Why are Women More Prone to Varicose Veins?
- Posted on: Apr 15 2018
You may have heard that varicose veins occur much more frequently in women than in men. If you are a woman with varicose veins, your susceptibility may seem frustrating. It may also be slightly confusing. Why would you have a higher risk? This is what we’d like to discuss here.
One of the well-known aspects of varicose veins is that the risk of this condition increases substantially during pregnancy. This detail holds the key to also understanding why women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. The reason that varicose veins may develop during pregnancy is that the body produces significantly more progesterone during this time.
Progesterone is necessary for the loosening and softening of pelvic structures to facilitate childbirth. When produced in such high amounts, though, this hormone can cause the walls of blood vessels to relax as well. Studies that have measured progesterone levels in pregnant women have revealed that higher levels are associated with varicose veins in the legs. Research has also discovered that the veins in the legs have progesterone-receptors that increase their sensitivity to this hormone.
You don’t have to be pregnant for your body to produce progesterone. This sex hormone is integral to the monthly menstrual cycle and also to normal function in various organs. There are benefits to progesterone, and the risk of varicose veins happens to be a risk of having this hormone coursing through your blood.
It’s Possible to Have Healthy Veins
The presence of progesterone is one of several risk factors for varicose veins. It is a factor that cannot be controlled. To offset uncontrollable risks, women are encouraged to take control of what they can. For example, women who work at a desk can stand up and do a few calf-raises every hour or so, or they can take a short walk around the office to keep blood circulating well through the lower extremities.
In addition to reducing risks for varicose vein development, existing veins can be treated easily and usually without surgery. At The Vein Clinic in Columbia, SC, patients have options that include innovative treatments like VenaSeal and radiofrequency ablation. To learn more about the services available in our office, call us today at (803) 253-8667. There’s still plenty of time to be ready for summer!