Women and Varicose Veins
When it comes to varicose veins, multiple studies have shown that women tend to be at higher risk than men for developing the bulging, purplish, often painful vessels, and the reason may well be due to the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is produced by men as well as women, but levels of the hormone are much higher in women. In a 2009 study of pregnant women, researchers found that progesterone levels were much higher among women with varicose veins compared to women who had lower levels of the hormone.
A separate study also looked at the effect of progesterone on the great saphenous veins, large leg veins that often become enlarged in men and women with smaller varicose veins and spider veins, and found that these veins have receptors for progesterone that make them more sensitive to the effects of the hormone.
So how are progesterone levels and varicose veins related?
In addition to contributing to the regulation of menstrual cycles and the maintenance of several organs, progesterone also causes blood vessel walls to relax. Scientists believe that when these walls relax, the tiny valves within the vessels also relax and the pressure exerted by blood as it’s flowing pushes out on the sides of the vessels, making them weaker. Since women have considerably higher levels of progesterone than men — in fact, in women progesterone is one of the primary sex hormones — researchers believe this is at least one reason why women are more prone to developing varicose veins more than men.
Regardless of gender, though, varicose veins can cause pain, discomfort and a feeling of fatigue and heaviness where they occur. Left untreated, varicose veins can cause much more serious problems to occur. Dr. George uses state-of-the-art techniques that make varicose vein treatment faster and safer than ever before.
If you have varicose veins, call 877-640-VEIN (8346) today to schedule a consultation.