New England School of Homeopathy

The ugliest legs this side of the Mississippi

A case of varicose veins in pregnancy

by Amy Rothenberg from Homeopathy Today, July/August 2004

A long-term patient of mine had always responded well to the remedy Lycopodium for premenstrual syndrome and general constipation. Over the course of her first pregnancy and with the impact of a waitressing job where she spent six to eight hours a day on her feet, her varicose veins had worsened. Now in the sixth month of her second pregnancy, the veins were intolerable. She reported pain and swelling in her legs and a kind of deep aching.

If we look in the repertory under the rubric, “Extremities, Varices, Pregnancy, during,” we find Lycopodium as one of the remedies listed there (in the second degree). Because I had known this remedy to help her so dramatically in the past, I prescribed it in the last potency that had worked for her, 200C. I was pretty confident about the prescription because she really seemed “herself”; that is, she craved sweets, had deep fatigue in the late afternoon, and often felt bloated—all keynote symptoms of the remedy Lycopodium.

I was surprised when she returned to my office two weeks later reporting no improvement—in fact, she was worse. I needed to take a more complete case, which then revealed that the veins were incredibly painful and quite sensitive to touch. This sensitivity was so great that the support hose she dutifully wore were almost unbearable. She also said that the veins were stinging (a keynote symptom of the remedy she ended up receiving). She had simultaneously developed varicosities around the vulva area, with large bluish veins that were also painful.

If we look in the repertory we can find the following helpful rubrics:

Extremities, Varice, leg, painful
Extremities, Varice, leg, pregnancy
Extremities, Varice, leg, sensitive
Female Genitalia, Veins, varicose

This combination of specific symptoms having to do with the veins, especially during pregnancy, with such a specific sensation as stinging, pointed strongly to the remedy Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), which I gave in the 30C potency.

She called the next week to report that she was much better; her legs still looked pretty bad, but the pain was much reduced and she could work without the terrible aching. I suggested she wait and take no more Hamamelis at that time.

During the eighth month of pregnancy, I gave her Hamamelis 200C, when the stinging and discomfort picked up again. Stopping work about three weeks before her due date and getting into the local pool an hour a day to walk in the water (which helps to massage the legs) as well as remembering to salt her food to taste (which helps to keep the blood in the vessels) saw her through the rest of the pregnancy. The delivery and postnatal period were uneventful, and though this patient likes to brag that she has “the ugliest legs this side of the Mississippi,” her legs no longer cause her any pain.

So send your pregnant friends and relatives to homeopaths for gentle, effective, and safe treatment of common problems of pregnancy—and to treat or prevent worse problems, based on family history. This is one time of life when most any woman can benefit from homeopathic care.

Help for varicose veins
Because there is often an individual susceptibility or inherited tendency toward varicose veins, constitutional treatment from a skilled homeopath is recommended, especially during pregnancy. However, Asa Hershoff, ND, in his book, Homeopathic Remedies (Avery, 2000) gives the following tip for someone suffering with varicose veins: “Hamamelis may be the best remedy where there are no clear indications for a specific remedy.” Of course, there often are clear symptoms that point to other remedies. Dr. Hershoff lists the following remedies that may be helpful for varicose veins:

• Sepia • Aesculus • Bellis • Carbo veg • Fluoric acidum • Hamamelis • Lachesis • Pulsatilla

For information on how to choose amongst these or other possible remedies, consult his book or a homeopathic materia medica.