There are of course other factors which play a role in the development of varicose veins such as heredity, but hormonal fluctuations often share some of the blame.
Hormones are a potent part of our body’s chemistry. Hormonal imbalances can make us moody or even depressed. Out of whack hormones can contribute to a long list of issues such as: weight gain, lack of energy or insomnia. Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause frustrating symptoms including: hot flashes, fatigue, and memory lapses. Because of hormones, women especially are vulnerable to varicose veins. During major life stages; puberty, pregnancy and menopause, a woman’s body undergoes hormonal shifts which can affect the vein walls, relaxing them and causing them to dilate. Taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy can also lead to vein issues.
Most people think of visible vein issues as something that occurs during the twenties or later, but spider veins are actually fairly common during puberty when hormonal changes are kicking into high gear. Hormonal upheaval can cause vein valves to weaken and for blood to pool up resulting in those thin blue or red lines which resemble branches or webs.
The teenage years are a particularly trying time because of body perception issues, having to deal with sudden appearance of unsightly spider veins certainly doesn’t help. If you are a woman, the odds are great that you will get some spider veins in your lifetime. In fact, one in five women will have spider veins by their twenties. Spider veins do not present a health risk. They are a cosmetic issue which can be easily remedied with laser treatments or sclerotherapy.
Pregnancy can leave unwanted changes such as stretch marks and varicose veins. The combination of the increased volume of blood and the weight of the uterus puts pressure on the inferior vena cava, a major vein of the body. This added pressure transmits to the leg veins and that, along with the additional blood, taxes the veins. The hormone progesterone relaxes the vein walls which can cause them to bulge. Varicose veins, which are usually darker in color than spider veins, can have a lumpy, twisted appearance. Usually varicose veins are just a superficial issue, but sometimes they can be symptomatic. A burning or throbbing sensation may be felt. They can be itchy and tender to the touch. They can also lead to leg fatigue. If severe they may cause leg ulcers
There a few things you can do to help prevent varicose veins. Keeping at an ideal weight, for one, and getting adequate exercise, for another. Also, don’t remain in one position for too long. Standing or sitting for hours at a time can inhibit circulation. When relaxing, try elevating your feet.
If spider veins or varicose veins make you self-conscious, consider calling us for a consultation. Our Hawaii Center offers sclerotherapy, a time-tested procedure used for both spider veins and varicose veins, and laser treatments which uses heat to seal the veins
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