Why are Women More Likely to Have Varicose Veins?

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womenheelsWhen it comes to the issue of varicose veins, women definitely seem to have it a lot harder than men. And while certainly not the only factor that can lead to one’s chances for developing varicose veins, being a female does seem to put you at a disadvantage. However, because it is actually medically proven that females are more at risk for varicose veins, and because many of the risk factors that are exclusive to women are avoidable – in the choice of shoe you wear, for instance – it is good to be familiar with the reasons that women are at an increased risk.

An excess of the hormone estrogen in the body has been shown to lead to numerous medical conditions, the least of which is the development of varicose veins. So what can cause a potentially unhealthy excess of estrogen to develop in the female body? There are lots of potential culprits but the two most common are pregnancy and birth control pills. Furthermore, the balance of hormones in the female body can simply change and fluctuate with time, with is why you’ll see a lot of women develop varicose veins during or after menopause.

Unlike men, women are taught from a very young age to sit with their legs crossed. While one could argue whether or not this common posture is in fact more lady-like, one thing is not up for argument – crossing your legs is not good for your veins. When one leg rests on top of the other, it creates pressure that impedes blood flow and weakens the veins, potentially damaging them a great deal over time in women who sit this way frequently. Sitting cross-legged has even been shown to effect the veins in your body all the way down to your feet, and is being linked to numbness and long term nerve damage as well.

When it comes to fashion, some of the most popular style choices for women, such as high heels and skinny jeans, are also hurting their leg veins. Wearing tight clothing in general, in fact, but especially on the lower extremities and around the thighs and waist, can restrict circulation and result in tingling, numbness, or throbbing in the outer thighs. Furthermore, when women wear high heels it forces their legs and feet to move in unnatural ways, reducing the efficiency of leg muscles and vessels and resulting in the pooling of blood within the legs. For women who choose to wear both skinny jeans with high heels at the same time, it can be a particularly dangerous combination.

In addition to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, which can effect the vascular system in much the same way as taking birth control pills can, pregnancy can effect the leg veins in other ways. Most notably, carrying a baby to term adds a lot of additional weight in the upper extremities and thus adds a lot of additional pressure to the lower extremities. Every pregnant woman is at a slightly heightened risk for developing blood clots as a result, and this risk increases with every subsequent pregnancy. Fortunately, most of the vein issues experienced by women during pregnancy are temporary and are reported gone within a few months after giving birth, but the vein health of pregnant women should still always be closely monitored.

If you are a woman who has concerns about the potential for varicose veins or venous insufficiency, please schedule an appointment with a vein specialist in your area, especially if you are currently pregnant or past the age of fifty. And for a qualified Tampa vein specialist with an office in Safety Harbor, contact Dr. Zuzga of the West Florida Vein Center by calling (727) 712-3233 today.

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Tampa Vein Specialists

No one needs to suffer from untreated varicose vein disease anymore. In addition, with today's favorable insurance coverage, the procedures are even more accessible. If you have a vein problem, you need Dr. Zuzga and West Florida Vein Center!


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