Women are more likely to be affected by varicose veins than men. Females have more of the hormone progesterone and this hormone can relax vein walls causing blood to pool. Birth control pills and hormone therapy can increase the amount of this hormone inside a woman’s body and this can exacerbate the issue.
When estrogen levels drop at menopause (usually around age 50), this can lead to an increased risk of varicose veins because the lower levels make it more difficult for vein valves in your leg muscles to operate properly. Menopause often leads to weight gain, as well, and this can increase pressure on veins.
Varicose veins are caused by too little elasticity in the blood vessels. It’s easy to see where degeneration comes into play. With age, connective tissue begins to break down causing skin wrinkles and premature aging elsewhere in the body. These weakened connective tissues cannot effectively push blood back up out of the legs toward the heart.
Obesity can lead to varicose veins because it causes pressure on the veins, which makes them more susceptible to swelling and twisting. Varicose veins from obesity can occur anywhere in the body including but not limited to the legs, torso, arms, face, and neck.
One of the main culprits in varicose veins is genetics. Varicose veins are present in about 30%-40% of people with family histories of the condition. If both parents have varicose veins, that estimate rises to around a 90% chance of developing the same type of bulging veins.