What Are the Causes of Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that look bulged and twisted and usually appear on the legs and feet. They develop when the veins in your lower extremities stop functioning properly. Normally, veins have tight valves that close and open to allow blood to smoothly flow to the heart. However, because of several factors, these valves can stop working and cause blood to flow backwards and pool in the vein. This causes the vein to get swollen and, since the blood in them is deoxygenated (or doesn’t contain oxygen), they develop a blue or dark purple color.

Several factors can contribute to the development of varicose veins. These include:


Several studies show that genetics play a role in varicose veins. So, if you have family members who have this condition, there’s a chance that you’ll develop it as well.

Hormonal fluctuations

Female hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause blood vessel walls to weaken, which is why women are more likely to develop varicose veins than men. Fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone can also damage the valves inside the veins. This is why women who are going through menopause, using hormone-based birth control methods, and taking hormone replacement therapy are at risk of developing varicose veins.


The changing hormone levels during pregnancy can contribute to the development of varicose veins. Aside from hormones, the growing weight of the baby can increase the amount of pressure in the mother’s abdomen and pelvis and weaken the vein valves in the lower extremities. Fortunately, if you develop varicose veins during pregnancy, they can reduce in size and severity without medication around three to 12 months after you give birth.

Advanced age

Your veins become less elastic as you grow older, which means they’ll stretch and become more prone to accumulate blood. The valves in your veins also grow weaker as time passes by, so they become more likely to allow blood to pool in your veins.


The pounds that you gain add more pressure to your pelvis and abdomen. These, in turn, make you more prone to developing varicose veins. Losing excess weight is the first step to reducing the appearance and severity of varicose veins.

Excessive standing or sitting

If your job requires you to stand most of the day, you might develop varicose veins since your blood doesn’t have much opportunity to circulate and ends up pooling in your legs. The same holds true if you sit down most of the time. To avoid this, find ways to get your legs moving throughout the day and promote proper blood circulation.

Poor fashion choices

While these issue rarely actually cause varicose veins, they can theoretically increase  the conditions that may cause worsening of veins in individuals who are otherwise prone to them. Wearing girdles and other tight clothing can increase pressure in your abdomen and pelvis and make you more prone to varicose veins. Wearing high heels is another factor; these shoes prevent your calf muscles from contracting as they do when wearing flat shoes. This means less blood is pushed from your legs back to your heart.  But wearing flat shoes will not eliminate the risk of developing varicose veins in people who are otherwise at risk.


These are some of the reasons why varicose veins develop. These veins usually won’t bother you but, if they become severe, they can cause pain and discomfort and irritate your skin on the affected area. When these happen, contact us here at Shore Vascular and Vein Center and take advantage of our varicose vein removal services in New Jersey. We offer both endovenous RF ablation and microphlebectomy to remove varicose veins and relieve you of their symptoms.

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