estimates that 50 percent of all women are affected by varicose veins. Men have a much lower incidence. Though the exact cause of varicose veins isn't known, heredity and hormones are suspected. Women undergo more hormonal changes than men and more often because of pregnancy, birth control and menopause. Also during pregnancy, there is an increase in the amount of blood in the body that can cause the veins to enlarge.
Other factors include:
* leg injury
* long hours of standing on a job or otherwise
Varicose veins usually appear in the legs because the veins there have the toughest job getting the blood back to the heart because of the distance and gravity.
There are things you can do to try to prevent varicose veins in the first place.
* Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength and your cardiovascular system.
* Watch your weight; lose weight if you need to.
* Avoiding crossing your legs when sitting, elevate them while resting.
* Do not stand in one place for long periods of time. If you have to, shift your weight from one leg to the other on a regular basis.
* Wear elastic support stocking but avoid constricting clothes at your waist, groin or legs.
Varicose veins often do not require treatment though many people treat them for cosmetic purposes. Treatments, include:
* sclerotherapy or injection of the vein to cause the vein to collapse and be absorbed by the body
* ligation or a tying off of the vein
* stripping where a long segment of vein is removed
* ambulatory phlebectomy in which smaller varicose veins are removed through a series of tiny skin punctures
* laser treatment which is especially effective for smaller veins sometimes called spider veins
* endovenous techniques which use radiofrequency or laser to collapse the vein
A plastic surgeon is often involved in performing these procedures, though other doctors can perform some of them as well.
Varicose veins can worsen over time and if the situation becomes severe can have complications such as deep vein thrombosis if the leg is injured. That can have other complications, even deadly ones such as pulmonary embolism.