The fact is – women are at a higher risk of developing venous disease than men. The American College of Phlebology suggests that women are four times more likely than men to develop varicose veins, with 50% of women prone to be affected by venous disease at some point in their life. Why is that? Some researchers suggest it has everything to do with hormones. Simply put, hormones are chemicals your body makes to help it do various things. Hormones go hand in hand with many occurrences of a woman’s body: menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy. Listed below are some common questions about how varicose veins are impacted by hormones during different times in a woman’s life:
- Does my menstrual cycle impact my veins in any way?
Yes! As you know, throughout the menstrual cycle your hormone levels change. At times when the hormone progesterone is low, pre-menstruation and ovulation, the vein walls are more relaxed and therefore hold more blood causing increased pressure on the veins. Likewise, this can also occur around the time of menopause. During these times your veins may appear more visible.
- Does birth control or hormone replacement impact my veins?
Yes! Birth control and hormone therapy can impact the levels of the hormone estrogen in your body therefore having the same hormonal impact as during your menstrual cycle. When taking a birth control pill or hormone supplements, you are purposefully adding to your body an increased level of hormone, which will relax the walls of the veins.
- Does pregnancy put me at risk for developing varicose veins?
Yes again! During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences a number of changes including significant hormonal changes and an increase in blood supply within the body. Both of these can contribute to increased pressure on the vein and vein valves. The good news is, most often the veins return to normal within a year post childbirth, although multiple pregnancies put you at a higher risk.
In summary, there are two hormones that play a significant role in the health of your veins. In a perfect world, estrogen and progesterone are at equilibrium with one another, but there are many factors that contribute to getting these off balance. The dominance or lack of one of these hormones over the other can lead to increased blood in the veins and simultaneously increased pressure on the valves.
If you are experiencing the painful symptoms of varicose veins and it is impacting your quality of life, schedule a consult today with Premier Vein Clinics. Request an appointment online or by calling (865) 588-8229.