Vein issues are a common health condition in modern society due in part to circulation issues, chronic health conditions and extended periods of sitting and standing. Women are at least twice as likely as men to develop venous issues and conditions, as 40-50 percent of the female population struggles with these problems at some point in their lives. Since varicose and spider veins can be unsightly and a source of significant discomfort and pain, it’s important to know why these issues occur and how they can potentially be prevented.
Varicose Veins In Women
The main culprit behind the development of varicose veins among women is hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Hormone levels fluctuate in a woman’s body due to factors such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. These changes have a substantial impact on the performance of vein valves, which open and close to accommodate blood flow needs. When a change in body chemistry occurs, these valves sometimes function improperly, leading to poor circulation. This can lead to the beginning of varicose vein development, in which veins and blood vessels begin to bulge, strain and weaken in response to the volume of blood that they are trying to contain.
Many women may find that they develop varicose veins during pregnancy as a result of increased blood volume and hormone activity, though in most cases the vein issue is likely to recede postpartum. Also, birth control, fertility treatments and menopausal hormone therapy can raise risk due to the ways in which they regulate reproductive hormones.
While hormonal change may be the primary factor behind women developing varicose veins, it’s by no means the only one. Some other factors that can increase risk include:
- Hypertension: High blood pressure conditions strain the cardiovascular and circulatory systems and can cause vein valves to open and close improperly.
- Overweightness/Obesity: Weight control issues combined with high blood pressure put additional strain on your blood vessel, arteries and vein valves.
- Family History: Genetic issues are not easy to prevent, so if you know that other members of your family struggle with varicose veins, you’re likely to struggle with them at some point, too.
- Aging: Many women find that they develop varicose veins as they age, which is due to decreased efficiency of blood flow and the continued fluctuation of reproductive hormones leading up to and following menopause.
Preventing and Treating Varicose Veins
There are a number of ways that varicose vein issues can be approached. One of the most common is to wear compression stockings. Controlled amounts of compression promote healthier blood flow, particularly in the legs, and can help reduce pain and swelling. Also, staying active and eating a low-inflammatory diet rich in fiber, lean protein and healthy fats can go a long way toward keeping your circulatory system in check. Finally, keeping your legs elevated while sitting will improve circulation as blood will not have to fight gravity as much when it’s returning to the heart.
At Virginia Vein & Wellness Center, we have a certified compression stocking fitter who would love to show you our many stylish and comfortable options. We also do vein appointments to help you overcome the discomfort of varicose veins. Contact us today!