Exhausted worn woman relieving symptoms of uterine fibroids after menopause.

What You Need to Know about Uterine Fibroids after Menopause

Known to develop in the uterine walls or inside the uterus, uterine fibroids are growths or tumors that, according to the UCSF Medical Center, can affect as much as 50 percent of women.

But it’s important to note that this medical condition does not disappear along with the reproductive years. In fact, women sometimes have issues with fibroids long after they begin menopause. Here are a few things you should know about uterine fibroids after menopause.

1. Uterine Fibroid Growth Tends to Stop After Menopause

Since there is a drop in estrogen levels in the body during this physiological change, uterine fibroid growth stops. In some cases, the fibroids will actually shrink and relieve some of the associated symptoms.

2. Symptoms of Fibroids Stay the Same After Menopause

No matter how old you are, the symptoms of fibroids can still be the same. You may experience things like:

  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Lower back pain
  • Bladder or bowel pressure
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • In severe cases, fibroids can even cause anemia and pain in the legs.

However, some women have fibroids and never or rarely experience symptoms.

3. Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Allow Fibroids to Continue Growing       

The artificial hormones found in replacement hormones act just like estrogen in the body, which means they encourage the growth of fibroids. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about this side effect of your menopause treatment.

Overall, fibroids after menopause can still be a problematic thing, but not always and not for all women. If you are concerned about uterine fibroids after menopause, call the Georgia Vascular Institute at 770-506-4007  or click here to schedule an appointment.            

varicose veins on female leg closeup, having medical professionals question if varicose veins are dangerous.

Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Varicose veins affect up to 35% of people in the United States. These occur when veins close to the skin’s surface become enlarged and appear more prominent. Many people who have these are most concerned about how they make the legs appear. This makes sense since the twisted, blue or purple appearance can be a bit unpleasant when you want to wear shorts or other summer clothing.

The good news is that, for the most part, varicose veins are harmless and can go away with time and good health management. However, the reality is that for some people, varicose veins are more than just a problem in appearance. They can often indicate a serious medical issue.

We’re diving into the instances when varicose veins can become dangerous below.

When Do Varicose Veins Become Dangerous?

If you are experiencing varicose veins, it’s vital to speak with your physician to see what the issue might be. Often times varicose veins can point to more serious issues, while other times they are harmless and only a physical annoyance.

However, here are a few instances when varicose veins become dangerous and why a trip to the doctor’s office is required:

  • Pain and Aching Legs: Painful, tired, and aching legs are often caused by varicose veins. When your veins are not functioning correctly and the blood is pooling within, it can make it hard for you to feel rested and relaxed.
  • Hyperpigmentation: If varicose veins are left untreated, they can cause excess blood leaking into the leg tissues. This will lead to painful swelling, inflammation, and discolored skin.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis: Often times, varicose veins cause inflamed tissues in the leg. When they are left like this for a long period of time, the tissues then become heavy, firm, and more tender. This then makes it difficult to move or relax.
  • Phlebitis: This is an inflammation of the veins. With phlebitis, blood pools inside the veins and can clot to form a “thrombus.” These are painfully hard, yet tender, lumps in the leg.
  • Venous Leg Ulcer: Overtime, varicose veins can lead to these ulcers that cause the skin to break down and reveal flesh underneath. These ulcers only get worse over time as well.
  • Excessive Bleeding: Did you know that varicose veins tend to break down the walls of the skin over time, therefore bringing them closer to the surface of the skin? When this happens, it often leads to excessive bleeding at the smallest scratch. It only gets worse over time.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: Caused by blood clots, physical symptoms of this are pulling sensation in the legs, nerves being pinched, increased redness, and swelling. When the blood clots travel further up the blood, it requires emergency care and can even lead to death if it is not caught quickly enough.

While for many people varicose veins are simply a nuisance and an appearance issue, it is vital you realize the dangers. Because of this, if you are bothered by varicose veins, you should make sure you mention the problem to your doctor right away so that together you can create a plan to help rid yourself of this nuisance.

If this sounds like something you should do, click here to schedule an appointment with our expert team at Georgia Vascular Institute.

Varicose veins in pregnant women. Woman sits on bed and points her finger at swollen veins.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Varicose Veins?

Up to 50 percent of American women may be affected by varicose veins at some point in their lives, according to the American College of Phlebology. Considering that varicose veins are a potential side effect of pregnancy, it’s no wonder many pregnant women commonly experience this medical issue. However, if you already have varicose veins, pregnancy can irritate and enlarge them even further.

If you’re worried about how varicose veins might affect you or a loved one during their pregnancy, keep reading below to find out more.

What are Varicose Veins?

To help understand how varicose veins affect pregnancy, it’s important to define exactly what varicose veins are. Varicose veins are twisted, swollen veins that primarily occur in the legs. Veins have one-way valves that control the direction of blood flow to the heart, so, when too much pressure is placed on veins, these valves can weaken and cause a back up in blood flow. This causes them to swell and enlarge, thus creating varicose veins.

Women can develop vulvar varicosities due to the changes in the body’s blood flow, increased blood flow in the pelvic region, and decreased blood flow from the lower extremities to the heart. As an example, hemorrhoids, a common side effect of pregnancy, are varicose veins in the rectum.

It’s important to note that every woman’s experience with varicose veins is extremely different. Some women may feel pain with their varicose veins, and some women may not even know they have them. This difference in experience is especially true for any woman who is pregnant.

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Varicose veins affect about 10 to 20 percent of pregnant women. The good news is that they are usually harmless and shrink back down to normal size after pregnancy. There are several reasons why varicose veins occur during pregnancy: increased blood volume, the weight of the growing baby pressing on blood vessels in the pelvis, and hormone changes slowing blood flow and impacting smaller veins in the pelvis and upper legs.

