How Your Hormones Contribute To Varicose Veins
Even though women are the primary target of hormonal changes and varicose veins, both men and women can be susceptible to these large veins. The unpleasant looking veins, and many times, painful veins, usually hit us from middle age to our later years in life. While there are certain factors that contribute to varicose veins, such as standing too long a time, certain medications, or an underlying vein condition, there is also the hormonal factor.
Varicose veins appear when the valves in the veins begin to not work accordingly, leading to the blood to not flow effectively. The two common types of these visible veins are spider veins and varicose veins.
Spider veins are a network of veins that resemble a spider web; hence the name. They’re usually purple, blue or red in color, and usually don’t cause problems besides being a cosmetic complaint of women.
Varicose veins are larger, dark blue in color, and may protrude above the skin’s surface. The cause of it is weakened valves in your veins. Normally, blood flows toward your heart. Valves prevent gravity from bringing that blood back down. But if those valves are weakened, blood collects and pools usually in the lower part of the legs causing these veins.
The usual causes of varicose veins are:
- Age over 50
- Standing for a long time
Because they’re larger, these veins can be accompanied with physical pain which include possible: Painful or heaviness of the leg, swelling of the leg, foot or ankle, cramping of the leg, and itching around the vein
Now that you know the difference between spider and varicose veins, here is how and why hormones can affect them negatively.
Weakening of the Vessel Wall
When our hormones are all over the place, like during pregnancy or menopause, that can weaken vessel walls. True, women are usually the primary focus of hormonal changes, but one study way back in 2009 showed that men with varicose veins may have more estradiol than men without varicose veins. Estradiol is the major female sex hormone. High estradiol has also been associated with varicose veins in menopausal women.
A Drop or Fluctuation of Hormones
Pregnant women produce more blood for the fetus. Pregnancy actually increases blood volume by at least 30%. This increased volume stretches the veins out too. This excess blood contributes to blood pooling. This circulatory change is created to support the growing fetus, but it can generate a negative effect, that of bigger blood vessels and varicose veins appearing on your legs.
Using hormonal treatments, as well as birth control pills may also transform hormonal and blood levels, and further weaken vein walls, leading to the onset of spider veins and varicose veins.
Before we had to live with these unflattering veins, but you don’t have to now. There are several modern cosmetic and medical treatments to rid of these veins. You can also try to modify your lifestyle to a more active one, and fit in exercise that will help keep varicose veins at bay.