The one-way valves present in the veins help blood move upward against the force of gravity. These one-way valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards during the brief moment between heartbeats. Failure of these valves causes the blood to flow downwards and pool in the veins of the leg, thus, causing veins to swell up leading to varicose veins.
Varicose veins are quite common among adults. Most of the time they are formed because of the following reasons:
1. PREGNANCY : Estrogen is the primary sex hormone and is very important in the female body as it is the hormone which maintains a woman’s uterus, vagina and breasts. However, because of the increased estrogen levels during pregnancy, varicose veins may develop. This hormone causes the vein walls to dilate and stretch. Due to this, the veins in the leg swell up because of the blood pooling.
2. MENOPAUSE : During menopause, the levels of estrogen and progesterone dip in women. The decrease in the levels of estrogen and progesterone causes the vein walls to dilate and stretch. In addition to this, the one- way valves are not as effective as before due to aging and thus allow blood to accumulate.
3. STANDING FOR LONG PERIODS : When one remains in the same stance for a period of time, the pressure built on the veins in the legs is high, causing the blood to engorge the leg veins. This pressure develops swelling in the veins thus forming the condition of varicose veins.
4. OBESITY : Obesity leads to excess pressure on the legs which furthers the risk of developing varicose veins.
5. GENETICS : Genetics can determine how prone you are to developing varicose veins. It is one of thing that run in the family.
Varicose veins usually show cosmetic symptoms. However, if any painful symptoms are felt, medical treatment is required. A few of these symptoms are:
- The veins become discoloured and easily noticeable due to the clotting of blood in the veins. They often appear twisted and bulged.
- In addition to these cosmetic symptoms, sensations such as heaviness, pain and swelling are experienced, especially in and around the affected areas.
- In very rare and severe cases, the veins undergo heavy bleeding due to the formation of ulcers.