Varicose Veins in Women

Varicose Vein Disease: Why Women Are at a Higher Risk

Varicose veins are found in men and women. However, did you know that women have a higher risk of developing varicose veins? There are many factors that increase the risk of developing varicose veins including genetics, hormonal changes in pregnancy or menopause and obesity.

While varicose veins look unattractive, they pose an even bigger threat that can lead to serious medical issues. Multiple forms of treatment are available for women with varicose veins that can help them regain the youthful look they once had.

Women and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins commonly develop in pregnant women. The veins appear significantly larger and raised on the skin’s surface. The most common areas where varicose veins are seen are the legs, but they may also present near the vulva or vagina in pregnant women. The increase in weight and fluid volume seen in pregnancy are the 2 biggest contributing factors to the development of varicose veins during this time. St. Louis Laser Veins offers Endovenous Laser Treatment, Sclerotherapy and other treatments to correct varicose veins.

Pregnancy and Varicose Veins

During pregnancy varicose veins appear on the legs. The veins become more profound and begin to swell on the skin. As time progresses the veins become overflowed with blood and cause pain and itching. Although the most common location is the legs, varicose veins can present around the vulva as well. When varicose veins on the legs are left untreated they will not improve on their own, even after pregnancy.
Mild symptoms include:

  • Heaviness, burning, aching, swelling of vein, restlessness of legs

  • Swelling in feet and ankles

  • Itching on the vein

More severe symptoms can develop, which include:

  • Leg swelling

  • Discoloration

  • Dry skin

  • Open sores and bleeding

If you think that you have varicose veins during pregnancy, you can visit Dr. Wright for simple noninvasive diagnosis and learn how he treats the veins effectively. Examination of the legs can evaluate valve function as well as the possibility of blood clots being present.

What causes varicose veins in women?

Varicose veins are caused by weakened venous valves in the legs. Veins with healthy valves allow blood to travel one way directly to the heart when the body is healthy. If the valves weaken and lose function, blood begins to pool in the legs and pressure continues to build, making the veins large and twisted.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options:

Although conservative treatment will not cure varicose veins, nor will it prevent them from worsening, it may provide temporary relief of symptoms. Home treatment includes:

  • Wearing compression stockings

  • Elevating legs

  • Avoiding sitting or standing for lengthy periods

  • Exercising regularly

  • Avoiding crossing legs and wearing tight clothing

  • Trying to control weight

  • Eating less salt and consume more fruit and vegetables

What are the risks that lead to varicose veins?

If your family has a history of varicose veins, you are at increased risk of developing them yourself. There are other several other factors that can increase the risk of developing varicose veins. These risks include:

  • Age

  • Hormonal changes (during pregnancy and menopause)

  • Medication (birth control pills and medicines containing estrogen and progesterone)

  • Obesity or Weight Gain

  • Lack of movement

  • Sun exposure

What happens when varicose veins are left untreated?

When varicose veins are left untreated, bleeding can occur with or without an injury to the affected areas. Blood clots and inflammation can occur near the surface of the skin. Clots in veins or Deep Vein Thrombosis can cause serious blockage to the heart or lungs. Ulcers can develop near the ankles and can develop fungal and bacterial infections.

If you think your legs are starting to swell or you notice the appearance of veins on the surface of your legs, make an appointment with Dr. Wright. He will diagnose and discuss how to treat the affected areas efficiently. Having healthy circulation and youthful looking legs is on every woman’s mind and with state-of-the-art treatment options, you can have them too!