Why Women Are More Susceptible to Varicose Veins

Woman sitting under a tree with her toddler daughter in her lapWhen it comes to health risks, there are often distinct differences between the sexes, and that is certainly true when it comes to varicose veins, which develop in twice as many women as men. In recognition of National Women’s Health Week, we’ll explain why women are more susceptible to varicose veins and offer advice to help reduce your risks.

Estrogen’s Role

According to the Office on Women’s Health, the hormone estrogen appears to play a role in weakening vein valves. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, when the valves don’t function properly, blood moves backward and pools in the lower veins of the legs, ankles, and feet. Malfunctioning vein valves cause the veins to swell and bulge, leading to other symptoms such as pain, restlessness, burning, heaviness, and cramping.

If you take estrogen—for birth control, gender transition, or menopause—you are at increased risk of developing varicose veins. Each pregnancy also increases your risk because your body produces additional estrogen at this time, and your blood volume and weight increase, adding extra stress to your veins. The likelihood of developing varicose veins further rises if you have any additional risk factors.

Reducing Your Risk

There are several lifestyle steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins, including regular exercise, weight management, and not smoking. Other tactics include avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, elevating your legs when sitting or sleeping, and wearing compression socks.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors for varicose veins so that you can work together on a preventative strategy. See a vascular specialist for an evaluation if you already have varicose veins or symptoms. We’ll assess your risks and condition and make recommendations for treatment.

The sooner treatment begins, the better the result will be. However, we have tremendous success treating patients with even the most severe vein conditions. Call us to schedule an appointment to get started on the road to healthy legs that feel better and look better, too!