Women watch out for varicose veins

Updated at: Dec 30, 2010
Women watch out for varicose veins

Fashion is playing havoc among ladies. High heeled sandals, tight belts and panties are significant contributors to the development of varicose veins, as these items obstruct the normal flow of blood in veins.

Editorial Team
Women's HealthWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Dec 30, 2010

Women watch out for varicose veinsYou must have noticed veins of your granny or grandfather bulging out and highlighting greenish veins. You may have thought that that it is a sign of weakness or old age. But when the same thing becomes visible in your aunt or someone in the middle age group, then it becomes a matter of serious concern.


Mr. Chhabra's wife has dilated veins in her left leg for the past many years and a lot of difficulty in walking. There is a black pigmentation and eczema- type rash on her calf and leg. An ultrasound report said that left sapheno-femoral junction is incompetent but left sapheno-popliteal junction is competent. Right leg is normal. Then they consulted a surgeon who said that Mrs Chhabra has got varicose veins."The dilated veins are called varicose veins. Varicose veins occur more frequently in females. Varicose veins are the penalty which we are paying because of the stressful and fast life of today where we lead sedentary lifestyles," says Dr. Sandeep Agarwal, consultant vascular surgeon.


Veins are the blood pipes, which take deoxygenated blood (impure blood) from legs towards the heart. Varicose veins are those abnormal small blood pipes, which are like a bunch and present just under the skin. These veins have valves which control the direction of blood flow, when these valves become incompetent then the blood doesn't flow towards the heart. Varicose veins develop mainly in the legs because the blood has to travel inside the veins against gravity. Why its occurrence is more in females? "It's due to two reasons. The female hormones can cause weakness in veins so the veins become dilated. The second reason is that during pregnancy, the foetus causes pressure over pelvic veins which in turn cause weakness and increase pressure in leg veins," adds Dr. Gupta.Exercising, losing weight, elevating your legs when resting and not crossing them when sitting can help keep varicose veins from getting worse. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding long periods of standing can also help. If varicose veins are painful or you don't like the way they look, your doctor may recommend procedures to remove them.


Fashion is playing havoc among ladies. High heeled sandals, tight belts and panties are significant contributors to the development of varicose veins, as these items obstruct the normal flow of blood in veins.




The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards the body parts. Veins carry deoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart. The squeezing of leg muscles pumps blood back to the heart from the lower body. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. These valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the one-way valves become weak, blood can leak back into the vein and collect there. This problem is called venous insufficiency.


Pooled blood enlarges the vein and it becomes varicose. Spider veins can also be caused by the backup of blood. Hormone changes, inherited factors and exposure to the sun can also cause spider veins.



  • Aching pain
  • Easily tired legs
  • Leg heaviness 
  • Swelling in the legs 
  • Darkening of the skin (in severe cases) 
  • Numbness in the legs 
  • Itching or irritated rash in the legs 



"Not all varicose veins can be prevented. But some things can reduce your chances of getting new varicose veins," says Dr. Jagdish Sharma, vascular specialist. He suggests some ways:

  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face.
  • Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running. 
  • Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on legs. 
  • Do not cross your legs when sitting. 
  • Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible. 
  • Do not stand or sit for long periods of time. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes. 
  • Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs. 
  • Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fibre foods. Eating fibre reduces the chances of constipation which can contribute to varicose veins. High fibre foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating too much salt can cause you to retain water or swell.
  • Use flat sole and comfortable shoes at your working place. 
  • Few physical activities as Yoga, Shirshasan and Sarvangasan are helpful. 
  • Avoid obesity and reduce weight.  o  Avoid contraceptive and hormonal pills because these medicines cause weakness in veins.




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