All studies have unanimously revealed that women are more prone to varicose veins than men. As many as 55% of the women suffer from a venous disorder at some point in their lifetime. These figures clearly mean that as opposed to the men, women are at least four times more likely to develop varicose veins and other related disorders of the circulatory system.
What factors put women at a greater risk of developing varicose veins? Although the leading causes of varicose veins such as genetics, age, obesity, poor lifestyle, long stretches of being inactive, and standing or sitting in the same posture continuously for long- duration are known to equally affect both men and women, it is the women hormones that affect the large veins in the body and thus increase the probability of women developing these swollen and painful varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
The circulatory system of the body comprises of arteries and veins. The arteries are responsible for carrying oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to all body parts. The deep veins are used to send de-oxygenated blood from various organs back to the heart.
Valves of the veins in the lower body help the blood travel up to the heart against the gravitational pull of the Earth. When these valves do not function as normal, blood fails to move back to the heart and gets pooled up in the lower extremities. The pooled blood causes the veins to swell up and bulge out from the skin surface.
These enlarged veins, called varicose veins become rope-like strings and are extremely painful. Varicose veins also cause excessive itching in the affected area. Patients often experience a feeling of heaviness in the legs and complain of their inability to stand or move around.
Why Women Develop Varicose Veins?
Progesterone is the hormone that regulates menstrual cycles in women. This hormone is also known to relax the vein walls and valves. This hormone is present in large amounts in women.
Progesterone leads to weakened valves that find it difficult to push blood back to the heart. This increases the chances of the development of varicose veins in women.
During pregnancy, the progesterone levels in the female body increase to significantly higher levels. Not just this, the volume of blood circulating in the body also increases along with additional pressure from a large abdomen. All these factors together lead to the formation of varicose veins.
For most women, the varicose veins formed during pregnancy get vanished in roughly 3 months after childbirth. But for women who have successive pregnancies and more than one child, the veins become inflated and there is an increased probability of development of varicose veins after multiple deliveries.
How Women Can Prevent Varicose Veins?
There is nothing that the women can do to stop the natural hormones from developing in their bodies. But there are some precautionary steps that definitely help reduce the likelihood of development of varicose veins.
- Staying Active – Physical activity ensures proper blood circulation and is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Any form of exercise such as swimming, cycling, walking, etc helps tone the leg muscles.
If your job requires you to sit or stand for long intervals, ensure to take breaks in between and either sit to relax your legs or walk around to enhance blood circulation. This helps prevent blood from pooling in the veins.
- Wearing Compression Stockings – Compression stockings are made up of strong elastic and help squeeze the leg veins. This in turn improves the blood flow from the lower extremities back to the heart.
Available in a variety of sizes and styles, not every product is suitable for all. You must consult your doctor to understand your size and the recommended usage of these support stockings.
- Elevating your Legs – As the malfunctioning valves find it difficult to pump blood against the gravitational pull, lifting your legs above the level of the heart ensures easy blood circulation back to the heart.
Ensure to elevate your legs above the level of your heart, whenever you lie down, for no more than 15-20 minutes at a stretch.
- Maintaining proper weight – Additional body weight causes undue pressure on the leg veins and does not promote proper blood circulation. All women must maintain a healthy weight with an ideal BMI between 25 to 30.
Shedding the extra kilos helps remove the excessive pressure and eases the strain on the leg veins. This prevents the blood from pooling and reduces the chances of varicose vein development.
Although women are at a greater risk of varicose veins, with a healthy lifestyle and correct medical guidance, the likelihood of development of varicose veins can be considerably reduced.
If you are seeking expert medical advice from a qualified vascular expert and an experienced interventional radiologist, schedule your appointment with the highly acclaimed Dr. Rajah V Koppala at Avis Vascular Centre.
Dr. Rajah V Koppala will help you take all the necessary precautionary steps to alleviate the venous disorders or suggest painless and minimally invasive procedures such as endovenous laser ablation to close-off and remove all damaged veins.
Do not delay, gift yourself an abundance of good health. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Rajah V Koppala at Avis Vascular Centre today!