Could Hormonal Birth Control Cause Varicose Veins?
- Posted on: Aug 15 2018
Millions of women rely on birth control pills for pregnancy prevention. Oral contraceptives are integral to responsible family planning and are also commonly used to bring irregular menstrual cycles into balance. Usually, the side effects of hormonal birth control are minimal, limited to a touch of nausea at the onset of use. However, some studies indicate that there could be instances in which hormones and varicose veins are intertwined.
Birth Control and Varicose Veins
The primary reasons why some people develop varicose veins are that they stand or sit for hours at a time, have a family history of venous insufficiency, or specific physical factors are present. Obesity is one physical factor, and pregnancy is another that is somewhat strong. Because hormonal birth control contains estrogen and progesterone, the same hormones that become elevated throughout pregnancy, it is reasonable to presume that varicose veins could result from this method of contraception. These vital hormones slow the circulation of blood to facilitate birth, and this slowed circulation is believed to be the factor that increases the risk for pooling in the veins of the legs.
Birth Control and Blood Clots
Varicose veins are one thing, blood clots are another. Some women worry that their use of hormonal contraception could cause blood clots to form. Studies have not confirmed that this is true. What research does suggest is that the same hormones that slow circulation also increase clotting factors in the body. During pregnancy, this is valuable because it prevents the excessive loss of blood. For the healthy woman wanting to avoid pregnancy, it may not be as beneficial. While taking birth control pills or other hormone-regulating contraceptives does not cause blood clots, it could elevate a woman’s risk. IF there is a family history of clotting issues, embolism, or vein thrombosis, a woman may want to have her doctor order specific blood tests to assess her susceptibility, and thus the appropriateness of hormonal birth control.
Several strategies can offset the risks for varicose veins, such as exercising regularly and changing standing or seated positions frequently throughout the day. Elevating the legs and wearing compression stockings may also help. If you are concerned about existing varicose veins, schedule a consultation in our Columbia vein clinic to explore reliable treatment options. Call (803) 253-8667 for friendly assistance.
Posted in: Varicose Veins