Does Extra Weight Mean Extra Varicose and Spider Veins?
Many that come into our Orlando vein center wonder if the extra weight they are carrying could have caused their varicose and spider veins, when, in fact, in the list of causes of varicose and spider veins, extra weight is very low on the list.
For women, hormones and genes are the two major contributing factors to varicose and spider veins. Extreme and extended surges of hormones during pregnancy seem to do the most damage to otherwise healthy veins. As the body prepares for labor and delivery, the hormone elastin increases to allow stretching of the pelvic connective tissue. Elastin is also found in the vein walls and therefore veins will get swollen and sore. Gravity causes the veins in the legs to be more affected. Multiple pregnancies produce more varicose veins then a single pregnancies, regardless of whether the pregnancy is brought to term.
Even in a non-pregnant female, monthly cycles during childbearing years can worsen varicose and spider veins. Hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills may also worsen vein size in a small way.
Genes are given by your parents and obviously cannot be changed. Therefore, if your mother, sisters, brothers, or distant relatives have had varicose or spider veins, then you are susceptible. This is usually why men get enlarged veins.
Extra body weight does not seem to have much effect on veins in my experience. Over the last 20 years, I have probably treated twice as many clients with ideal body weight to every one client with extra weight or obesity. Fat cells do hold on to estrogen which is probably the only way fat contributes to more leg veins as increased estrogen levels have a small effect on veins. Overall, this effect pales in comparison to the genetic and pregnancy risk.