Varicose Vein Causes

Varicose Vein Causes

Varicose vein causes tend to be multifactorial. A number of issues contribute to their presentation.  There is definitely an underlying hereditary component.



Varicose veins do tend to run in families.  If both parents are affected commonly the children are.  However you do see cases where only one or two children might seem to have vein problems. 

Other varicose vein causes may contribute to this.



General varicose veins do seem to arise more commonly in women.  One could postulate a number of reasons for this, with other factors mentioned below. 

However in Papua New Guinea men seem to be affected more commonly than women.  This highlights the influence of genetics.



More people tend to show with vein problems as they become older.  This would indicate the influence of wear and tear on the body generally. 

It would also tend to imply one of the varicose vein causes is some underlying enzyme deficiency or abnormality where continued maintenance and repair does not work as efficiently in some people - again that genetic influence.

Even young teenagers can present with varicose veins at times though.


Number Of Pregnancies

Generally most women will notice varicose veins after a number of children.  The more children they have, the more likely they are to have varicose veins.

Generally if they have varicose veins before conceiving they will tend to get worse in pregnancy. 

Wearing supportive stockings in pregnancy will lessen the acceleration of the problem.  Some even suggest all women should wear supportive stockings throughout pregnancy. 

Even early stages of pregnancy can produce the veins.  This would seem to suggest one of the varicose vein causes is the changing hormone levels that occur with pregnancy. 

Other changes that occur with pregnancy will play a part as well. 

The total blood volume is increased.  Therefore veins are handling more total blood flow. 

The mother is losing heat for the baby as well as herself, producing a higher proportion of blood flow to the skin level blood vessels to lose heat.  Varicose veins occur in veins at this level. 

The pressure of the baby in the pelvis will restrict blood flow up from the legs into to pelvis.  This restriction causes increased back pressure on the veins which can tip vessels toward a varicose defect. 

Most women notice an improvement after delivery.  There will often be some underlying defects which will show more over time.


Prolonged Standing Or Sitting

It has been shown that certain prolonged standing jobs are associated with varicose veins.  Just being on your feet walking around is not connected.  Active mobility seems to protect people from the problem. 

It would suggest one of the varicose vein causes is immobility with legs dependent - either standing or sitting. 

Some people who have jobs at computers for hours on end without getting up for other parts of their jobs do tend to produce varicose veins more commonly. 

Jobs like French gendarmes, nurses standing for hours in theatre and hairdressers have more than their fair share of varicose veins. 

Keeping active tends to slow the otherwise gradual deterioration that occurs with existing varicose veins.


Hormone Supplements

Some people will notice their veins deteriorate while on an oral contraceptive and similar medications.  This parallels the hormone changes that occur in pregnancy.  Most people notice no difference on such medications. 

For those noticing a deterioration medication change might be helpful.



Although the popular conception is that gaining excess weight is one of the varicose vein causes, long term population studies do not bear this out.  At least not in causing them. 

However such studies have shown existing veins will get worse more rapidly in those who are overweight. 

Some people seem to only notice their varicose veins when they lose weight.  In these cases the veins are usually established.  Loss of weight, with reduction in the fat layers under the skin, can make the veins more obvious.



Some people show varicose veins after a local trauma.  If, as mentioned before, the defect that lies behind varicose vein causes is a failure in repair, then this could explain the association.

Certainly varicose veins are more common in high level athletes, particularly those in contact sports.



Poor diets may play a part in varicose vein causes.  All parts of our bodies are undergoing constant remodelling and repair.  A poor diet will not enhance this process. 

Active daily exercise, or at least to the degree recommended by the Heart Foundation of at least 20 minutes active walking at least three times a week, will keep healthy veins working more efficiently and maintain tone in the muscle pump that powers blood return in the heart. 

See more on the causes of varicose veins at the new website.

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