causes of varicose veins

What Causes Varicose Veins

If you’ve got varicose veins, you are not alone. Almost one-third of adults across the country have them, primarily women. The presence of varicose veins indicates a circulatory deficiency in the lower extremities. Swollen, gnarled, and discolored veins can be quite alarming in appearance. Varicose veins can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms, including significant pain and discomfort. Fortunately, many safe and effective treatment options are currently available for people who experience bothersome symptoms from varicose veins.

Are Varicose Veins Serious?

varicose veins

Many people who have varicose veins do not experience anything other than embarrassment and slight discomfort. However, in some people, varicose veins cause pain and discomfort that range in severity. In rare cases, the damaged veins eventually become worse, leading to other health issues. Most people do not realize they have varicose veins until they feel or see firm, discolored cords on their legs, ankles, or feet. They can even develop internally in the abdomen, pelvic, and genital areas, though they are often less noticeable. Serious varicosities can cause sensations that are hard to ignore, such as pressure, pain, burning, numbness, swelling, and discoloration.

Though the chances of developing them skyrocket after the age of 50, varicose veins can develop at any age. This guide provides a brief, yet detailed overview of the common causes of varicose veins.

Family Genetics

Having a family history of veinous disorders or spider and varicose veins significantly increases a person’s risk of developing varicosities. If both parents have a history of venous deficiency, the risk of their children developing the condition increases substantially to 90 percent.


Getting old, unfortunately, causes bodily functions to slow down and malfunction. Aging also weakens the rigid structure of the blood vessels making them more pliable. In healthy circulatory systems, varicosities do not exist. The veins have tiny valves and a firm and rigid structure to keep blood flowing up through the body against gravity back towards the heart for recirculation. In venous deficient circulatory systems, damaged veins and valve malfunctions cause blood to become stagnant and pool in the vessels. This creates extra pressure that further compromises proper circulatory function, resulting in varicose veins.

Hormonal Imbalances – Women

Hormonal fluctuations due to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and other health conditions cause rapid increases and decreases in blood volume and pressure that cause the veins to become larger and lose their firmness. During pregnancy, the weight of the growing uterus creates additional stress on the muscles and veins in the lower extremities. The effects are similar during puberty, menopause, and other health milestones that cause rapid changes in body weight and hormone production.

Multiple pregnancies and some pelvic disorders increase the risk of internal and external varicose veins in the pelvic and vaginal areas. Varicosities that occur during pregnancy often resolve within several months after childbirth. Hormone changes can also cause them to reappear.


The legs, ankles, and feet support the entire body. The circulatory system of an overweight person must work harder and more efficiently to maintain proper blood pressure and flow. Excess weight increases the pressure in the circulatory vessels in the lower extremities causing varicosities to develop.

Sedentary Habits

Sitting and standing for long periods of time can lead to venous deficiency or disorders. To maintain proper blood flow, the pressure in the arterial system must remain higher than the venous system. The blood must keep flowing. Regular, frequent movements keep the muscles in the legs, calves, and feet conditioned, so they can support the veins as they transport deoxygenated blood towards the heart for recirculation throughout the body. Maintaining the same position for several hours at a time increases the risk of varicosities, blood clots, and DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

Physical Trauma

Leg, calf, ankle, abdominal, and groin injuries can lead to venous deficiency and varicose veins. Trauma results in temporary or permanent damage to veins and their valve systems that interfere with proper blood circulation.


Varicose veins are one out of numerous reasons to stop smoking. The ingredients in cigars, cigarettes and other smoking products are extremely harmful to the body, in particular the vascular system. The toxic substances can lead to the development of blood clots in the veins, which can result in damage to their valve systems and interfere with proper blood circulation.

Varicose Veins Prevention

The easiest way to prevent varicose veins is to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle to improve the health and function of the circulatory system. Even individuals with a genetic disposition for the condition can make lifestyle changes to improve their health to prevent existing varicosities from becoming worse or redeveloping.

Varicose Veins Treatment Is Available

varicose veins treatment

Men are more likely than women to ignore or overlook varicose veins, even when they cause pain and discomfort. Women tend to seek out treatment to eliminate them or hide their appearance. There is no shame in having varicose veins. Treatments options that restore comfort and self-confidence include exercise, compression stockings, and medical care.

Contact Us

Medical treatment is an effective way to get rid of unsightly and painful varicose veins. If you are interested in learning about varicose vein treatments that can provide immediate relief, call us for a consultation.

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