Birth Control and Varicose Veins – Is There a Connection?

Home » Varicose Veins » Birth Control and Varicose Veins – Is There a Connection?
birth control varicose veins

birth control varicose veinsVaricose veins are far more common in women than in men. It makes you wonder, is it just genetics or could it be something else such as birth control influencing this physical change, after all, you are altering your hormones, sometimes for years at a time.

While both men and women have risk factors that could predispose them to develop vein disorders, such as being overweight, smoking, being inactive, or having a family history of varicose veins, there are a few risk factors such as taking hormonal birth control pills that are exclusive to women.

It is well documented that pregnancy can result in varicose veins. This is due to the elevated hormone levels as well as any additional weight on the lower extremities. For some women, the development of these veins can actually begin in the teenage years, and in many of these young women, it is not due to pregnancy but their pregnancy prevention methods.

It is important to say here that the birth control pill, ring, patch or hormonal IUDs themselves cannot actually cause varicose veins. The danger comes in when women who are taking birth control also have varicosities present. This is a combination which can change the way a woman’s blood clots leading to a condition known as deep vein thrombosis.

Birth control can increase the chance of developing a DVT, this is not to say that all forms of birth control possess the same risk. It is the birth control which contains estrogen, a hormone that affects the way blood clots within the veins and puts women at an increased risk for clot formation.

Estrogen alone can increase a woman’s risk for clot formation by 3-4x, the risk is still relatively small; only about 1 in 3000 women who take birth control will develop a clot. If birth control is taken when other risk factors are present for venous insufficiency and DVT such as obesity, smoking, varicose veins, or a profession that requires long periods of sitting or standing – then the risks multiply.

This is not meant to deter anyone from taking birth control. It is good to be aware, as with any medication, of potential side effects. Women who are prescribed birth control should make a conscious effort to get regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, take breaks if their profession requires long periods of sitting or standing, and never take up smoking cigarettes.

If you’ve been on birth control recently or have other concerns about factors that might lead to varicose veins or venous insufficiency, contact Dr. Zuzga of West Florida Vein Center today by calling (727) 712-3233 and any of our friendly staff members would be happy to set up an appointment for you.

Leave a Reply

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!


Contact Us

Phone: (727) 712-3233

1840 Mease Drive, Suite 301
Safety Harbor, Florida 34695
Telephone: (727) 712-3233
Facsimile: (727) 712-1853
Site Developed By: Damonaz Design, LLC