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Causes of Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins which can be blue, red or flesh-colored. These occur when your veins become enlarged, dilated and over-filled with blood, and they are often painful.

Varicose veins often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging and can be swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins often affect the legs as the veins there are farthest from the heart, and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward. During pregnancy, they can also form around the vagina and buttocks.

More Vein Information

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins but smaller. They’re also closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face and can cover either a very small or large area of your skin.

The Causes of Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose veins occur when veins aren’t functioning properly. Our veins have one-way valves whose purpose is to prevent blood from flowing backward. When the valves fail, blood starts collecting in the veins rather that continuing toward your heart, and the veins enlarge.

Likewise, spider veins can be caused by the backup of blood as well as by hormone changes, exposure to the sun and injuries.

Risk Factors

The following are some of the factors that increase the chances of developing varicose or spider veins.


– As you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well as they once did.

Medical and family history

– Being born with weak vein valves increases your risk as well as having family members with vein problems. About half the people suffering with varicose veins have a family member who has them, too.

Hormonal changes

– These most frequently occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Medicines and birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone may also increase the risk.


– Being overweight can put extra pressure on your veins and can lead to varicose veins.

Lack of movement

– Standing or sitting for long periods may force your veins to work harder to move blood back to your heart. The risk increases if you sit with your legs bent or crossed.

Sun exposure

– Too much sun can cause spider veins on the cheeks or noses of fair-skinned people.

Vein Insurance

Fortunately, if you’re suffering from varicose veins, several treatment options are available.