What causes spider & varicose veins?
No one knows the exact cause of
spider and varicose veins, but there are several factors
that cause a person to be more likely to develop them.
- Heredity, or being born with weak vein valves,
is the greatest factor. Hormones also play a role.
- The hormonal changes that occur during puberty,
pregnancy, and menopause, as well as taking estrogen,
progesterone, and birth control pills can cause
a woman to develop varicose veins or spider veins.
- During pregnancy, besides the increases in hormone
levels, there also is a great increase in the volume
of blood in the body that can cause veins to enlarge.
The enlarged uterus also puts more pressure on the
- (Within 3 months after delivery, varicose veins
usually improve. However, more abnormal veins are
likely to develop and remain after additional pregnancies.)
- Other factors that weaken vein valves and that
may cause varicose or spider veins include aging,
obesity, leg injury, and prolonged standing, such
as for long hours on the job
In women, the presence of varicose
veins on the legs often signifies a more extensive
health problem - pelvic congestion syndrome.
- Pelvic congestion syndrome is caused by poorly
functioning veins in the ovaries and pelvic region,
which can manifest as varicosities in the abdomen,
buttocks, vulva, and legs. Women that suffer from
a generalized achiness in their pelvic area, especially
when standing, lifting, or after sexual intercourse,
may suffer from this condition.
- Spider veins, unlike varicose veins, most often
do not occur in response to increased pressure except
for the pressure created by nearby varicosities
themselves. They often arise from the presence of
the female hormone estrogen which is most likely
why these spider veins are seen more commonly in
females. Women also are known to have more development
of spider veins when their body estrogen levels
are elevated such as when they are pregnant when
taking oral contraceptives, and obviously when on
estrogen replacement therapy.
What can I do to prevent vein problems?
Once you have varicose and
spider veins they will not go away without medical
treatment. While it is important to seek early medical
attention to slow the progress of venous disease,
there are conservative measures that can help alleviate
the symptoms of vein:
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength,
circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises
that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much
pressure on your legs.
- Do not cross your legs when sitting. However,
try to elevate your legs when resting.
- Do not stand for long periods of time. If you
have to stand for long periods of time, shift your
weight from one leg to the other every few minutes.
If you have to sit for long periods of time, stand
up and move around or take a short walk approximately
every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings, but avoid clothing
that is too tight or that will constrict your waist,
groin, or legs. However, in the long term, support
- Will not prevent veins from forming or cause those
veins you already have to disappear.
- Make sure to include high-fiber foods in your
diet since constipation can contribute to varicose
veins. High fiber foods include fresh fruits and
vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Control
your salt-intake. Salt, or sodium, can cause you
to retain water or swell.
The arteries and veins generally suffer from different
medical conditions and the foods we are warned to
avoid that are high in fat and cholesterol do cause
"hardening of the arteries" but have no
effect on the leg veins.
Does walking make varicose veins worse?
No. Indeed, walking is beneficial.
When you walk, the muscles in your legs contract,
squeezing the veins, thus helping to force the blood
to move forward on its way back to the heart. If walking
causes discomfort, you should see your physician to
determine why walking is causing your discomfort (i.e.
to exclude any other causes besides varicose veins).
Walking is also an excellent form of exercise to help
promote good cardiovascular health.
Should I see a doctor about varicose
Remember these important
questions when deciding whether to see your doctor
- Has the varicose vein become swollen, red, or
very tender or warm to the touch?
- If yes, see your doctor.
- If no, are there sores or a rash on the leg or
near the ankle with the varicose vein, or are there
circulation problems in your feet?
- If yes, see your doctor.
If no, continue to follow the self-care
tips above tissue around the treated vein.
This can cause numbness in small
areas of skin, burning, or a change in sensation around
the surgical scar. The most serious, but rare, complication
of surgery is the creation of a deep vein blood clot
that may travel to the lungs and heart.
What is economy class syndrome?
Varicose veins are often aggravated
by extended period of sitting during travel. In-flight
inactivity, when combined with weak vein walls, can
lead to 'Economy Class Syndrome,' or the development
of blood clots in the superficial venous system of
the lower legs. To keep legs healthy at 30,000 feet,
practice in-flight exercises like rotating your ankles
while seated, walking the aisle, and standing calf
Are there any complications of varicose
veins? What problems can occur if left untreated?
Most people with varicose veins
do not develop complications. It is impossible to
predict who will develop complications. The visible
size of the varicose veins is not related to whether
complications will develop:
This is the formation of a blood
clot in the varicose vein. It causes redness, pain
and the area is tender. It is not dangerous unless
it is very extensive and approaches one of the junctions
with the deep veins. This type of clot is unlikely
to dislodge and move to the lungs (unlike the ones
in the deep veins). I t is an uncommon occurrence.
If the varicose vein is covered
by very thin skin, minor injuries may cause bleeding.
This can be severe and may require emergency admission
If you have varicose
veins for a number of years, these conditions may
This may occur over large varicose
veins or around the ankle. It causes dry, red, flaky
and itchy skin
This is brown staining of the skin
around the ankle. It is due to the leakage of small
amount of blood from the veins into the skin
This is the next stage up from pigmentation
in that the fat under the skin is thickened and the
skin feels hard and swollen. This is at high risk
of breaking down to form an ulcer after minor injury
Ulcers at the ankle.
Please note that presence of a sudden
area of pain and discoloration in the region of the
legs, especially the calves, should be treated as
an emergency as it may be indicative of deep vein
Do I need treatment for varicose veins?
Cosmetic reasons.You may not have
any symptoms but the veins can look unsightly
For symptoms of itch or discomfort
For any of the complications listed in the previous
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Affiliates to create a package where all your Varicose veins
concerns/problems can be addressed. If you have any
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