The Causes of Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins: The Causes

varicose veins

Varicose veins are thickened, twisted or enlarged veins which can be distinctly seen through the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body but they are most frequently seen in thighs and legs. Varicose veins can affect men or women but women tend to have a more likelihood of developing them and they have a tendency to become more prominent with age.

What Are the Causes?

There is no definitive explanation as to why varicose veins develop but it is universally accepted that they form due to damage or defective valves within the vein. The valves of the veins prevent the flow of blood from moving backwards, keeping it flowing towards the heart. When the valve isn’t performing adequately the blood flow is allowed to move backwards, causing a build-up of pressure in the vein which then forms varicosity or varicose vein.

Although there is no categorical explanation as to why <a hrefvaricose veins form, there are a number of factors which increases the risk of development. These include;

  • Genetics- Research has shown that a family history of varicose veins could indicate a natural propensity towards development. It is thought that some people naturally have a fewer amount of valves or may be disposed to have valves which cannot function correctly
  • Vein abnormalities- It has also been theorised that some people can be born with weaknesses in the walls of their veins. This may create an environment which is conducive to valves separating or developing leaks.

There are also a number of factors which may aggravate or trigger the development of varicose veins;

  • Body Weight- Carry extra weight or being obese can add more strain to the veins.
  • Pregnancy-  The development and carrying of a foetus has an associated effect of increasing the blood flow, the increased hormones can have a relaxation effect on the vein walls and the additional weight of carrying a baby can add pressure to the veins especially in the legs.
  • Strain- Constipation, chronic coughing, urinary retention or other conditions which force a person to strain for a prolonged period of time can cause an increase to the forces which are transmitted to the veins. These can also cause haemorrhoids to form, which are essentially a varicosity in the anal or rectal area.
  • Prolonged Periods of Standing Up- Research has indicated that this can be a significant factor in putting the veins in the legs under additional strain.
  • Trauma- Undergoing surgery or receiving another form of trauma to the area can interrupt the normal flow within the channels which can be a factor.


Once a vein has developed into a varicose vein, it will not return to normal by itself. Although there are a variety of natural remedies which claim to reduce the effects of varicose veins, many lack the data to support their effectiveness. It is important to get any varicose veins examined and treated, as it may cause serious consequences.

If you are in the St Louis area and would like additional information then please contact us. We would be happy to assist you with any questions or queries you may have about the individual details of your personal circumstances.