Varicose Veins and Birth Control Pills
There is some evidence to suggest a potential association between the use of certain birth control pills and an increased risk of developing varicose veins. While not all women on birth control will develop varicose veins, it’s essential to discuss any concerns or family history of venous issues with a varicose veins specialist like Dr. Manish Taneja to explore appropriate contraceptive options and monitor for any signs of vein-related complications.
The Relationship Between Varicose Veins and Birth Control Pills
Did you know that women are four times more likely than men to develop varicose veins? This is partly because of hormonal changes during pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. Since birth control pills affect estrogen and progesterone levels, the use of these medications can affect your leg veins.
If you are experiencing varicose veins and blood clots, you need to understand the relationship between oral contraceptives and the conditions. This will help you make informed decisions and avoid health problems. So, what is the link between birth control pills and varicose veins? Read on to learn more.
Why Do Varicose Veins Occur?
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen and twisted blood vessels near the surface of the skin. They can occur anywhere in the body but are more common in the legs and feet. Varicose veins typically develop when veins are not functioning properly, mainly due to weak or damaged vein walls and valves. However, varicose veins can also be caused by chronic obstruction of the veins.
Weak or defective one-way valves may not close properly, causing blood to flow backward or to collect in the veins. This in turn increases pressure within the veins, forcing the blood vessels to bulge.
What do varicose veins include? Understand the symptoms of varicose veins, different types, causes, and more with our helpful blog post and video on varicose veins. It may involve several factors such as family history, hormone levels, and high blood pressure to develop varicose veins. Don’t let these blood clots last long term and become complications of varicose veins.
Risk Factors in Women
Several risk factors can contribute to varicose veins. The major varicose vein risk factors in women include:
- Gender: Female sex hormones can weaken vein walls and valves, and change the pressure inside the blood vessels. This can cause the vessels to bulge.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, women experience powerful hormonal changes and an increase in the blood volume in their bodies. In addition, the increased weight of the growing fetus places added physical pressure on the veins, particularly in the lower body. This increases the risk of varicose veins.
- Birth control pills: Oral birth control pills contain female hormones. These hormones are known to weaken vein walls. Long-term use of birth control pills can increase the risk of developing varicose veins.
Because women are more susceptible than men when it comes to developing varicose veins, it’s important to get a more in-depth understanding of how they develop and what the key causes are in our other article, “Understanding Women’s Susceptibility to Varicose Veins”.
Birth Control and Blood Clots
Birth control pills can increase the risk of developing blood clots and varicose veins in the legs. The oral contraceptives contain synthetic hormones: estrogen and progestin, or progestin only. While the hormones help to prevent pregnancy, they are also known to adversely affect blood flow through the veins. This can contribute to blood stagnation and blood clots.
If you use birth control pills for long, you may notice red or blue veins on your legs. In case you already had varicose veins, birth control can lead to the worsening of the condition. As such, your leg veins may become more visible under the skin.
Can You Take Birth Control Pills With Varicose Veins?
Oftentimes, women with varicose veins can safely take birth control pills. However, it is important to visit a vein specialist to have the swollen veins examined and get expert advice and guidance.
If you already have visible varicose veins, stopping birth control will not make the veins go away. However, stopping oral contraceptives may prevent varicose veins from becoming severe. (Learn more in our other blog post on “How to Prevent Varicose Veins: Best Practices to Follow”.)
So, should you continue taking birth control pills and oral contraceptives? While these medications have some potential risks and side effects, they also have numerous benefits. Doctors say that when used properly, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Common Vein Treatments and Surgery
Self-care steps and wearing compression stockings can help to slow the progression of varicose veins and ease the pain. However, if these measures do not work, a vein specialist may recommend the following treatments.
- Sclerotherapy: Ultrasound-guided technology is used to inject special foam into the veins. The foam scars and closes the veins.
- Laser treatment: Laser energy is used to scar and destroy varicose veins, causing them to fade and disappear.
- Phlebectomy: Small incisions are made in the skin. Special tools are then inserted through the cuts and used to remove varicose veins.
- Radiofrequency treatment: Radiofrequency energy is used to heat and destroy the wall of the varicose vein then seal the vein.
- Surgery: Surgical procedures known as ligation and stripping can be used to tie off and remove the affected veins.
The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is a private specialized varicose veins clinic based in Singapore. We emphasize accurate diagnosis, quality care and personalized treatment for all our patients. For more information, we invite you to fill in and submit your contact information and inquiry details on our contact us page.
Am I at Risk of Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, or Deep Vein Thrombosis?
The appearance of varicose and spider veins on your body is nothing of immediate concern. If there are symptoms associated with them, schedule a visit with your doctor to diagnose and treat varicose veins. Spider veins, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur on individuals with all body types, genders, and ages. The following demographics may have a higher chance of experiencing them.
- Those who are overweight (therefore, maintain a healthy weight to reduce the pressure)
- Pregnant women
- Individuals between the ages of 40 and 80
- Those who are inactive/not exercising (even sitting or standing for long periods)
- Frequent flyers
- Those who have had surgery or leg trauma
Assessment of Varicose Veins
Clinical examination and ultrasound doppler scan are most important tools in assessment and deciding management of varicose veins. This takes about 15-20 minutes to do and is usually done in the clinic itself.
Treatment of Varicose Veins
There are various techniques available to treat varicose veins depending on clinical presentation. These include:
- Conservative medical management including compression socks
- Laser endovenous treatment (EVLT)
- Radio-frequency endovenous ablation (RFA)
- Clarivein endovenous treatment
- VenaSeal endovenous closure system
- Microwave endovenous ablation
- Open surgery
- Venous avulsions
- Cryolaser and cryosclerotherapy
What are the Advantages of Minimally Invasive Treatments?
- No major surgery
- No or minimal visible scars
- Quick recovery
- Same day admission and discharge
- Clinic based treatments
Learn more about “Spider Veins: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment”. Although they might be a cosmetic concern, they can also lead to serious health issues. You might also be interested to find out more on our blog post, “Deep Vein Thrombosis: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment” about the difference between DVT and varicose veins.
Consult a Vascular Specialist for Your Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Dr. Manish Taneja, a certified vascular and varicose veins specialist in Singapore, has extensive experience in the treatment of all vascular interventions and looks after venous diseases like varicose veins, spider veins, and reticular veins. Come in for a further evaluation and contact us to arrange your varicose veins appointment today.
Varicose Veins Resources
Keep Varicose Veins and Spider Veins at Bay
If your legs feel sore persistently, achy when standing long periods, or maybe you notice blue or purple veins even bulging in the area, chances are these symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins could lead to other serious venous diseases such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), or Leg Swelling due to increased pressure forming larger blood clots over time. Varicose veins are fully treatable with minimally invasive procedures and treatments offering minimal downtime and quick recovery preventing further complications. Long term effects of untreated varicose veins can hinder your daily life and impact your health.
The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore is here to diagnose and treat varicose veins smoothening patients’ experience to find relief and comfort. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist based in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja looks after a spectrum of venous diseases, peripheral vascular malformations, and peripheral arterial disease. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.
Other Health Conditions