The third trimester is the most common time period for varicose veins to develop since that is the time that blood flow is the most affected. In addition, hemorrhoids, a common form of varicose veins for pregnant women, increase with straining or pushing due to constipation and giving birth.

If you notice that you have varicose veins during your pregnancy, speak with your doctor. This is important, as sometimes varicose veins are a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), otherwise known as blood clots. These can be harmful to you and your baby during the pregnancy, so it’s important to discuss any risks with your provider.

How to Treat Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

If you’re a pregnant woman experiencing varicose veins, there are a few things you can do to help promote healthy circulation for your veins.

  • Stay away from wearing high heels, as these can interrupt healthy circulation for your feet and calves.
  • Don’t cross your legs while sitting.
  • Sleep on your left side to help relieve pressure on certain areas that commonly experience varicose veins.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat fiber if you are having issues with constipation.
  • If you’re prone to sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time, make sure to switch it up and take breaks.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Wear specific maternity support hosiery that stimulates blood flow in your legs.

If you or someone you love are experiencing varicose veins during pregnancy, the experts at Georgia Vascular Institute are here to help. Click here to schedule an appointment if you still have concerns or questions about how pregnancy affects varicose veins?.

US Marine Corps Veteran Navigates Multiple Health Issue with the Support of GVI’s Dr. Sendhil Subramanian

Not all medical success stories start with a single issue and end with a single treatment –particularly in the complex field of vascular health. A perfect example of that is Alicia Fielder, a United States Marine Corps Veteran and current Dental Assistant and Office Manager in the Brookhaven area.

Alicia had debilitating pain and swelling in her left foot that just wouldn’t go away. She visited her podiatrist regularly to receive cortisone injections. While these worked for a few days at a time, her nagging pain would always return.

Alicia and her podiatrist finally decided to take an x-ray to see if they could uncover the source of the problem. When the x-ray returned, Alicia’s podiatrist knew they were dealing with something more significant. Alicia was then recommended to Dr. Sendhil K. Subramanian of Georgia Vascular Institute (GVI).

From there, her story of pain and swelling finally began to change. However, it would still take many steps and complications before Alicia found relief.

The Diagnosis

Through an ultrasound in her first appointment, Dr. Subramanian and GVI discovered Alicia had May-Thurner Syndrome. A medical condition that causes a compression in the veins of the pelvis which can prevent the proper flow of blood back to the heart. This can result in severe swelling and pain in the leg (s) and can cause blood clots.

Luckily for Alicia, she had one of the best physicians in the field supporting her.

“Dr. Subramanian saved my life, plain and simple,” Alicia reported. “I truly believe he was my Godsend. His level of high-quality patient care is just out of this world. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been in the medical field for 33 years. There’s no one better than him at what he does.”

Once they had a diagnosis, Dr. Subramanian recommended putting a stent in Alicia’s veins to get the blood flowing properly again. The first stent was placed on May 6th, 2015. For more than a year, she felt better.

The Swelling Returns

Unfortunately, things began to regress in July 2016, when Alicia and her husband took their grandchildren to Disney World. After a six-hour car drive, Alicia’s leg and foot were so swollen she couldn’t even bend her toes.

“Back when I first met Dr. Subramanian, he gave me his cell phone number,” Alicia explained. “The two of us would text and call each other if he needed to check up on me or if I had a medical question. You just don’t get that level of care anymore. I called him in Orlando, and he asked me to head to the emergency room just to make sure everything was okay.”

However, the staff at the emergency room couldn’t find anything majorly wrong, like a blood clot. She was released, but things began to get worse when Alicia couldn’t get a single drop of blood out of her finger to check her blood sugar levels. After their vacation, Alicia went right to Dr. Subramanian for another scan and blood work.

The diagnosis hit Alicia hard: polycythemia vera, a slow-growing blood cancer in which bone marrow creates too many red blood cells. As someone who had already beaten ovarian cancer, Alicia knew this would be hard to overcome.

More Stents

While this diagnosis allowed Alicia to start a treatment plan for her polycythemia, there was still the unresolved issue of her leg swelling. Dr. Subramanian decided to put in two more stents in hopes that it would allow blood to flow properly.

After completing this next procedure, the team quickly realized that the flow through stents was still too sluggish due to the thickness of Alicia’s blood despite being on blood thinners.

After consulting with a hematologist, the solution came in the form of stronger blood thinners, which reduced the swelling in Alicia’s leg by 50 percent. From there, continual use of a leg pump was able to get the rest of the swelling down over the next month.

One Last Hurdle

Just a few months later in October 2016, Alicia experienced extreme groin pain, and her leg swelled back up while she was at work. She called Dr. Subramanian right away and got an appointment for that afternoon to come back into the GVI office.

Dr. Subramanian was able to immediately identify the problem — Alicia’s stents became narrowed. Dr. Subramanian performed a balloon procedure on the stents that day, and again in a few months’ time.

Finally, Alicia was able to find sustained relief.

“It’s currently 2018, and I’ve not used my leg pump in four months. For the first time in three years, I finally have two ankles again. You really take those things for granted when they’re taken away from you,” Alicia said.

Alicia’s progress continues to hold strong thanks to her treatment with GVI and regular check-ups to see Dr. Subramanian. She is able to return to her work as a Dental Assistant and Office Manager, enjoying travel with her husband of 25 years, and spending time with her five children and seven grandchildren.

Georgia Vascular Institute’s goal is to provide our patients with the best and most comprehensive care available. If you would like to meet with Dr. Subramanian to fix another vascular health medical issue you may have, either call us at 770-506-4007 or click here to schedule an appointment.