The Vein Center & CosMed

Can certain factors such as wearing heels, crossing your legs, or pregnancy cause abnormal veins?

Dr. Blumenthal explains whether daily activities or lifestyle can affect your likelihood of developing abnormal veins.

Video Transcription

It's amazing that over 25 years of treating vein problems and seeing approximately 50,000 people with basically the same sorts of problems, that without question every one of those patients thinks he or she knows why they have their vein problem. Women are told by their mothers "don't cross your legs, that can lead to spider veins or varicose veins". Other people, especially women obviously are told not to wear high heels as often as possible because that can contribute to varicose veins. Certainly people are told, if they're overweight it can cause their vein problem to get worse. Pregnancy has often been called the culprit that causes varicose veins. Heredity is on every person's tongue when they start talking about why they have varicose veins or spider veins.

All those things that I mentioned plus others that I can't even think of off the cuff, can make the vein problem worse. All we really know is that they're much more common in females, that it has something to do with the female hormone. Because the only difference between a man and a woman's vein is what goes through it. And the only difference in what goes through it are different hormones. So we know the estrogen hormone has something to do with the development of abnormal veins. But other than that we can't definitely say that this definitely causes it, or that definitely causes it. Certainly tight jeans don't cause them, crossing your legs doesn't cause them, high heels doesn't cause them. Pregnancy may make them worse, and not because of the weight of the fetus in the womb but because of the increase in estrogen that occurs during pregnancy.

If we say that it's all hereditary, everybody is happy with that answer. Even though no one's ever proved that either. It's an observation. And the biggest point is since we really don't have any way of telling what really causes them, we don't really have any way to tell someone how to prevent them. And there they are, and you've got them, and you'll probably get more, and what you've got will probably get worse. And all you can do is treat them. And the earlier you treat them, the less often you'll have to, the less expensive its is to treat less obviously. And you prevent them from looking bad as time goes on.

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