Why Are Women More Likely to Develop Varicose and Spider Veins?

To understand how varicose and spider veins develop, it’s important to understand the role and anatomy of veins, the vessels that return blood to the heart after it’s been delivered to cells throughout your body. While anyone can experience vein breakdown that results in varicosity, women are more likely to suffer than men. 

While varicose veins are often only a cosmetic issue, some people can have complications. No matter what your complaint, a visit to Premier Vein Clinic can help you solve the varicose vein problem. Dr. David Naar is an experienced vascular surgeon who, along with his team, helps many with vein-related disorders. Premier Vein Clinic is your first call when you’re ready to deal with varicose veins. 

The failure of venous valves

Since veins return blood to the heart, they’re farthest away from the heart’s pumping action. To assist the flow of blood in the right direction, veins have internal valves that work to stop backward flow. As you move through the day, the contraction and relaxation of certain muscles also help to create a slight pumping action that keeps blood flowing back to your heart. 

Your legs, however, face a literal uphill battle, since they’re also fighting gravity, at least when you’re upright. The weight of your blood can become an issue. As gravity draws it down, blood presses outward on vein walls. When these walls weaken and stretch, the internal valves can no longer close against backward flow, and blood starts to pool. This is why legs are the most common place to find varicose veins. 

Why women are vulnerable

Any factor that weakens vein walls increases the likelihood of developing varicose and spider veins. Unfortunately, nature conspires to give women a heavier load of these risk factors, creating a gender bias for these vein conditions. 

1. Hormones

Hormone levels and fluctuations can take a toll on the walls of blood vessels, particularly the hormone progesterone, of which women have higher levels. Saphenous veins, running medial from the ankle to the groin, are particularly vulnerable to higher levels of progesterone. 

2. Pregnancy

Pregnancy adds 3 primary risk factors for varicosity. It’s a time of dramatic hormone activity, compression by the enlarging uterus, but you also experience increased blood flow and blood volume. These add additional pressure to vein walls, so enlarged veins in your legs become more likely. 

3. Menopause

The waning level of estrogen starts tissue change throughout your body, which contributes to weaker veins. However, common menopause treatments that include hormone replacements can reduce some symptoms while adding increased risk of varicose and spider veins as a side effect. 

4. Stationary positions

While women and men are equally likely to have jobs that require long hours of sitting or standing, this type of work adds to a woman’s other risk factors. Thus, a woman is more likely to develop varicose veins than her male counterpart with an identical work profile. 

The good news is that varicose and spider vein treatments are effective no matter what your gender. Contact Premier Vein Clinic today, by phone or online, to book an appointment to see Dr. Naar. Relief from unsightly veins may be closer than you think.

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