What are varicose veins and how do you get them? Or even better, how do you get rid of them?
Varicose veins (varices) are abnormally widened veins. Having these veins occurs quite a lot. Millions of Dutch people suffer from this affliction, with women suffering more than men.

How do varicose veins come to be?

In a well functioning vascular system, the main arteries bring blood from the heart to the other parts of the body and the veins return the blood from these parts back to the heart. Valves in the veins make sure the blood flows in just one direction, namely towards the heart. If the valves don’t seal properly, then the blood won’t be properly pushed upwards and the blood will ‘fall’ back down. This results in stowage and pressure in the veins causing them to widen.

A couple of factors are a part of causing varicose veins:

  • Predisposition: varicose veins are often hereditary; about 80% of the people with varicose veins also have family members with them.
  • Hormones (estrogen and testosterone): most varicose veins arise after puberty or during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy: not just hormones cause varicose veins; the heightened pressure of the growing uterus complicates the blood flow back.
  • A lot of standing: people with jobs that involve a lot of standing show an increase in varicose veins: due to gravity the blood ‘falls’ back to the lower legs.
  • Other causes: varicose veins can also arise after a thrombosis leg, after an accident or after a surgical operation to the leg.

This post is also available in: Dutch