Sometimes your veins can turn on you.
The veins are supposed to carry oxygen-depleted blood back toward the heart, keeping your circulatory system working properly. But circumstances can lead to some veins underperforming – and even causing pain and self-consciousness.
Varicose veins form when the veins are unable to push blood in the appropriate direction. This can be due to a variety of problems, ranging from malfunctioning valves within the veins to stretched-out vein walls. But if you have varicose veins, you’re probably not interested in the general causes – you’re hoping to pinpoint the specific reasons your bulging veins formed. Understanding the cause will help you make adjustments to your habits and lifestyle that will help prevent additional varicose veins from forming, and make sure vein treatments are successful.
Where can you get started with your casual varicose vein diagnosis? Just scroll down for some of the top factors to consider.
Common Causes of Bulging Veins
Do you have bulging, painful veins on your veins? If it’s been years since the veins developed, you might find yourself struggling to remember life without them. But varicose veins do arise from specific health conditions, life moments, and daily habits. And figuring out which ones pertain to your life is the first step toward keeping additional varicose veins from developing.
Here are a few causes that you should consider. Remember, a combination of these factors may be at play.
- Age – Your body changes in countless ways as you change – some immediately noticeable (like lines on your face) and some much more subtle. Your veins age as well. The veins can lose elasticity, stretching out. This can lead to the valves within the veins weakening, and allowing blood to flow backwards, away from the heart. When this happens, blood pools in the veins and the veins become enlarged. This leads to the veins looking blue (as they are filled with deoxygenated blood that was unable to return to the heart).
- How to improve: Varicose vein treatments will help improve the veins’ appearance and improve daily function and comfort.
- Pregnancy – Pregnant women are more likely to develop varicose veins. During pregnancy, there is a higher volume of blood in the body. But blood flow from the legs to the pelvis actually decreases. So with extra blood & reduced flow, it’s common for blood to pool in the leg veins. Veins often form late in pregnancy, when the uterus is placing additional pressure on the leg veins due to the baby being near birth. Fluctuating hormones may also impact varicose veins, impacting those undergoing hormone replacement therapy or taking birth control pills, or women experiencing menopause.
- How to improve: Women who saw varicose veins form during their pregnancies typically find that the veins improve within 3-12 months after their deliveries. Medical treatment is typically not necessary. If your veins persist after this period, don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more about your options.
- Genetics – Varicose veins may be related to hereditary factors. If many of your family members have or have had varicose veins, there is a higher likelihood that you will experience them also.
- How to improve: Obviously, you can’t change your DNA. But speaking with your family members to learn more about when their bulging veins formed and which treatments were effective could help you get a better idea of what to expect. We advise that you schedule a professional assessment if you have a high likelihood of developing varicose veins – Dr. Muasher will be able to help you prevent more significant vein-related concerns.
- Being overweight – Obesity places excessive pressure on the veins. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow properly, and heightens the chances of developing varicose veins.
- How to improve – Weight loss through a healthy, controlled diet and regular exercise will help improve your blood flow and reduce pressure on the veins. Exercise also helps stimulate blood flow regardless of weight loss.
- Sitting or standing for extended periods – Blood flow is affected by keeping the same position for a long period of time. If you have a job where you stand throughout the day, you’re more likely to develop varicose veins. This most often affects nurses, teachers, hair stylists, and factory workers.
- How to improve: Try to change up your position during your workday. If you sit at a desk throughout the day, try leg stretches at your desk and make sure to walk around during your breaks. If you stand at work, try finding ways to take sitting breaks and to sit whenever possible to relieve your legs. Wearing orthotics or shoes with adequate support can also prove beneficial.
- Other conditions – If you have a history of blood clots, or conditions that increase pressure in the abdomen like tumors or constipation, you could be at a higher risk. Wearing a girdle or corset can also cause this pressure.
- How to improve: Schedule regular checkups with your doctor and discuss ways to monitor your symptoms and prevent conditions from worsening.
- Other causes – Although less common than the causes listed above, concerns like trauma to the skin, previous surgeries on the veins, or UV exposure can lead to the development of varicose veins.
- How to improve: Always follow up with your medical professional after injury or surgery and protect your skin from sun exposure at all times.
While it’s important to consider potential causes of your varicose veins at home, you won’t know the problem for sure until you complete an assessment with a professional. Schedule yours today to meet with our cardiovascular surgeon and learn more.
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