Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud’s Phenomenon (Raynaud’s, or RP) is a condition where very small blood vessels go into spasm or “clamp down” in response to cold temperatures.

Raynaud’s reduces blood flow to the extremities, usually the fingers and toes, causing them to turn white and feel cold. When they warm back up, the skin usually turns another colour such as blue or red before returning to normal.

Causes of Attacks

Attacks of Raynaud’s are usually caused by exposure to cold temperatures and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours or longer. Other things that can trigger attacks include emotional stress, trauma (injury), hormonal changes, and smoking.

People have a higher risk of developing Raynaud’s if they have had a previous injury to the extremities like frostbite or surgery, as well as those with a history of repetitive actions or vibrations, such as using a jackhammer, drills, typing, or playing the piano.

Primary and Secondary Types

There are two basic types of Raynaud’s: primary and secondary.

Effect on Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be more complicated for women with Raynaud’s and an underlying autoimmune disease. Depending on the specific disease or syndrome, these women may be at risk of multiple miscarriages.

Raynaud’s can rarely affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed in cases where the nipple area is affected.

Understanding Raynaud’s Phenomenon


Raynaud's Phenomenon Quick Reference Guide