Why are vein problems more common in women?

Why are vein problems more common in women?

It may not seem fair, but it’s true: Women have more problems than men do with issues like varicose veins and spider veins.

Varicose veins are ropy-looking, bluish veins that often appear in the legs, although they can show up in other parts of the body too. Spider veins are similar but smaller. They don’t bulge out as varicose veins do, and can have a web-like appearance. 

Women are four times as likely as men to have varicose veins, largely because of hormonal fluctuations during their monthly menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. About 50 percent of women have varicose veins or a related problem, like spider veins.

Pregnant women in particular can be prone to varicose veins, not only because of hormonal changes, but because the volume of blood circulating in their bodies is greater during pregnancy.

How varicose veins develop

Varicose veins occur when blood pools in a vein instead of being recirculated back to the heart. Veins in the legs are particularly vulnerable to this problem because the blood has to defy gravity to make it back to the heart.

Muscle contractions in the lower legs help push blood back to the heart and valves in the veins are designed to prevent blood from backing up and pooling. But sometimes these valves stop working properly.

Varicose veins can cause legs to swell and feel heavy, achy, or itchy. In some cases, they may lead to ulcers on the legs and other problems. 

Risk factors

Other than pregnancy and being a woman, factors that increase the risk of getting varicose veins include:

  • Age. The older you get, the more likely you are to develop varicose veins.
  • Genetics. If other members of your family had varicose veins, you’re more likely to have them too.
  • Weight. Being overweight puts more pressure on the veins in your legs.
  • Sitting or standing for long periods. A job or hobby that keeps you from moving around makes it more likely that you’ll develop varicose veins.
  • Using of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.

Treatment for varicose veins

Patients may be able to prevent varicose veins from getting worse by wearing compression stockings, keeping legs raised as much as possible, and increasing exercise. In some cases, patients will need more extensive treatment such as ambulatory phlebectomyendovenous radiofrequency ablation, or light-guided sclerotherapy.

If you have questions about varicose veins or spider veins and how to treat them, feel free to contact us at Palm Vein Center. 

Talk to our team to learn more about the best conservative and interventional treatment options for your vein condition.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

For more information on vein diseases and the treatments provided by the specialists at Palm Vein Center or to make an appointment, call 623-201-4777. We look forward to meeting you!