It’s a new month, so I’d like to try a new format:
Q & A. When I see patients in consultation regarding their leg veins I allow plenty of time to answer any questions. Since the central focus of my practice located in the North Shore area of Chicago is varicose vein treatments and spider vein treatments, you can probably guess that there are some questions that a vein doctor gets asked more than others. Today we are going to tackle:
Why Did I Get Varicose Veins?
First, let’s define the terms. Varicose veins are those bulging veins we notice at the surface of the skin. Over time they can become more prominent and tortuously twisty. While multiple factors can lead to developing varicose veins, really the 2 most common are genetics & pregnancies. One of the “silver linings” of varicose veins is that it’s a problem that you get to blame on everyone but you!
Genetics (Thanks Mom & Dad):
If one parent had them, you had about a 50% chance of getting them, If both, around 90%. This is why it’s not at all uncommon to find varicose veins in men. In my practice the ratio of women to men is about 4:1. It would likely be closer to 3:1 if only i could more effectively convince menfolk to address these concerns earlier rather than later. I’m working on it by trying to get the message out through blogging and doing lectures in the community.
Pregnancies (Thanks, kids):
During pregnancies a few factors make it more likely for varicose veins to form and/or get progressively worse.
- Increased hormones (estrogen/progesterone): While they help to support and maintain the pregnancy, they also make naturally stretchy veins even stretchier.
- Increased circulating blood volume: Mom needs to make more to supply herself and baby at the same time. This increased volume can also tend to make veins stretch more
- Increasingly bigger baby growing in pelvis: Since “real estate” is limited, as baby gets bigger, she/he may lie against veins leading out from the lower extremities. This can increase the “back pressure” that leg veins feel.
Now that we’ve hit on the most common reasons “Why”…in our next installment of “Q &A”, we’ll talk about HOW the bulging varicose veins form. Cool stuff. Stay tuned!
If you just can’t wait and have a burning desire to know the answer NOW…no worries.
I have a great resource for you to read…a free guide to Understanding Varicose Veins.