2 Reasons Women May Be More Susceptible to Varicose Veins


The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 23% of American adults have varicose veins. These are inflamed and enlarged veins on the feet and legs. If you suspect you have symptoms of varicose veins, you should go for immediate diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Kevin McElroy can physically examine your condition and even subject your leg to a test to ascertain you have varicose veins, not spider ones.

For instance, the venous Doppler ultrasound test involves the transmission of sound waves through the veins of your legs to determine if the valves allow normal blood flow and pressure. Also, an ultrasound imaging of your leg can identify a blood clot in your veins.

Early diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins put you at less risk of complications, including open sores in your affected leg, a change of skin color, and bleeding.

If the condition is severe, you may have chronic venous insufficiency, meaning the veins and valves in your legs impede the passage of blood to the heart.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, as a woman, you are twice as likely to have varicose veins as a man. That is because some factors that put you at risk of varicose veins are far less relevant to men.

Subsequently, below are the main reasons you may be more prone to varicose veins than men.

1. Pregnancy

The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 40% of pregnant women have varicose veins.

When you are pregnant, you may have varicose veins because you experience unhealthy hormonal changes. Overproduction of reproduction hormones like progesterone during pregnancy relaxes the walls of your veins.

Also, your veins are subjected to intense pressure that may impair their function.

The weight of the fetus increases pressure on the veins and other internal structures below the pelvic region.

Moreover, the significant increase in the blood volume during pregnancy may overwhelm the working of valves in your legs.

2. Hormonal changes

Apart from pregnancy, you can also experience significant hormonal changes during menstruation, menopause, and when you use some birth control methods.

For example, during menopause, there is a massive decline in the levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen, making it difficult to get pregnant. Reproductive hormones are vital for the healthy functioning of blood vessels.

Inadequate or excessive levels of reproductive hormones or frequent hormonal imbalances make the walls of the veins thicker and reduce their flexibility. Consequently, blood collects around valves.

Using birth control medications may also increase your risk of blood clots in the legs. Estrogen and progestin in hormonal birth control medications, including pills, vaginal rings, injections, or intrauterine devices, may severely restrict blood flow.

Slow-moving blood in the leg veins may develop into blood clots and varicose veins. Thus, always consult your health provider before using hormonal birth control methods.

Your doctor will examine your medical history and physical health and perform tests that can help determine if using birth control pills, creams, or injections will not put you at risk of leg inflammation and varicose veins.

Contact Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today to schedule an appointment with a varicose veins specialist.

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