Hi there Wise Women,
I've read all the basics on an assortment of websites, and searched MDC, but am finding most of the varicose vein threads are about pregnancy discomforts. Looking for resources, advice, and personal experiences that may relate to my situation:
- Genetic tendency toward problematic varicose leg veins on my mother's side of the family.
- No problems myself, until my twin pregnancy 5 years ago. Started to get a mild varicose vein in the left calf. Slightly unattractive. Not painful. Occasionally in the years since then, I've felt a minor sting and assumed it might worsen with age - someday to necessitate intervention.
- No problems during this pregnancy.
- Then suddenly about 2 days postpartum, I had a small (1/2") hard spot in the vein, accompanied by redness and pain. Figured it was a blood clot. Doc agreed. Said usually resolves in 1-2 months on own accord.
- About 2 days after that, it got a little worse (slightly larger). And about two day after that (then 6 or 7 days postpartum) it suddenly over a couple of hours got a lot worse - such that a large area of varicose vein on my calf (apx 5" wide by 6-7" long) was all affected by clots and fairly intense pain. I actually also got a major cramp in the calf muscle as it was happening.
- The following day, I stood up from a seated position, and instantly had a pop/sharp pain on the front inside of my ankle, where during this pregnancy I had developed a 1/2" slightly blue varicose vein. Sure enough, an area of clot formed there, fairly instantly, about 1" long, red and sore.
- Over the past 4-6 days since that (2 weeks postpartum tomorrow), the large clotted area on my calf has gone through redness and into brown bruising. It has crept in size backwards up into my inner thigh, by 2-3" above the knee. The smaller area at the ankle has also further backed up - doubling in size suddenly last night.
- Doc has me on 400mg Ibuprofen 3 times daily (which he says is safer for breast-feeding than 1 daily low-dose 8mg Asprin). I am to wear a compression stocking and keep my leg elevated as much as possible. Alternating heat/ice may help as well, he recommended.
- It is so painful that without the compression stocking, I would not be able to stand. With the compression stocking, I can ambulate as necessary, but standing still is intensely painful and I have to get going into a walking-like motion.
- I haven't been taking the Ibuprofen long enough for it to assist much. But I am concerned that the clotted area continues to expand in size.
- Doc has now recommended that I start prophylactic antibiotics. He is concerned that there is risk of infection starting at the site - much like a stagnant water analogy. He assures it's considered safe/ok for nursing, but I am concerned about that. Sorry can't remember the name. . . started with a "c".
- (I have had ultrasound to rule out Deep Vein Thrombosis).
Is this in line with anyone else's experience? Did you find the Ibuprofen actually helped? Initially they recommended I use Voltaren (diclofenac cream) and I can't say that it appeared to have any affect. How long did it take until you initially noticed things improving? Any homeopathic remedies that were useful? Once the clots cleared, did you have continued issues down-the-road, or was it just an unpleasant postpartum situation? Is massage useful? I've read it's contraindicated if concerns about DVT exist, because it could dislodge a clot to pass to the heart/brain/lungs. But I'm not clear if the advice is different in the case of clots in superficial veins.