It’s time to celebrate International Women’s Day! Now is a time to remember, celebrate, and support all women. And one way that we do that at Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center is to take care of and improve women’s vein health. If you have healthy veins, you can accomplish great things without leg pain holding you back. While varicose veins can affect anyone, women are at a higher risk of developing them. Our team of vein specialists in Orlando want to take a moment to share how women can keep their veins in top shape.
How Do Varicose Veins Affect Women?
While varicose veins impact both men and women, women develop them more often. Why is this? You may not be surprised to hear that hormones play a large role in developing vein problems. To understand how hormones impact vein health, let’s picture your veins. There are vein valves that help push blood back toward the heart, but the valves in the legs are constantly trying to circulate blood upward against gravity. If they’re damaged or tired, they struggle to do this properly, causing blood to pool in the vein.
Now, let’s look at hormones. The estrogen hormone doesn’t play well with vein valves, and estrogen is found in plenty of important medication, such as birth control or menopause hormone therapy. Progesterone is the hormone that degrades vein valves. Once the damage is done, it is never reversed, and the weakened veins enlarge over time. Weakened vein valves then allow blood to pool in your veins.
Pregnancy and Varicose Veins
Pregnancy is a major culprit of poor vein health. For starters, there are obvious hormonal changes; estrogen and progesterone levels dramatically increase and cause the veins to break down, rendering them less effective when it comes to pumping blood out of the leg. In addition, your growing uterus puts pressure on the inferior vena cava, or the large vein on the right side of your body, and this puts excess pressure on your leg veins. Excess pressure can negatively impact circulation.
Pregnant women also experience an enormous increase in their blood volume, which induces fluid retention. As this worsens over the course of the pregnancy, more and more hydrostatic pressure is placed on the vein system, overpowering the vein valves. Due to this increased the amount of blood in your body, your veins have more blood to work with than normal, and when combined with your increased progesterone dilating your veins, your blood vessels relax. Altogether, veins struggle to keep up.
Additional Risk Factors
Keep in mind that hormones and pregnancy aren’t the only risk factors. Anyone is at an increased risk of developing varicose veins based on factors such as age, weight, having a family history of varicose veins, or sitting or standing for long periods of time, such as at a desk or retail job. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a corporate lawyer, your vein health is affected by your occupation and how you spend your time. Vein pain hinders your ability to wake up each day and be a successful working woman.
Why Should Women Take Care of Their Veins?
It’s easy to think of vein care as something that you can put off; after all, many people with varicose veins see it as just a cosmetic issue and feel they’re not worth fixing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. At their best, varicose veins seem purely cosmetic and can make women feel self-conscious due to the veins being dark, bulging, and visible under the skin. For other women, they can become more of an issue. They can cause the legs to feel itchy, heavy, restless, or even painful. Vein treatment is not about vanity; it’s about improving your long-term health so you can enjoy every day.
When left untreated, varicose veins can lead to other vein conditions. Women with untreated varicose veins are at a higher risk of developing ulcers or blood clots, and those blood clots can travel from the vein to the lungs. Instead of leaving varicose veins alone, it’s better for women to receive treatment! We recommend scheduling a consultation with one of our experienced physicians so you can properly assess your vein health and determine what’s best for you.
There’s one great thing about vein health: maintaining healthy veins is easy. For many women, this means making small lifestyle changes. Consider fitting a short, daily walk into your schedule, especially if you’re frequently sitting or standing for long periods due to your job. Take a few breaks every day to get up, move around, and get the blood flowing throughout your legs. Stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and elevate your legs when relaxing at home. Legwear-like compression stockings can also help vein valves circulate blood; however, don’t wear compression stockings unless you have met with a doctor beforehand.
Avoid High Heels
Another lifestyle change that you may not have considered is embracing comfortable shoes. Although high heels have their place, they prohibit proper circulation. They change your gait and cause your weight to shift to the forefoot and toes, forcing your calf muscles to remain contracted. When your foot is constantly in a flexed state, the calf muscle pump is less effective and blood flow decreases. If it’s necessary for you to wear high heels, avoid doing so for long amounts of time or for days in a row; alternate them with comfortable, supportive flats, or pack a change of shoes.
We Partner With You
We believe that every woman deserves to live her life to the fullest. The pain and discomfort that varicose veins bring shouldn’t hold you back from being the mom, friend, athlete, wife, or employee that you want to be! With our modern and virtually painless treatments, varicose veins can become a problem of the past.
At Central Florida Vein & Vascular, the vein specialists in Orlando are dedicated to celebrating and supporting women. Through education, exceptional patient care, and minimally invasive treatments, we equip women to pursue and achieve their goals without pesky veins getting in the way. If you want to enjoy life with beautiful, healthy legs and without leg pain, call us at 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547 and schedule a consultation with a specialist.