst hose while pregnant. Two months after my third child was born, I had the varicose veins taken care of by a surgeon who did a minimally invasive procedure called EVLT. It caused tenderness and severe bruising, but I was on my feet that afternoon (which was necessary for me, with 3 little ones at home). I have been happy with the results. My leg feels much better and looks better too. For the spider veins (which still hurt and burned) I did schlerotherapy 6 months later. I can tell you that I had tried this for my varicose veins after my 1st pregnancy, and it did not do a thing. It does seem to be effective at getting rid of most of the spider veins, though. One warning, in my case- during schlerotherapy some of the solution leaked into healthy tissue. This resulted in some tissue damage and ultimately, scarring. It is apparently rare, but it is a risk. Hang in there, feel better, and good luck with this. Definitely get it fixed when you can- you deserve to be a pain free, happy mommy.


answers from Dallas on

Caution to vein stripping. Later years if need help in surgery for something people have had no veins to use from legs to other areas such as heart. Also many of my neighbors did vein stripping and they grew back. I saw something on the Doctors about some new procedure. Looked like a machine that smoothes. I need help too. My veins hurt long time ago but do not now. I can not stand using support hose espeically in the hot summer. They do not bother me now. I was told $10K to do them years ago. Then I did not do it when I had insurance and now I do not but they can be painful. Mom has them too. G. W



answers from New York on

2 pieces of advice:
1, shut your computer
2. get to the ER NOW



answers from Washington DC on

I had this too. I read one of the responses and it said that insurance won't cover surgicle stockings (custom made)unless your diabetic. Wrong!!! Check with YOUR insurance co. They just might. My insurance co. did pay, then after the pregnency I purchased Joebbs (from a medicle supply store) and got a doctors perscription for a stronger version of these. These worked well for me for 9 years. I also found out from another vitamin I was taking that my legs were feeling soooo much better. When I went to GNC store and talked to them, they told me it was "horse chestnuts". My vascular sergen also knows of this and they work quite well to releive the pain and discomfort for a couple of years, but not lonngg--- term. After this kind of ran it's course I felt my last two kids were now old enough to help out and that I could get my legs done and be able to spend time in bed recovering. To my surprise the treatment was a breeze and I recovered quickly and with not too much discomfort.
It sounds like you need to put somethings into perspective and figure out wheather you can cut back on your job a bit now that your further along. Try to cut back an hour or two each day, be able to laydown and relax, put your feet up and try to prepare or do somethings quietly and perhaps sitting down before your other two come home. You'll all be happier.
Good Luck!



answers from Houston on

You are my story! My right leg was affected by my third pregnancy. My Dr. kept an eye on it, had my were the Jobst for 22 weeks(yuck! summer, Houston,TX not a good look with shorts!) and had me seen by a heart specialitst (since this has to do with circulation of blood and clots that can end up in your heart). Heart guy tells me everything ok. my valves have given out so the blood pools in the leg causing the blood vessels to stretch and bulge.

The person who tells you see Chiropractor has a good idea. Turns out my pelvic bone is tilted causeing baby to be on the right side a putting presure on the valves causing them not to close correctly. However, adjustments won't fix the damage that has already been done.

Be sure to put the Jobst on before you ever get out of bed. Once you let the blood flow down by standing, the hose can't do their job of keeping it from pooling in the leg. I bathed at night, just before bed and then washed my hair over the side of the tub in the morning after I had put my hose on in bed. I thought I would go into labor trying to get those things on without standing up! Also, use full jobst hose and not just the single leg style.

Pain got significantly better a couple of weeks after birth and 5 years later I only have pain when I excercise and during my cycle. My leg looks better than it did in pregnacy but it still looks like an old lady leg. My friends were so suprised that it happend to me because they thought it only happened to people who are very over weight and I gain less than 30 lbs each pregancy, so this really doesn't have to have something to do with weight. I intend to have proceedure done but it is not a top priority because it looks worse than it feels.

My advice... don't panic, keep it monitored, see a specialist at least once to make sure there are no clots, wear your jobst everyday, and try to get off your feet as much as possible elevating your legs above your heart.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

I had them so bad i had to go get them checked. It burned an was hot an looked almost as if I had been beaten. Turns out the ones that hurt the most werent just varicose veins they were blood clots! So if your in that much pain you might want to go get them wouldnt hurt.

Oh an most of mine as bad as they looked went away after the first month! I had almost 75% of my legs covered with varicose veins. So I understand your consern.



answers from Washington DC on

Go to your doctor today - you could have a blood clot in your leg that could go to your lung and threaten your life, and your baby's. The way to have this detected is a simple, painless ultrasound, but do not wait - please!!!! If he/she will not see you today, go to the emergency room! Pregnancy and it's hormonal changes make women very susceptible to blood clots, and it can be very serious.



answers from Savannah on

I had the same situation with my 2nd pregnancy. I wore compression hose all the time, except when I was sleeping. During labor/delivery, I wore ted hose to prevent blood clots. Fortunately, I didn't have any problems. I had surgery about 6 months after delivery, but, 27 years later, I still have spider veins and some varicose veins in my right leg and foot. I have had a venal ligation, laser therapy, and sclerotherapy, but I still have some discoloration and always will. I do believe it is in your best interest to see a vascular surgeon now, and after delivery. You may never have perfect legs again, but you will know you are not in danger.



