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Why Are Varicose Veins More Common In Women?

As if menstruation, menopause, and other female-specific afflictions weren’t enough, many women can add venous diseases to the list of health concerns they experience more frequently than their male counterparts.

In fact, according to the American College of Phlebology, up to 55% of American women may develop varicose veins at some point in their lives.

Thus, with women experiencing varicose veins at almost four times the overall rate in comparison to men, one cannot help but wonder: Why

The Pains of Pregnancy

The further along a woman is in her pregnancy, the harder it will be for the blood to flow efficiently through her body — particularly her legs.

This is because women not only produce increased volumes of blood and progesterone while pregnant, but they also gain weight and experience a significant increase in abdominal pressure from continued fetal growth.

And the common denominator between all of those occurrences? They increase the internal pressure applied to the vein walls, slowing down a woman’s circulation and generating this common — and often uncomfortable — venous disease.

“The good news,” according to the American Pregnancy Association, “Is [varicose veins] typically diminish within three months to a year after giving birth.”

Hello, Hormones

Pregnancy aside, a woman’s hormones are often the culprit for her recurring venous woes.

While progesterone is a hormone generated by all humans, it is women, in particular, whose bodies rely on a progesterone-producing gland to carry out the menstrual function of ovulation. Thus, women produce far more of this hormone than men. And not only do women experience a heightened output of progesterone during pregnancy, but it is a critical hormone throughout every stage of their lives.

Progesterone, however, has been shown to trigger relaxation in the venous walls, thereby weakening the blood vessels over time and leading to the development of varicose veins.

Don’t Disregard Your Daily Life

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified that a woman’s lifestyle, as well as her genetic history, are among commonly observed factors that may determine whether or not she is at risk for developing varicose and/or spider veins.

Specifically, a woman may experience varicose veins if she …

  • Has a family history of chronic venous diseases.
  • Is overweight.
  • Has undergone multiple pregnancies.
  • Is over the age of 50.
  • Uses hormonal birth control or other forms of hormone therapy.

Do one or more of the above apply to you? Or have you already begun your battle against swelling, painful, itchy legs? Then the time has come to reach out to Ponte Vedra Vein Institute.

We offer a variety of comprehensive venous treatments, ranging from sclerotherapy to laser ablation and most procedures are covered by insurance. Our patients are our passion, so don’t wait — call us today at (904) 280-0600 to schedule your FREE vein screening!