March 12


Varicose Veins in Women

By Dr. Jose Almeida

March 12, 2019

Women & Men can both have varicose veins. Here is the difference with women.

Varicose veins can be found among both men and women.  Seemingly, there isn’t a difference between varicose veins in men and women, however the one caveat is that women can become pregnant and have higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Why may pregnancy cause Varicose Veins? Hormones.

Estrogen and progesterone are the primary hormones in women and are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle.  Throughout a woman’s lifetime, these hormones increase and decrease throughout the cycle, with larger changes in these hormones present during pregnancy and menopause. These hormones help to regulate the one-way valves in the veins and with changes in hormones, these valves may weaken.

There are also concerns for the weakening of the vein walls with changes in hormones. Both dysfunction of the valves and weakening of the vein walls leads to the pooling of the blood in the vein, causing varicose veins

"Between the excess blood volume and hormones in the body, this creates an increased opportunity to develop varicose veins."

Other Things that May Cause Varicose Veins

There are plenty of other reasons that a woman may develop varicose veins during her lifetime that do not correlate with her gender.  It is well known that family history of varicose veins increases the risk for anyone to develop varicose veins.  Obesity places increased pressure on the veins, which in turn weaken the vein walls and valves. Standing or sitting for long periods, such as with specific jobs, place pressure on the vein, as the muscles are not contracting continually to help the vein move blood. Read more about the causes of varicose veins here

Women vs Men with Varicose Veins

Varicose veins usually start as concern for their appearance, as the veins are enlarged, twisted, and cause the legs to swell.  Varicose veins tend to also become painful with heaviness, cramping, and throbbing pain. Many women tend to seek treatment in the early course of their varicose veins, as they see it as an unsightly appearance, and therefore may have treatment earlier than men. Men usually will wait until there is a problem, in this case, pain from their varicose veins, before they are concerned with seeking treatment. For this reason, women tend to have less severe disease than men, since they seek help earlier in their disease course.

Treatment Options for Pregnant Women

Depending on presentation, symptoms, prior procedures, and overall health, the treatment options for varicose veins for men and women are the same.  The only time that these options may differ is in a pregnant woman, as vein procedures are not performed until after delivery, and therefore pregnant women can only use conservative types therapies, such as elevation, exercise, and compression stockings.

Call 305-930-8941 or click here to book a consultation at the Miami Vein Center.

Summary on Varicose Veins and Women​​​Varicose veins can affect men and women alike, but women do have a higher chance for development over the course of their lifetime, due to natural hormonal balance controlling their menstrual cycles and pregnancy.

What to do if you experience symptoms of varicose veins?

If you are experiencing symptoms of varicose veins, such as swelling, bulging, heaviness, or cramping, you should visit with your doctor to determine the source and treatment options.

Dr. Jose Almeida, a board certified surgeon, at the Miami Vein Center is a leading expert in the care of varicose veins. He has years of experience helping patients prevent, treat and manage the complications of varicose veins.

Dr. Jose Almeida

About the author

Dr. Jose Almeida, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT is a veteran academic vascular surgeon who practices Endovascular Venous Surgery in Miami, FL. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery in both Vascular Surgery and General Surgery.

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