answers from Tulsa on

I just went to my Dr. Wedsday about my leg hurting too! I thought that maybe I was starting to get varicose veins from my family. My right leg right below my knee was on fire & very painful in a line down my leg toward my ankle. I couldn't stand to put my weight on it even though I'm on my feet most of the day without time to sit down that much so I knew I would eventually get varicose veins but didn't realize how painful they were! My Dr. looked at my leg and told me that it was noticeable some but he thinks that I may have a blood clot in my leg so Mon.19th which is tomarrow I will be going to the hospital for a ultrasound to see if I do since my visit I've notice my left leg starting to hurt also so I hope to get it looked at tomarrow too! I would suggest you get your leg checked out to make sure its not a blood clot too! It can cause some serious problems if not taking care of early that is what my Dr told me. And keep wearing your support hose he told me to get myself a pair too & take inflammatory Advil for the pain( I know you probably can't have being Preg.) Use warm towels or a heating pad to help relief your pain make sure you lay a thin towel between the heat pad & your leg. Good Luck & I'll be thinking about you! Hugs,K.



answers from Norfolk on

Hi! The Vein Center up off Va. Beach Blvd. at the Little Creek Road area is where I go. My doc has sent me right to the emergency room, twice! I cannot express to you how important it is to get that ultra-sound, for your peace of mind. Swelling, redness and hot to the touch are serious signs of concern. You could have superficial blood clots. in lieu of deep vein thrombosis, which tends to be much more serious. Superficial veins, though very painful, are treatable in my experience, with laser treatment and blood thinners. Being pregnant is a different ballgame, probably, and your blood flow increases tremendously when you are pregnant. When not pregnant, I was told to keep moving and feet up when not - elevated above heart level as much as possible! See a doc- it's more inconvenient not to!!!!!!!! Hormones make you much more susceptible to blood clots!



answers from Columbia on

Hey M & M,
Did not see original post, but just now reading the results or followup . You know...
Man, all the responses were pretty scary in MY opinion. I just have to say that yes pregnancy can and does bring on some very scary side effects~! I had my share the last time around. However,
As the wife of a chiropractor, and going through three of them myself...I have to say this.
Consult a chiropractor! I cannot imagine anyone going through this experience without having the help of my local ( husband ) chiropractor. My husband has a TON of pregnant women in his office and many of them funny enough come to him after the five month mark and "things" begin to get heavy and putting pressure on everything. YOU know what I mean!
Research the internet on holistic approaches, and not just "all natural / natural " , because that is like saying apple pie. Everyone has a different opinion. The medical society has now coined that phrase and get kick backs for providing "all natural" remedies these days...
ANYWAYS.... lol, Do search what you can out on your condition and find out what others are doing that are not in the "norm" where YOU are from. Chiropractors are all different, but yet so are doctors... Seek out several opinions. The none the less, I would think REST would be one thing that would be of importance, and
making sure you mention this to your OB , which it sounds like you have.
But then too, get educated on the benefits of chiropractic from "respectible pro-chiro care" sites and not just what your OB might say or not say about them. Because truly it IS THE SAFEST and least evasive care for EVERYONE and every issue that live throws at us!



answers from Odessa on

Are you sure it is your veins that is causing the problems. I would go to the doctor and let them check. It could be poor circulation in your legs or the result of the extra weight. Being pregant you should not take any chances. Just check with your doctor to be on the safe side.



answers from Washington DC on

PLEASE mention it to your obstetrician! Varicose veins can be dangerous, especially when you're pregnant and there's extra pressure on everything! something could rupture.



answers from Las Vegas on

I have these too! I am 8 months pregnant and in all 8 pregnancies, never experienced this til now.
My DR recommended medical hose, the thigh kind- size depends on you. You can find them cheaper at Walgreens-about $32per pair instead of close to $100. Insurance does not cover these unless you have diabetes. Oh, also, get off your feet as much as possible in a reclined postition so the blood can flow more easily to relieve the veins. Been there already. I would not see a vascular DR until after you have had your baby, at least that is what my DR told me, because noone wants to touch a pregnant woman when it comes to thing like that. I guess you could for a consultation for now though. Just to help save you time in running around. Also, she suggested watching my sodium levels and drinking lemon water. I also am drinking 1 oz of Tahaitian Noni juice per day. I sell it also, this really does help. I also have circulation issues along with the veins.
Best wishes



answers from Seattle on

Hi M,

I strongly suggest that you get a referral to a great vascular doctor who specializes in legs. When it comes to your health, don't wait. Take action immediately. Even if it's small, it could save your life.

From your description, it does sound like you vein needs to be taken out. I'm not too sure about the discoloration. So, you definately want to make sure there are no blood clots. I wish you the best of luck.

Take Care M!



answers from Minneapolis on

Go with the ablation! It is a way easier healing process-an putpatient procedure, way less scarring, way less painful, and probably much cheaper. Some outpatient radiology clinics (like the one I used to work at) do them now. Email me for their website....



answers from Washington DC on

I agree with Jess. Please go to your doctor (or ER) right away. Pregancy and hormone changes increases your risk of clots and can be dangerous if not managed.



answers from New York on

Hi there, not sure where you live. If it is in the NYC area please schedule an appointment with the NYU vein center. I just had a minimally invasive procedure done to remove my vein that I developed during my pregnancy. I had vein stripping done several years ago and is a diseased vein so it would not be practical for any bypass surgery anyway. NYU was wonderful and they have some of the best vascular surgeons in the world you will untrasound your leg and develop a treatment plan that will work for you.



answers from Houston on

I work at a dermatology office. my advise it to wait till delivery, then come see dr. tri nguyen at ###-###-####. he proforms the vein stripping procedure. I have assisted him, and he is very good with the procedure and bedside manner.

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