It may or may not come as a surprise that women are more likely than men to develop vein problems.
There are many potential risk factors for developing vein conditions such as varicose and spider veins. The most common risk factors include:
- Older age
- Female gender
Vein problems such as varicose veins and spider veins are more prevalent in women for a variety of reasons, most of which are still under investigation. Experts tend to agree that women more commonly suffer from venous insufficiency for one very big reason: hormones.
Hormones and vein health
Hormonal fluctuations may impact vein health. This is because drastic changes in hormone levels can weaken vein walls while also increasing blood flow and therefore pressure inside the veins.
Women see drastic hormonal fluctuations throughout life, especially during pregnancy and menopause. During the menopause life stage, women have at least two of the most common risk factors: female gender and older age.
Pregnancy and vein health
During pregnancy, a woman’s body endures major change. The risk of vein problems, especially varicose veins, increases during this time.
70 to 80 % of patients develop varicose veins during the first trimester of pregnancy. In fact, varicose veins can be the first sign of pregnancy and can occur even before the first missed menstrual period.
In part, the increased risk is due to hormonal changes such as the extreme surge in progesterone levels. Experts also believe that the massive increase in blood production to sustain an unborn baby may also contribute to overloading veins and causing them to malfunction. Not to mention, especially later in pregnancy, there is a great deal of additional weight and pressure from the child that may trigger vein issues.
Of 405 women who were previously pregnant and developed varicose veins:
- 13 % of the women had varicose veins in one pregnancy
- 30 % of the women had varicose veins in two pregnancies
- 57 % of the women had varicose veins in three or more pregnancies
Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy should only be treated after delivery of your child. If you suspect you may be suffering from an underlying vein condition, it’s important to be evaluated by a trained specialist since vein disease is progressive.
Give us a call to learn more or schedule a complimentary vein evaluation!