What’s the Difference Between Stretch Marks and Varicose Veins?

Cosmetic blemishes can be quite unpleasant for many individuals, and may lead some to feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Not surprisingly, many who are beginning to notice certain cosmetic blemishes seek treatment to find relief. The first step in determining the appropriate course of treatment, however, is identifying the problem and diagnosing the condition. Varicose veins and stretch marks are two fairly common conditions that women may experience during or after pregnancy, but others may experience these blemishes as well.

Varicose veins may be more than merely a blemish, however. These may lead to feelings of pain and heaviness in the legs, which may make this venous condition a medical concern for some. The types of veins appear bluish or purplish in color, and are distinguished from spider veins by the bulging appearance of the veins. The bulging is due to the pooling of blood in the vein, which is a result of inefficiencies in the valves within the veins that allow blood to flow backwards. They may be quite unsightly and many seek treatment to alleviate their symptoms or to remove or destroy them altogether.

Stretch marks are not a vein condition, but rather appear pink, reddish or purplish and may be indented in the skin. They may appear on the abdomen, the arms, the buttocks, thighs or the breasts. They may end up fading over time, and they are not a medical concern in and of themselves, but they may be indicative of certain medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or other problems. Treatment may be available to reduce their appearance, but they may not successfully remove them completely.

By the end of pregnancy, many women develop stretch marks as the stretching of the skin and certain hormonal causes may play a role in their development. These kind of veins may also be present in pregnant women as pregnancy increases the amount of blood in the body, but may decrease blood flow from the legs to the pelvis region. This helps support the developing baby, but may lead women to experience varicose veins. Hormonal changes may also play a role in the development of varicose veins during pregnancy.

Fortunately, there are several treatments available to get rid of varicose veins such as sclerotherapy and laser procedures such as endovenous laser ablation, although varicose they may go away on their own without the use of medical treatments or procedures a few months after delivering the baby.

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